Knowing what to pack in your diaper bag can be a challenge, especially for new parents. For some, it could even be stressful as they may worry about forgetting something critical, like the baby’s formula or diapers. Don’t worry too much, though. You’ll soon get the hang of things.
The ultimate diaper bag checklist
You can use this as a diaper bag checklist for newborns and toddlers. Let’s pack the ultimate baby bag essentials kit for your little one.
The 1st and most obvious item that comes to mind is diapers. Diapers should be changed every 2-3 hours, so pack enough based on how long you will be out and then throw in an extra one.
Also, have you considered using modern cloth diapers? They are cost-effective, reusable, environmentally friendly, and super cute.
2. Wet wipes
Wet wipes are your best friend when you’re out and about. Aside from being great for cleaning a bum, they can also be used for a dirty face or hands.
3. Bum cream or ointment
Pack your favorite bum cream or ointment in the diaper bag for changing time. A great tip is to use sample-size containers of cream for your diaper bag. You can either purchase the smaller size or decant some from your larger container into a small container especially for use in your diaper bag.
4. Plastic bags
You can use disposable plastic diaper bags for dirty nappies or soiled and wet clothes. It keeps the dirty things from contaminating the clean items in your bag.
An eco-friendly version of the disposable plastic bag is a wet bag. When you get home, you can wash the bag along with the dirty items. An added bonus is that wet bags come in a wide variety of cute prints.
5. Portable changing pads
When you’re out and about, you never know whether you’ll have access to a clean and practical changing space. For this reason, take your own portable changing pad with you.
The Babebay portable changing pad folds up to fit nicely in your diaper bag but is also bigger and wider than the average portable changing pad when folded open. It has a small cushion for the baby’s head and is easy to clean.
Firstly, a portable changing pad allows you to change your baby anywhere. Secondly, it is also handy in a public area which might already have a changing table. Your own changing pad is a lot more hygienic than a shared one.
6. A change of clothes
Make sure to always have 1-2 extra outfits in your bag for emergencies. Also, include some warm clothes in case the temperature drops. A change of clothes is essential as you never know when you might have to deal with a poopsplosion or a muddy toddler.
7. Burp cloths
A burp cloth is essential, especially if your baby suffers from reflux. You may even find that you need to pack more than one in your diaper bag, depending on how often you use and change them at home. It’s also handy as a cleaning tool for your baby.
8. Milk and snacks
Don’t forget to pack your baby’s milk. If your child drinks formula, you will need to pack bottles. You can pre-measure your baby’s water directly into the bottles.
You can also use the stackable on-the-go milk powder box to measure out your formula beforehand and have it ready when your baby is hungry. Then all you need to do is add the formula to your bottle and mix it when the baby needs to feed.
For mom, dad, and toddlers, you can also pack a healthy snack to deal with hunger pangs.
For nursing mothers, extra breast pads are a diaper bag essential item. It’s horrible when your breasts start leaking through your pads and shirt and you have no replacements on hand.
You can pack a few disposable nursing pads in your bag, and the ones from Lansinoh are lovely as they stick to the inside of your bra and don’t slip out of place.
If you still have a newborn and are venturing out soon after birth, some extra vaginal pads should also be packed.
10. Nursing cover
For moms who like to cover up when breastfeeding, a nursing cover is handy to comfortably feed a baby anywhere, anytime. There are many options on the market, but my favorite is the WeeSprout nursing cover.
This is because it goes around your body, which I found helpful when my baby started kicking and moving under the cover. The ones that only cover the front are easily pulled up, exposing the parts you’re trying to cover.
If your baby uses a pacifier, remember to pack one in your diaper bag. Use a clean bag or a holder to keep the pacifier clean while it’s in your bag.
12. Light blanket
A blanket is always a good idea, even in the summer. It can be used to block out the sun on hot days and keep your baby warm in cooler weather. A muslin blanket is perfect for this and comes in an array of designs, colors, and sizes. On cold days, make sure to pack a warm blanket.
13. Sunblock and hat
Sunblock can generally be used from the age of 6 months. Babies tend to have very sensitive skin and are often prone to eczema. The good news is that you can still use sunscreen, such as the sunscreen from Thinkbaby. Here’s our comprehensive list of the best and safest sunscreen for kids.
Make sure to use sunblock on your baby every day, even if they won’t be in direct sunlight.
The general rule for reapplication is that the SPF level is indicative of the minutes exposed to the sun before needing to reapply. So, if you use SPF 30, sunblock needs to be reapplied every 30 minutes. If you use SPF 50, it needs to be reapplied every 50 minutes and so on.
A hat is also essential for all ages when outside.
14. First aid kit
Always have a basic first aid kit in your bag. Items to include are a Band-Aid pack, zinc ointment, thermometer, and any chronic or allergy meds your child needs. A saline nose spray and a nasal aspirator can also be helpful to have with you when your baby’s nose is snotty or blocked.
There are many starter packs and baby first aid kits available. It’s a good starting point as you will already have all the essentials in your bag. Then you can add any special items you need and replace the ones used. I love the kit from Wallaboo as it comes in a durable container that easily fits in your bag and has all the essential items included in it.
Make sure to pack a couple of toys to keep your baby busy when needed. Maybe you’ll be waiting in line somewhere or trying to enjoy a cup of tea. Having around something that your baby loves will make this easier.
You can also get a toy strap. You tie one end to the toy and the other to your stroller. This way, when your baby drops or throws the toy without you noticing, it won’t be lost.
16. Hand sanitizer
Pack some hand sanitizer in your diaper bag. You never know what germs are lurking out in the open. Clean your hands when necessary.
17. Personal items
It’s easier to manage 1 bag rather than 2. So, instead of having both a diaper bag and a handbag, pack your personal items in the diaper bag.
These items can include your phone, purse, keys, and lip balm. You can also add a card with emergency contact numbers, such as those of a close family member, your family doctor, or your pediatrician.
Diaper bag essentials pro tip
I found that the easiest way to remember everything is to have diaper bag essentials that can stay in the bag, things I don’t need to unpack and repack every time we leave the house. In this way, you only need to replace the items you used on your last outing, such as diapers and sets of clothing.
You won’t need to pack items such as wet wipes, a bum cream, and sunblock every time as these items will stay in your diaper bag.