This is about items that are essential to have in your diaper bag! Let's face it, as many pockets as these bags seem to have, there just never seems to be enough space for everything we want to put in them. For me, as a keen 'over packer', deciding what I absolutely did not have the space for in my diaper bag became a daily challenge. So I am here to share with fellow moms what I have learnt about preparing for being out and about with our little ones.
- Diapers – yes, it's obvious, of course, you would never forget to pack diapers. But I have. And it's not a fun situation for you – or anyone in close proximity for that matter – to be in. Saying that, don't get caught up in packing an excess of diapers, they are the main culprit for taking up precious bag space! Consider how long you are going to be out for and how often you usually change your baby, then pack a couple of extras. Also remember to pack a few biodegradable bags for the dirty nappies!
- Wipes – make sure that the packet has enough wipes in it for any changes, spills, sick and general cleaning. Keeping a muslin or two rolled up in your bag will also come in useful for mess if you get caught out with an empty packet of wipes.
- Changing mat – the fold down, plastic changing tables you find inside most public bathrooms are not the most comfortable place for your baby to lay on, and the mat will add a bit of cushioning – as well as a clean surface! If you do forget to pack a changing mat you can just as easily use a muslin underneath your baby whilst changing their diaper. Muslins are also a little easier to use than a changing mat if you're changing your baby on your lap.
- Diaper rash cream – one that is used solely when you're out of the house will mean that it can always stay inside your diaper bag and you won't have to remember to pack it! A sample size is perfect for this as it takes up a lot less space.
- Hand sanitizer – washing your hands is near on impossible when changing your baby's diaper in a public place – especially when you're alone. A sanitizer gel kept inside your bag is great to have on hand.
- A change of clothes – Two full sets of clean clothes should be enough to get you through all the different sorts of mess that your baby might (will!) present you with. Also bring a bag to put dirty clothes in so they're ready to go straight in the washing machine when you get home (some biodegradable bags are great as they don't take up any space). A great tip is to replace any of the clothes that you've used from your changing bag at the same time as putting the dirty ones in to wash – that way you'll have one less thing to think about when you next head out, and you'll always have a change of clothes on you for your little one.
- Comforter or a pacifier – these come in really handy when you're trying to get your baby to sleep in an unusual place, or when they just need a little comfort. These can also be great when you want 5 minutes to enjoy your coffee or have a well-earned catch up with a friend.
- Bibs – for use when feeding your baby, and also great when it's a little chilly outside and they need an extra layer of warmth. Again, replacing these when you get home will mean that you don't have to keep putting them in your mental 'to pack' list.
- Breast pads – You can get both reusable and disposable breast pads, and whilst the reusable pads are comfier, environmentally friendly and cheaper in the long run, it is helpful to have a stash of disposable ones in your changing bag so that you're never without. Muslins can also come in really useful here if you're looking for a cover up when breastfeeding in public.
- Bottles – if you're bottle feeding you'll need to pack enough formula or expressed breastmilk for the time that you're out. You can get handy little insulating bags to keep expressed milk inside so that they stay cool until you need them, and they'll also keep formula milk warm. Though there are a lot of places that should be able to heat them up for you!
- Hat and sun cream – if you don't have a lot of space for full sized bottles of sun cream, a sample size can be great.
- For older babies and toddlers – you'll need to bring their sippy cup, some snacks, and maybe a small toy or two.
The unthought of diaper bag extras:
- Nail clippers – Cutting your baby's nails is a task that can require a bit of spontaneity. Having a pair of nail clippers handy in your bag could have you thanking your super-prepared self when you finally see an opportunity to cut their nails!
- First aid supplies – think pain relief, teething gel, band aids, tissues.
- Mom necessities – if you're not carrying a separate purse, don't forget to pack your own essentials! Remember your cellphone, keys and wallet. It may also be helpful to pack yourself a clean shirt, a pen & paper and a book or magazine.
So there you have it, a list of essentials that will have you prepared for everything! But most importantly, remember to get outside with your baby and enjoy yourself. If you forget to pack something it's not the end of the world, you might find a supermarket or another mom who can help you out, and you can be sure that you will remember it the next time!