What you actually need in your diaper bag
Raise your hand if you’re the parent who overpacks the diaper bag. Welcome to the vast majority of parents. A lot of us bring a year’s worth of baby gear along on a simple walk around the neighbourhood. This is an exaggeration, of course, but it matches how a lot of parents feel. The reality is, you probably don’t need every item you bring on each outing. We know why we overpack for our wee ones: we don’t want to find ourselves in a position where we’re underprepared. There’s that old adage: better to have it and not need it, than need it and not have it. It’s solid advice, but that saying was also used in a time before the internet and apps could help us plan.
For instance, if you’re not sure whether to pack an extra blanket, stroller rain cover, or sweater for your little bub, check the weather on your phone. If it’s warm and dry you don’t need any of these items taking up space.There are apps that can learn your child’s sleep windows and closely predict nap times as well—which means you likely don’t need all those toys you pack along to entertain your little one.
1. Food for Baby
This is obvious, but don’t pack enough food for a weekend when you’re leaving the house for a couple hours. Only bring a limited number of bottles and formula/baby food. If you have a bigger kid, make sure to bring some extra snacks (since they always seem hungry!).
2. Diapers or Extra Underwear
Nothing is worse than finding yourself in a diaper blowout situation with no backups. Don’t go crazy, you only need to bring a couple extra. If you’re on the reusable diaper train, remember to bring a bag to put dirty diapers in. For potty-training toddlers, keep an extra pair of our Organic Basics Toddler Underwear in the diaper bag as well.
Entirely necessary. Do they have to be the disposable ones? No. There are some reusable options, but like reusable diapers, they should go in a dirty laundry bag after use. Try our ultra-soft Organic Cotton Dry Wipes.
4. A spare outfit
Fact: kids are mess magnets—especially once you introduce your baby to solid foods. One back-up outfit is really all you need. A bib is also a good idea to save their clothes from pureed food.
If you need a new outfit for your little bub, we create baby clothing made of natural materials like bamboo and organic cotton in many adorable prints.
5. Pacifier and back-up pacifier
If your wee one doesn’t use a pacifier, it’s one less thing to pack. For parents whose children rely on pacifiers, a back-up is strongly recommended if that first one gets dropped somewhere dirty.
6. Hand sanitizer
Germs are everywhere, so having hand sanitizer with you at all times is a must. Tuck a travel-sized bottle of hand sanitizer in your diaper bag—you’ll use it a lot.
7. Nipple cream
Especially if you’re new to breastfeeding, always pack your nipple cream. You can try to soldier through an outing without it, but sore nipples can distract from a fun time with your wee one.
8. Diaper cream
Similar to nipple cream for you, you don’t want a rash or tender bottom making your baby miserable. Keep a tube of diaper cream in your bag and a separate one at home to make sure you always have it with you.
Keeping your kids out of direct sunlight is the recommended way to protect their sensitive skin. Sometimes you’re not able to keep them entirely covered by shade in their stroller or at the park, which is why it’s important to have some SPF protection in your diaper bag.
10. Swaddle blanket
These blankets are incredibly versatile and there’s always a reason to use it: drape it for privacy during breastfeeding, a stroller or car-seat cover for a napping baby (as long as it’s not too hot out!), use it as a burp cloth, the list goes on. We carry many great options for swaddle blankies if you need to grab a couple.
11. Water bottle for Parents
The diaper bag isn’t just for baby stuff. Make sure you put some things for you in there too—you need to hydrate, after all.
12. Shirt for Parents
Babies like to share the mess—generally on your shirt. A t-shirt for you doesn’t take up much space, and you’ll be super glad you thought to bring this for yourself.
13. Snacks for Parents
Parents get hangry too. Don’t put yourself in a position where you only think about your little bubs. This small act of self-care can save you from an ugly situation. Pack a snack bar or trail mix to give you enough calories to push forward until you can get a proper meal.
14. A Travel-Sized First Aid Kit
You don’t expect your kid to get hurt during a simple outing, but it can happen. In truth, it doesn’t need to be an actual first aid kit, just a couple bandaids and alcohol wipes for any unexpected scratches that appear during playtime.
This list isn’t to suggest you won’t need other items. Think about your plans for the day and plan appropriately. You can always have a stash of baby goods in your car if you’re worried about keeping your diaper bag too streamlined. If you’re in the market for a new diaper bag we have diaper bags as stylish as you are. They look good and they’re practical for a mom on the go.
Did we miss anything? What are the must-haves in your diaper bag?