There is a saying, “Once you have a baby, you can’t leave your home without packing half the house in your diaper bag!” And it really feels that way!
Someone might look at you and think you are going on a week-long vacation — Nope! Just leaving the house for a few hours with a newborn.
After having four children, I feel like I have this diaper-bag-packing down to a science. What you need, what you don’t need, and how to save your back and shoulders from carrying all that extra weight!
You can leave the house quickly if you always have your diaper bag packed and sitting by the door. Just replace diapers, wipes, and outfits as needed.
Packing a Diaper Bag for a Newborn
What you need:
- 5-6 diapers
- 1 bag of baby wipes
- Diaper rash cream
- Changing mat
- 2 extra outfits + socks
- 2 burp rags
- 1 blanket and swaddling blanket (if you baby likes to be swaddled)
- Feeding supplies:
- nursing cover (<–check out my review of a nursing cover) and nursing pads
- formula, bottle, bottled water or container of purified water
- Pacifier (if baby takes one)
- Bags (such as these) for dirty diapers or soiled clothes
- hand sanitizer
What you DO NOT need for a newborn:
Toys– your baby is too young for toys at this time and it will just be extra stuff and weight in your diaper bag at this age.
Everything you packed for a newborn plus:
- an extra outfit or two — 3-4 outfits total
- 2-3 burp rags
At this age, babies are more likely to have leaky diapers, especially if you breastfeed. Babies usually begin spitting up more (volume and frequency) than they did the first month, so you will most likely need more outfits and spit rags.
What you don’t need:
You are probably done with the swaddling blanket by now. Most babies stop preferring to be swaddled in the first month. If your baby still prefers it then leave it in, just make sure you stop using it once the baby can roll over.
4-6 month-old baby:
Everything previously mentioned plus:
- 1-2 toys such as a rattle or teether
7-12 month-old baby:
Everything previously mentioned plus:
- 2-3 Baby food pouches and 1 container of snacks
- 1 Baby spoon
- 1 Bib
- 1 Sippy Cup
- 1 Book and a few toys
You probably do NOT need these any more:
- Burp rags — most babies stop spitting up around 6-7 months of age
- As many outfits — if your baby is not spitting up and they are eating baby food then your baby is probably not leaking out of diapers or soiling outfits as often. One outfit is probably sufficient.
- As many diapers — As your baby gets older he/she is probably not having as many dirty diapers and is going longer stretches between wet diapers. 3-4 diapers should be sufficient.
Once you start potty training you will want to have:
- Pull ups or diapers
- Change of clothes — depending on the number of accidents you are willing to have in public (before you give up potty training for the day and go straight back to a diaper instead of underwear).
- Sippy cup
- Baby wipes (always and forever you will need baby wipes)
You don’t need almost everything else listed in the above lists.
Extra Things to Consider
- Seasonal items such as sunscreen, hats, or coats.
- Medicine based on pediatrician recommendations such as Tylenol or gas drops.
- Your keys and wallet — will they go in the diaper bag or will you have a separate purse?
What I Hate About Most Diaper Bags
Having four children, I have owned my fair share of diaper bags (and purses that I tried to turn into a diaper bag) and here is what I have disliked most about those:
- They are so heavy! Which is why I made the list of what you really need in a diaper bag — everything else is non-essential.
- Everything falls to the bottom and I end up emptying out the whole bag to find what I’m looking for.
- They get dirty. They are all over your vehicle, the floor of a bathroom as you change the baby, stuff gets spilled or leaks inside them… they are just gross!
My favorite Diaper bag is the CiPU Baby Diaper Bag and here’s why:
- It is wide with lots of inside compartments to easily organize everything. I don’t have to dump everything out to find what I want.
- I can carry it over my shoulder or across my body, messenger style to keep the weight distributed. (Although you can also get a backpack style diaper bag from their website).
- It is waterproof and can easily be wiped down so it can stay clean!
- It comes with extra removable pouches. Why is this important? Well, this is actually my favorite part of this bag! I use the larger pouch as my purse (it even comes with a shoulder strap), with my wallet, keys, chapstick, etc. I can easily have my purse separate from the diaper bag or keep them together.
- It is adorable and really that’s the most important part.
Disclaimer: I received this diaper bag in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
What is your favorite diaper bag essentials?