Updated: Nov 14, 2018
The diaper bag can become an unruly, heavy thing with a mess of supplies that are confusing, hard to find, and the wrong sizes, gah! Here's my list of things that you need for both a baby and an older toddler.
1. Diapers. Ten diapers should be in your bag at all times for your little one. If you go on an overnight trip or a longer vacation, plan on bringing 10 diapers/day, or if you need to pack light, plan on picking up diapers when you get to your destination to save some valuable room.
2. Wipes. Have at least one full package of wipes in your diaper bag at all times. I like to have two packages. If one package is half way full, and you have a colossal poopy mess on your hands, you do not want to run out of wipes.
3. Butt cream. You need some form of diaper cream to help prevent diaper rash. I use Desitin and it comes in a tube that can easily be stored in the diaper bag.
4. Clothes. Pack at least 3 outfits per day. I prefer light onesies and light pants, I live in Texas, so, it is hot most of the year. So, consider what the weather typically is like in your area, but also remember not to bundle them up in the car seat. The car seat makes them warm since their whole back and sides are snugged into the seat with no ventilation. And for this reason, don't put a blanket on them in the car, they get too hot. Try to have air conditioning blowing in their direction, or you may just need to keep the air cooler than you would normally in your vehicle. So, back to the diaper bag, I would pack 3 short sleeve onesies, and two pairs of pants. The pants help contain blowouts which commonly occur if your little one poops while in their car seat, cause of all that pressure trying to escape, and it has nowhere to go but out, sense their bottom is snug in the seat. And the extra onesies are also needed due to spit up, which often occurs if you have just fed your little one before placing them into the car seat. The squeeze of the straps, as well as, the kind of scrunched position they are in, causes them to spit up. So, with this in mind, try to give them a little while to let their food settle before strapping them into the seat. Wooh, that was a lot of explanation, but just wanted to make sure you know the why.
5. Blankets and burp cloths. So, you may also want to pack 3 blankets and 3 burp cloths. These of course protect your own clothes when you are holding or nursing the baby, and come in handy to clean up messes.
6. Changing pad. I like to bring a travel size changing pad, a blanket, a cloth diaper, and a cloth diaper insert for when I change my little one. I use the changing pad to provide some padding between them and any hard surfaces, I lay a blanket on top of this to protect it from messes, and to create a large, clean area for me to lay my little one on. The cloth diaper lays on top of the blanket where their bottom will be. The cloth diaper is a more absorbent fabric and will help contain the mess should my little one pee before I can put a fresh diaper on him. After I have cleaned up my little one with wipes, I use the cloth diaper insert to wipe off any moisture left on his bottom from the wipes, before I apply butt cream. All of these items are easily tossed into the wash when we return home, if they need to be cleaned.
7. Small garbage bags. I always keep a roll of inexpensive, small garbage bags in the diaper bag. These are great for bagging up dirty clothes to take home, and of course to bag up dirty diapers should a trash can not be available.
8. For mom. If you are nursing, it's a good idea to keep a nursing cover in your bag, just in case you want to nurse modestly. You may not have a private place to go when you're out and about with your little one. Also, with this in mind, keep a few breast pads in the bag.
That's all you need for your baby, now if you also have a toddler, depending on his age this is what you may want to include in your bag.
1. Change of clothes. Our oldest is 3 and is potty trained for the most part, but I always want to be prepared should we have any accidents outside the house. So, I bring a full change of clothes: shirt, shorts, underwear, socks. If his shoes get dirty while we're out, that's ok, he can rock just socks for the ride home.
2. Diapers. I keep a couple of diapers in his size in the bag just in case. I have not had to use these, but I feel better knowing, if we get in a bind, I have them. I include a couple of overnight diapers, as well, just in case we spend the night somewhere.
3. Snacks. I keep a pack of four apple sauces in the diaper bag at all times. These do not spoil, and are a good back up plan should the unexpected happen, and we are stuck somewhere with no food in sight.
4. Utensils. Have a couple of forks and spoons in a plastic bag in case you need them. It's also handy to have a spare plastic bag in this bag of utensils to put the used, dirty forks and spoons in.
5. Bandages and triple antibiotic ointment are always a good idea. I like to include a few of the really big bandages for the good knee scrapes.
Alright, I think that's it. These items are what you need to keep in your diaper bag to be ready to go out at a moment’s notice.
Otherwise, if you are doing a more specific kind of outing or longer trip, plan accordingly. Such as, going swimming? Bring a swim suit/swimmer style diapers, and baby safe sunscreen. Planning on being out in the sun? Sunscreen and a big brimmed hat are a good idea.
Snacks are always a good idea to have on hand to give out incrementally to your little one to stave off a hunger tantrum. I like grapes and almonds for car snacks, because when my toddler spills, it doesn't make a big mess. So, keep this in mind when selecting snacks for the ride.
Nursing, breast milk
My youngest is still nursing with one baby food session per day, so I don't bring snacks for him if I am coming along, but if I'm dropping him off at grandma's, I bring frozen breast milk in a cooler and a jar of baby food. My youngest is 7 months, so he generally needs about 6 oz of breast milk per feeding, so I bring enough milk for however many feedings will occur within the time I'll be gone, plus one extra 6 oz portion of milk, and a 4 oz jar of baby food. It's always better to ere on the side of caution, because, sometimes, the unexpected happens, and we take longer than we originally planned. And of course I provide one bottle that can be used for each feeding, no need to bring a bunch of them for one day.
So, check online or usually your pediatrician provides an information sheet at your most recent checkup about how much your baby typically will need to eat at each stage of development. Be sure to tell your care giver to store your frozen breast milk in the freezer, you do not want to refreeze any leftover breast milk that was unused, and you do not want to throw any of this precious substance away that can be used in the future. Any unthawed, unused breast milk needs to be stored in the fridge and used within three days, or it will need to go down the drain.
I know this is a lot of info, but honestly that's the nature of these things. I could go on about all types of scenarios you may or may not find yourself in, but I think I've provided the most relevant information that will get you on your way. I hope it helps. Ask me your questions, and I will try my best to answer them. Get out of the house and go have fun!
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