Everywhere you and your baby travel, a diaper bag will be with you. But what exactly do you need in there? It depends on your child's age, the length of your absence, your destination, and your preference for level of preparation. Consider several situations you could run across while out with your little one and what you would need as you pack your bag. It's like your Mary Poppins bag, if you will.
Whatever messes parenthood with a toddler might throw at you—from puzzling freak outs to unexpected hunger pains to, yes, poopy diapers—a well-packed bag that you can swing over your shoulders (and quickly hook over the stroller) can solve the problem. Here is your go-to diaper bag checklist to make sure everything really fits in the bag.
- Diapers: One diaper will be required for every two hours you are out, plus maybe a few more for safety.
- Wipes: If you can't find a nice travel pack, keep your baby wipes wet in a sandwich bag of plastic. They are the most versatile item in a diaper bag, useful for cleaning your hands, the changing pad, and your baby's bottom, especially after using a public toilet.
- Baby lotion or cream: Save room by using tubes that are portable.
- Changing pad: So you have a clean and safe surface to change your child.
- Tiny empty bags: Use them for dirty clothing and diapers (bring home cloth diapers if they are disposable). These also work for pacifiers.
- Washcloths and burp cloths: Add a couple more after you've added as many as you anticipate being required.
- Hand cleaner: You have no idea who else has touched whatever you have touched, so clean your hands before feeding or changing a baby.
- Baby food: Calculate how many feedings you'll need, whether you're using infant formula and bottles, pumped breast milk, or baby food, and pack appropriately. Of course, you should add some water if the child is a toddler.
- A change of clothes: Or two. since spit ups happen. Or leaky bottles and blow-outs. While you're at it, add a few extra pairs of socks.
- Toys: Throw everything that will keep the baby occupied, such as board books, a rattle, or teething toys, inside the bag. Unless you prefer picking toys up from the pavement and floors of restaurants, remember the toy straps.
- Small bites: Find snacks which won't destroy appetites. They're necessary for older children when the next meal is at least five minutes away since children only get "hangry" when they're hungry.