Guide to Packing a Diaper Bag Like a Pro

The diaper bag is a mom’s personal survival kit and will also double as your everyday purse. It has to go everywhere with us so you’re not going to want to carry a separate purse with you, as well. That’s why we want it to be stylish, versatile, spacious, and comfortable.

When it comes to packing a diaper bag, my motto is: You’re better safe than sorry. So along with the essentials, you should bring along some once-in-a-blue-moon items, just in case.  Of course, not everything has to go in your diaper bag that you tote around all day because that would be awfully heavy.  I suggest that you leave some of those items that you don’t use often in your car in a small back-up bag.

As you learn what your baby needs regularly, you can adjust your bag and back-up bag accordingly. Your needs will also change as your baby gets older, eating solid foods, and entertained by different things.

I like to be over prepared for those just-in-case or spur-of-the-moment times.  There’s been days when we are out and decide last minute to go out to dinner or run an errand, and it was always helpful to have a few extra things packed that we wouldn’t have had if we were just sticking to the original plan.

I always keep my diaper bag packed and replenish it when i get home from a trip. This makes it one less thing to worry about doing before leaving the house. Here are my tips on what to always keep packed in your diaper bag or back-up bag and adjust accordingly for longer trips.


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Diaper bag picks:

Now that I have 2 kids, I switched over to a backpack diaper bag and am so glad I did.  You definitely need to be hands free when you’re running around with 2 kids under 2 years old. I wish I got the backpack style sooner, but my original diaper bag served it’s purpose and I really liked it, as well.

Freshly Picked Back Pack

Image result for freshly picked diaper bag

I love this diaper bag because it has plenty of room, plenty of pockets, and a stylish leather exterior.  It comes with the changing mat and also has an insulated bottle pocket. It’s the perfect size for me because a lot of backpacks I tried are way too wide. They may have more space, but are so bulky on your back and don’t have a sleek look.

I didn’t think I’d like a backpack because I thought it would look too sporty and I wanted something to resemble more of a large purse, but this diaper bag is perfect! I highly recommend it if you’re looking for a nice bag that will last you awhile.

SoHo Diaper Bag Tote

SoHo diaper bag Grand Central Station 7 pieces set nappy tote bag large capacity for baby mom dad stylish insulated unisex multifuncation waterproof includes changing pad stroller straps Stripe White

If you’re looking for something a little more affordable and you like the tote style, this bag was a great first bag for me.  It has plenty of space, so many extra compartments and small cases, water resistant fabric, and a sleek design. The extra cases were great for keeping baby food/snacks and compartmentalizing items.  I also use one of the cases to keep extra items in my car that I don’t want to carry around with me everywhere.

Small diaper clutch

Portable Changing Pad Diaper Clutch - Small Diaper Bag Purse w/Shoulder Strap | Changing Station w/Extra Storage for Diapers, Wipes Holder, Essentials, and a Baby Outfit | Waterproof, BPA Free

You wont need your large diaper bag for quick errands so this Mini diaper clutch is great to carry a couple essentials, as well as a built in diaper changing pad.

For a newborn:

Extra onesie/outfit/sleeper

4-5 diapers

Pack of wipes – I like to use the small Water Wipes travel packs just to take up less room and I also keep an extra travel pack in my back-up bag

Pacifiar – We LOVE the Mam pacifiers. You should have them in a small ziplock baggy or a cute little case, like this one to keep them sanitary.  Always keep 1 or 2 in the diaper bag and don’t just rely on bringing the one from home because you never want to be stuck out and about without a paci.

Pacifier clip – You wouldn’t want it to get lost!

Burp cloth

Bandana bib

Changing pad – a matching one should come with your diaper bag

Disposable diaper garbage bags – These help contain the smell a bit so you’re not dumping a stinky diaper in someone else’s garbage pail or while you’re driving around with it in your car.

Extra shirt for mom – Just in case

Nursing cover (if needed) – I love the Copper Pearl multi-use covers. They can be used as a car seat cover and high chair or shopping cart cover (when they’re a little older).  It’s a super soft, stretchy material and folds up so small to take up virtually no space in your bag.

Bottle and formula (if needed)- Even if you think you’ll always grab the bottles you need before you leave, you never want to be stuck without it.  This is something that can be kept in your back-up.

Sensory/teething toy  Once they’re 3 months and up, this the best toy that will  keep your baby occupied as he grabs and mouths all the different parts.

Wallet (for mom) – I know it will be hard to let go of your favorite purse, but it just doesn’t make sense to carry 2 big bags around.  I consolidated everything I need into a small wristlet (wallet, chapstick, keys, etc.).  You’ll finally realize it’s totally doable to fit your whole life into a tiny purse (and any overflow into the diaper bag).

I keep small portions of all of the following items in there, as well.  I use sample sizes that I got from the free registry gift bags that stores typically give out (from Target, Buy Buy Baby, Walmart, or Amazon). You don’t want to carry around full size tubes. 

Diaper cream

Lotion or ointment

Motrin/Advil (for mom)

Shout wipes– There will be spills and messes with babies so I pack these, just in case

For 6 months and older:

Everything mentioned above, plus:

Disposable bibs – These are so great for when you’re eating out.  You already have enough to clean up when you’re out to eat so these can just be thrown away instead of having more to clean up.  These bibs even have a little catch tray at the bottom for all the food that falls.

Disposable placemats – The best mom hacks are ones that help with clean up.  These placemats ensure that your baby has a clean surface to eat off of when you’re out, and you just get to pick it up and throw it away when you’re done.  No extra clean up!

Snacks- pouches and oat bars can be kept in your bag in case you forget to grab snacks at the last minute and aren’t too messy for on-the-go snacks

Water cup

On the go snack cup

Books  – These Highlight Books are perfect for babies and toddlers, small and light enough to fit easily into a diaper bag for on-the-go entertainment.  I don’t want to carry extra weight so board books are out of the question.  My favorite thing about these books is that they are made of tear-resistant and bite-resistant material and it’s actually a monthly subscription so your child will receive a new book every month.

Small interactive light up toy- This cell phone toy will keep my daughter’s attention for awhile now that she’s a little older.  Always good to have things on hand to occupy them.

Crayon kit- For 12 months+ it’s helpful to have a little restaurant kit.  I like to throw in crayons, paper, and stickers to keep her occupied when sitting in the highchair waiting for food.

For the summer:

sunscreen & a hat – You never know when you’ll end up staying outside in the sunshine for too long.

Back-up Bag

This back-up bag in your car can contain extra items that’s always stocked in case your diaper bag runs out or things that you may not need everyday.  Items like diaper cream, lotion, extra diapers (in case you run out), bottles, tylenol, extra bibs, and anything else you think you don’t need to carry with you everywhere.  Keep a small tote or extra case with them these items that will always remain in your car.

The diaper clutch is a helpful item that you can keep in your car, but also bring out with you. In the clutch keep 1 or 2 diapers, wipes, and a burp cloth.  That’s all you would need for a quick trip.

Do you have any other good ideas for what to pack in your diaper bag?

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