As you start navigating life as a new mom, you’ll begin to learn all the tips and tricks of parenting a newborn. From swaddling and feeding to diapering and burping, you’ll have it all down to a science faster than you think! However, one thing that you may be wondering once you start venturing out with your little one is what to put in a diaper bag.
The diaper bag is a mom’s personal survival kit and will also double as your everyday purse. You’ll want it to be stocked with essentials for your baby and yourself for any need that could arise.
When it comes to packing a diaper bag, my motto is: You’re better safe than sorry. I like to be over-prepared for those just-in-case moments. So along with the essentials, you should bring along some once-in-a-blue-moon items, just in case.
Diaper Bag Packing Tips
- Don’t try to fit so much in your diaper bag that you will have to tote around all day. Leave some items that you don’t use often in your car in a small back-up bag.
- Adjust what you pack in your diaper bag as you learn what your baby uses and needs regularly. Your needs will change as your baby gets older, eats solid foods, and is entertained by different things.
- Always keep your diaper bag stocked and replenish it when you get home from a trip. This makes it one less thing to worry about next time you leave the house.
- Have items in there for spur-of-the-moment times, in case there is a change of plans. For example, keeping a bib and an extra baby spoon may not be something you will need all the time, but the one time your bestie asks you out to lunch after your mall trip, you don’t want to have to pass it up because you’re not prepared.
Below is my guide on what to pack in your diaper bag for everyday trips or longer getaways.
What’s In My Diaper Bag
I’ve almost never been unprepared for any situation when I keep these items with me at all times. You can store multiples of these items in your back-up bag that you leave in the car to make sure that you never run run out. So what’s in my diaper bag that makes me always ready and willing to be out all day with my babies? Here’s the list!
Well this is the obvious “don’t-leave-home-without-it” item. But how many is enough? Depending on the age of your baby will determine how many you should have handy. Newborns go through 10-12 diapers a day, but chances are you won’t be out for that long with your newborn. For little ones I usually keep about 5 in my diaper bag and another 5 in my back-up bag in the car so I can replenish for a long trip if needed.
Pack of wipes
I like to use a small travel pack of wipes because the large ones can get quite heavy in my bag. The small Water Wipes travel packs are a perfect size and take up less room. I will also keep an extra travel pack in my back-up bag because you can go through those pretty quickly, especially with a newborn. However, if you’re using a standard size wipe pack, you should only need one.
Your diaper bag most likely came with a changing pad so you can easily use that one. This thing comes in handy all the time wherever you need to change your baby. This way, you don’t have to worry about getting them dirty or even finding a random shirt, towel, or cloth to lay down to ensure proper hygiene. Just make sure it’s always put back in your bag and wiped clean.
I love having these disposable garbage bags handy for diaper changes. They come on a roll so they don’t get messed up and you can get the dispenser with it as well, keeping your space tidy. These garbage bags help to contain the smell so you’re not dumping a stinky diaper in someone else’s garbage pail or even if it has to sit in your car for a while you’re driving. You can also just use plastic bags from the grocery store if you’re on a budget!
Newborns are notorious for blowouts and spit up so chances are you will need an extra outfit, just in case. It’s a good idea to have a comfortable set of pajamas or a sleeper so you can take them out of their fancy outfit while they snooze. This is something that can stay in your bag if you don’t use it, but don’t forget to replace it once your baby grows out of the smaller size.
Diaper cream and/or Ointment
I keep a small portion of this in my bag if I need it. I use sample sizes that I got from the free baby registry gift bags that stores typically give out ( Target, Buy Buy Baby, Walmart, or Amazon). It’s not necessary to carry around a full-size tube unless you have an extra.
Since your newborn needs to eat about every 3 hours, chances are that you will need to give a feeding while you’re out. Don’t forget to pack these items in your diaper bag.
After a feeding, your newborn will need to get burped. Chances are, a little liquid will come out of their mouth from time-to-time. Be prepared for spit-ups with some extra burp cloths.
Nursing cover (if using)
If you’re nursing, chances are that you’ll have to breastfeed in public at some point. You’ll want to keep an nursing cover with you for privacy. I love the Copper Pearl multi-use covers because they double as a car seat cover during the newborn stage and high chair/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 & formula (if Using)
These are probably things that you’ll grab before you leave the house, however it’s always good to keep an extra in your diaper bag or car. Obviously don’t have a ready-made bottle sitting in your diaper bag, but if you use powder formula, you can leave a can or packet in there along with a water bottle. You can pre-fill a formula dispenser or keep some powder in a Ziploc bag and stuff it in an empty bottle. This is something that you’ll never want to be stuck without so always keep a back-up.
Play and Other Items
Your baby will probably need to be stimulated at some point in your trip, here is what to put in your diaper bag for time that your baby might need some play time.
Have something with you that will keep your baby occupied or happy if they start to get fussy. Maybe it’s their favorite toy or squishy animal. Once they’re about 3 months, this is a toy that they will love as he grabs and mouths all the different parts.
If you have a drooler, always keep a bandana bib handy. It will soak up the drool so they don’t ruin their clothes.
Pacifiar (If Using)
Pacifiars are a Godsend if your baby will take one. You never want to forget these so keep 1 or 2 extras (because they always seem to get lost). We LOVE the Mam pacifiers. Keep them in a small ziplock baggy or a cute little case, like this one to keep them sanitary.
This is an easy way to prevent the pacifiers form getting lost. Just strap it onto your baby’s clothes but keep an extra one when you pack you diaper bag in case it gets lost too.
A muslin blanket is a great lightweight cover that can double as a burp cloth, nursing cover, swaddle, or light blanket. Definitely a good idea to have one of these on you if it gets too chilly for baby.
As I said above, the diaper bag becomes a mom’s new purse because it has plenty of room to keep your stuff and the baby’s stuff. Plus, who wants to carry around two bags with them? Here is a list of what to pack in a diaper bag for mom.
Extra shirt for mom
If your baby is spitting up or blowing out their diaper, chances are your clothes may get a little soiled, as well. Keep an extra top, scarf, or covering in case you need a quick change.
I know it’s hard to let go of your favorite purse, but it’s just not practical anymore. 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).
If you’re still in the postpartum recovery stage, you may need some pain killers at times. Have these handy when needed.
Shout wipes or Pen
There will be spills and messes with babies so I pack these (along with the extra shirt), just in case.
This is especially necessary if you’re breastfeeding because you will get very thirsty all the time.
For 6 months and older:
As your baby gets older, their needs will change. They’ll tend to need a lot more items as they grow, but at least they won’t need to have as frequent feedings. Here is what to pack in a diaper bag for an older baby:
Everything mentioned above, plus:
After 6 months, your baby will start eating solids. This may mean more of a mess so a bib is necessary. I love disposable bibs when eating out because you don’t have to worry about throwing a dirty bib back in your diaper bag. 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.
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/On-the-go snack cup
There’s no question that babies love to snack. Keep some pouches and oat bars handy and keep them in your bag in case your little one needs a snack.
Your child may need some water in between feedings so make sure you have a sippy cup or baby water bottle handy.
More ways to keep your baby busy is with 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
Keep your baby entertained with something like this cell phone toy. This will keep my daughter’s attention for a while now that she’s a little older. Always good to have things on hand to occupy them.
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 high chair 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.
Related Post: Tummy Time Tips For Your Baby
For the Back-up Bag
Keep a back-up bag in your car that is always stocked with extra items in case your diaper bag runs out. You can also keep things that you may not need everyday in there so your bag doesn’t get too heavy.
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.
Related Post: Best Newborn Toys For Development and Stimulation
Diaper bag picks
Now that you know what to put in a diaper bag, you need to know what is the best diaper bag to use!
Once I had my second child, 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.
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.
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 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.
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.
I’m glad you learned what to pack in a diaper bag and what’s in my diaper bag. Always remember to replenish your diaper bag when you come home from a trip! This will ensure that you don’t forget anything the next time that you’re rushing out of the house.
Do you have any other good ideas for what to put in your diaper bag? Write in the comments below!