Mums ask: What should I pack in a diaper bag?
So you’ve got your routine in place and you’re pretty confident about seeing to your baby’s needs at home. Taking the show on the road is an entirely new challenge though.
What to pack in a diaper bag
Every baby has different needs and habits so you’ll need to work out what works best for yours but use our guide as a start to ensure you’re ready for anything your baby might throw at you.
And different places require different things, so it’s best to alter the contents of your diaper bag according to where you’re going, while making sure the essentials are always in place. Whether it’s a short trip to the beach or just out for errands, you have to make sure that your baby has everything he needs when a situation arises.
It can also be quite a hassle to carry a handbag and a diaper bag, so you also need to make space for your must-haves to put inside the baby’s diaper bag. Helpful hint: Put your wallet, keys, phone, sunglasses and other small items into a small pouch, so you’re not rummaging through your diaper bag all the time to find them.
Diaper bag essentials for a short trip
What to bring when you’re bringing baby to his checkup or just a quick trip to the mall?
The barest minimum if you’re only planning to be out for a short time. These are also the items that should always be in your diaper bag. You can add other items to these depending on where you’re going and how long you plan to be out.
- 2-4 diapers. 1 for every 2 hours plus 1 spare.
- Wet wipes.
- A changing pad. Most diaper bags come with one but if yours doesn’t, pack a thin waterproof pad, so you can turn any surface into a changing table.
- Plastic bags. For dirty diapers, dirty clothes or any other mess you might need to contain. Ordinary plastic bags will do but a handy tip is to save used Ziploc bags for this so you can seal the smell away too.
- 1-2 changes of clothes for your baby.
- A hat for baby, depending on the weather
- Extra top for mum. In case of a spit up or spill.
- Pain or fever medication. Coughs and sniffles are common so be prepared
- A small thermometer to check the baby’s temperature in case he becomes unwell during your trip out.
- Hand sanitiser. To keep hands clean.
- Tissues. These always come in handy when you have a messy baby.
- A baby bottle or nursing cover, depending on whether you breastfeed or bottle-feed.
Add-ons for longer trips
Whether you’re planning to take your child for a day trip at the beach or at the zoo, or even if you’re just going near but you’ll be away from home for more than a couple of hours, make sure you’ve got all of these covered.
- Diaper cream. Get travel-sized tubes.
- Bottle with formula or expressed breast milk. For formula, fill the bottle with water and measure out the right amount of formula in a separate container, so it’s easy to get it ready.
- Blanket. Can also be used as a changing pad or nursing cover.
- Small towels. For burping, washing faces and hands and other small messes.
- Extra breast pads.
- A snack for baby, in an airtight container, to prevent spills.
- Baby food and spoon. If your baby has started on solids.
- Water in a baby bottle or sippy cup.
- 2–3 bibs.
- A hat for baby.
- Pacifier. Pack a spare just in case.
- Teething ring. Babies can start teething as early as 3 months.
- Toys or books. To keep your baby entertained.
- Antiseptic cream. For small cuts or bites.
- Passport or travel documents, if needed.
Essentials during the pandemic
If there’s local transmission of COVID-19 in your area, make sure you have these items with you when you’re going out:
- Face mask, 1 for every 2 hours (for you)
- Face mask, if your child is over 2 years old
- Alcohol-based hand sanitiser
- Disinfecting wipes
- Vaccination health certificates, if needed
Nice-to-haves if you’ve got the space
A baby stroller with a diaper bag at the park.
Other items that would make your trip easier but that you can choose to leave at home.
- Crackers or other snacks. For your baby and you.
- Sling or wrap for carrying your baby.
- Sunscreen and mosquito repellent. Especially if you plan to be outdoors.
- Immunisation or other health records. Keep these in a Ziploc bag (to protect them from spills and drips) so you always have them on hand in an emergency.
- Cheap over-the-door hook. For public toilets that don’t have bag hooks.
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Tips for packing your diaper bag
Now that you already know what to pack, here are some reminders on how to keep it organised:
- Clean out your diaper bag and restock it as soon as you get home. It can be exhausting to do this, but doing so puts you in a better position to remember what you already used. It can also prevent unwanted smells (from soiled diapers or dirty clothes) from accumulating inside your bag. Restock it, so you won’t forget anything at the last minute. Trust us, it’s so frustrating to find out you’re out of diapers just when you’ve already left the house.
- Keep spare items in the car. If you have a car, it would be a good idea to store some essentials in the compartment or the trunk. That way if you do run out of something while you’re not at home, you’re not in a bind. You also won’t have to lug around such a big and heavy bag if you have some spare in the car.
- Update your spare items seasonally. It would be so inconvenient to find out that the spare shirt you have for your bub is too warm for the weather, or that it doesn’t fit him anymore. Also pack clothes that are easy to take off and put on, in case of spit ups or accidents.
- Check before leaving the house. To make sure you and your baby have everything you need for your destination, double-check or even triple-check the diaper bag before it’s time to go. That way, you can also ditch the stuff that you don’t need for your baby’s day out. Also check your bag for signs of wear and tear and replace it if needed. You don’t want it giving up on you when you’re already out and about.
Updates by Camille Eusebio