Diaper Bag Essentials: Don’t Leave Home Without Them

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mother packing a diaper bagHeading out the door with a baby is sometimes no easy feat—especially if you’re a brand-new parent.

When packing a diaper bag, it’s important to find the right balance between being prepared for any situation and getting weighed down with a heavy bag you’ll need to lug around everywhere you go. We’re here to help with this handy diaper bag checklist!

From how to choose the right bag, to tips for saving space, to quick snack ideas for kids, our diaper bag list has got you covered.

Best Diaper Bags

First thing’s first. Before exploring how to pack a diaper bag, let’s start by choosing the right bag. What type of diaper bag should you buy? We find that the best diaper bags are ones that offer a variety of pockets and sections so you can stay organized and have easy access to everything you need.

Diaper bag essentials from a design perspective include insulated side bottle pockets, interior and exterior zippered pockets, a padded shoulder strap, stroller hooks, easy-to-clean fabric, and a pocket for a laptop or tablet.

Diaper bags come in a variety of styles, including over-the-shoulder bags, backpacks, crossbody bags, and beyond. Think about what you like in a regular handbag or tote and choose your style accordingly.

Diaper Bag Checklist

Now we’re ready to explore what goes in a diaper bag. Depending on the age of your baby and the length of time you’ll be away from home, these diaper bag essentials can be adjusted for your needs.

  • Diapers. It goes without saying that you can’t leave home without diapers (or training pants if you’re packing a toddler diaper bag). Always include a few more diapers than you think you’ll need. Trust us on this one. Also consider packing overnight diapers and/or swim diapers depending on your plans.
  • Wipes. Wipes are one of the most important items to include in a diaper bag. Get a small travel pack with a plastic snap-open lid or use a slim refillable wipes case to save space. Make sure it’s airtight to keep wipes from drying out.
  •  Diaper Cream. Keep rashes at bay with a travel-size tube of diaper cream or petroleum jelly.
  • Plastic Baggies. These are must-haves in a diaper bag for disposing of soiled diapers and wipes. You can reuse plastic bags from the store, buy bags that are designated for dirty diapers, or even use your dog’s poop bags.

You may also consider bringing along a large, zip-top freezer bag to keep baby’s dirty clothes separate from the rest of the items in your bag.

  • Changing Pad. The best diaper bags come with a coordinating changing pad included. You can also buy one separately or use disposable changing pads.
  • Bottles. Whether you nurse or formula feed, bottles and feeding supplies are diaper bag necessities.

Some parents freeze or partially freeze breast milk and let it thaw throughout the day. Others pack bottles with an ice pack in an insulated pouch. Another option is to bring pre-measured powdered formula and water to mix on the go.

  • Change of Clothes. Accidents happen—especially when babies are involved. Bring at least one fresh change of clothes along with a clean onesie and pair of socks. Add pajamas for long days or overnight trips.
  • Bibs/Burp Cloths. Bring either a bib or a burp cloth (you won’t need both) to curb spit-up and spills while maximizing space. A cloth diaper also works well for this purpose.
  • Light Blanket. One of the most versatile diaper bag items, a thin blanket can be used as a swaddle, a stroller shade, a nursing cover, or even a makeshift changing pad in a pinch. Consider storing blankets in your stroller to maximize space in your diaper bag.
  • Pacifiers. Many baby goods companies now make cute pacifier pods, which allow you to keep baby’s soother on hand along with a clean spare.
  • Teethers. If baby is going through the teething stage, teethers are must-haves in a diaper bag to soothe sore gums. Keep the teether in the cooler bag with your bottles to help it retain some chill.
  • Toy. While toys are not necessarily diaper bag essentials, they’re a great way to keep baby busy and engaged. Save room in your bag by attaching the toy to baby’s stroller or car seat.
  • Hand Sanitizer. Hand sanitizer is one of the top essentials for a diaper bag, especially before feeding or before and after diaper changes.
  • Parent Essentials. Remember: it’s not only a baby diaper bag—it’s for parents, too! Designate a section for parent diaper bag essentials such as your wallet, keys, cell phone, cosmetics, lip balm, and other personal items. If your diaper bag doesn’t have a designated section, keep these items contained in a large cosmetic bag.
  • Snacks. No list of diaper bag essentials is complete without snacks. For the sake of ease, choose individually packaged options that don’t require refrigeration, such as granola bars, nuts, beef jerky, dry cereal, pretzels, or Welch’s® Fruit Snacks.

Made with real fruit, these mouthwatering, allergen-free snacks contain no preservatives and are an excellent source of Vitamins A, C & E. They’re sure to keep older siblings smiling while you’re tending to baby. Plus, you’ll probably want to steal some, too!

  • Seasonal Diaper Bag Items. Depending on the climate and time of year, you may want to bring along sunscreen, a sun hat, a winter hat, mittens, and other seasonal diaper bag essentials.

What to Put in Diaper Bag for Hospital

If you haven’t had your baby yet, take heart! You won’t need all the diaper bag items listed above when going to and from the hospital.

Many new mothers pack a hospital bag for themselves and a separate newborn diaper bag with a going-home outfit and a few other major diaper bag essentials.

Often hospitals will send parents home with free samples of formula, diapers, and more, which should lighten your diaper bag list and help prepare you for leaving the house with a newborn.

Remember the Snacks!

Don’t forget to bring along Welch’s® Fruit Snacks when packing your diaper bag! They’re the perfect snacks for road trips or on-the-go adventures with your family. Find your favorite variety today!

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