Women's Healthcare Topics

What to Pack in Your Diaper Bag

Reviewed by James Brann, M.D.

Always be Prepared

One of the most frustrating and time consuming duties a mom has to face is packing the diaper bag. Not only will you leave out something of importance, it always seems to take forever because everyone leaves it until the last moment.

But no matter how bothersome or difficult diaper bags may be, they are a necessity when going out. Even if it is a short errand, you better take it with you because you just never know. Make sure to also pack your hospital bag.

This article will teach you about diaper bag packing.

First thing is choosing the bag and today there is quite a range of styles to decide from. There are hard-sided and soft-sided, traditional baby themed, savvy working mom looks, rugged-manly styles and even over-night travel cases.

You might be thinking to yourself, what's the big deal - just get a tote bag - right. As functional as tote bags are at toting things, a good diaper bag will have multiple compartments and separate openings for when you just need to do a quick change.

So how do you decide what is the best diaper bag for your needs? Well, first thing is to figure out how often you will be using it and how long of a time period will the bag need to handle. Here are a few choices based upon travel time:

  • Short errands (less than 1 hour) – tote bag

  • Long errands (2 – 4 hours) - diaper bag (size dependent upon number of kids)

  • Day trips or short vacation (1 day – 3 days) – over night diaper organizer organizer

  • Long vacation or trip (3 or more days) – luggage

Equally important as owning a diaper bag and using it, will be what you choose to put in it. Here are some basic items that are a must:

  • Diapers –at least 4 per child

  • Changing pad

  • Baby wipes – for diaper changing, mouth and hand cleansing, etc

  • Diaper rash cream

  • Plastic baggies – to place soiled diapers and clothes in

  • Change of clothes – for the baby and for you

  • Snacks and drinks – for you, baby and kids

  • Towel – does not need to be in the bag, but definitely inside the vehicle

Looks like a lot of stuff? Well, let's break it down:

4 diapers per child – is not an excessive amount, especially if you will be away from the home for more than a few hours. Ever had a diaper tab pull off as you were stretching it into place?

Changing pad – keeps whatever baby is placed on from getting dirty and keeps dirty stuff off of baby.

Baby wipes – for cleaning baby's bottom, face, hands and your hands.

Diaper rash cream – especially if baby will be sitting for prolonged periods in the car seat.

Plastic baggies – if you have to make an emergency change in the car, it contains the smell and it keeps the dirty clothes separate from everything.

Change of clothes – accidents do happen and generally to you. Snacks and drinks – these are life savers, especially formula, water and handy snacking items.

Towel – this is a must for in car spills.

Again, this was a basic inventory list of necessities for any diaper bag; however you may want to add in extra items depending upon the timeframe and your baby's needs.

  • Medicine assortment (fever reducers, antihistamine, antibiotic cream)

  • Bibs

  • Burpie Rags

  • Baby Hat

  • Insect Repellent

  • Sun Block

  • Thermometer

Some of these items may seem unnecessary however, you just never know and being prepared is better than "making do".

When to pack is always a dilemma. If you can, pack the diaper bag a few hours before you need to leave. Or you can make sure you and the baby are ready to go early and use the extra time to pack. Ideally, if you could keep the diaper bag always stocked and ready to go at a moments notice you would never have to worry about it.

Always be prepared was never more important than when you become a parent. And for some reason most of us never really are. That's why if you can always have a properly packed diaper bag waiting for you to grab, it will be one less thing to stress over when you are running late - again.


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