Things To Pack in a Diaper Bag – The Must-Haves!

Things To Pack in a Diaper Bag – Minimalist Style

When my sister had her first baby, I watched with dread as she brought her boppy, bouncer and two overflowing bags of baby things when she came to visit. You see, I didn’t have kids yet, and I was wondering if one day this would be my life – toting around ALL. THE. THINGS. just to survive.

Well, I have come to learn that I don’t have to have all the things everywhere I go, and how to pack minimally to keep outings simple. Well, at least as simple as they can be with a newborn.

So, if you are wondering what you actually NEED, keep reading to find out what things to pack in a diaper bag.

Diaper bag essentials.

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Are Diaper Bags Necessary?

You might be wondering if a diaper bag is necessary at all. Why not just keep the baby essentials in your purse?

It is possible, but speaking from experience, it is much easier to have a diaper bag. A diaper bag is made to be more sturdy than a purse and has more compartments so that you can find the items that you need quickly.

Some diaper bags even have insulated compartments to help maintain bottle temperatures!

Choosing a Diaper Bag

There are SO many choices when it comes to finding a diaper bag. How do you decide?

There are a couple things to consider as you make your decisions. Think about what is the most important to you. Style? Convenience? Size? As you think about those things, you will start to have a better idea of what would work best for you.

Honestly, looking online for a diaper bag is easier than at a store. You can compare tons of bags, read about all the features and the reviews for each bag.

But, if you tend to get overwhelmed with a lot of choices, just go to the store, pick one out and call it a day!

Over The Shoulder or Backpack Style?

I have tried both the over-the-shoulder bag and the backpack style. Go with the backpack! The last thing you need is trying to keep a diaper bag from sliding off your shoulder while holding your baby or carrying a heavy car seat.

And don’t forget the stroller straps. This way, anytime you have the stroller, you can hang the diaper bag right on the handle instead of on your back. This makes for super easy access to all your baby items!

I love this diaper backpack. First, it’s very inexpensive. Big plus!

It already has the stroller straps and even comes with a changing pad, which is definitely one of the must-have things to pack in a diaper bag!

It has many compartments (some insulated for milk) and is big, so it can fit everything you need. I use this bag, and it’s enough to fit all of my baby things plus a couple things that I need for my older two kiddos. I also use one of the compartments for my stuff so that I don’t have to carry both a purse and a diaper bag.

One of the best features of this bag is the wide, stiff opening. It stays open when unzipped and does not cave in at all. I way underestimated this feature before I got this bag. It makes it super easy to get things out with one hand while holding the baby with the other.

This bag is pretty deep, so pack the things that you are less likely to need at the very bottom. For me, this tends to be a change of clothes for the baby.

Things To Pack in a Diaper Bag – The Diaper Bag Checklist

In this list of things to pack in a diaper bag, I included the absolute must-haves. Trust me, you won’t regret having them when you’re out and about.

Diapers

We’re starting with the obvious. Pack three to five diapers in your bag. This way, if you use a couple and forget to restock, you’ll have some extras for when you go out again. Also, babies poop a LOT in those early days, so you don’t want to be left unprepared.

Over the course of three babies in five years, I have tried quite a few brands of diapers. I really like The Honest brand. They are soft and absorbent and almost too cute to wear! These diapers are made without latex, chlorine processing, fragrances, or lotions, so I can feel good about my baby wearing them without irritation.

Wipes

Of all the things to pack in your diaper bag, wipes will probably be the thing that you keep in your bag long after your baby is out of diapers. You can use them for SO many things. I carried them with me for my five and three year old even before my #3 was born.

I love these face, hand and baby wipes for so many reasons. The main one is that they are a great non-toxic option. I know they are safe for my baby’s bum, but also to sanitize her hands (and mine) without harsh chemicals and clean her face after eating. And of course they work wonderfully for cleaning up sticky messes as well.

Diaper Cream

If your baby does not have sensitive skin, you can probably skip this item on the diaper bag checklist.

If diaper cream is a must for your baby, this is a wonderful option. It is a stick, so you don’t have to worry about having to wash your hands before changing your little one’s diaper or about getting your hands greasy during a diaper change.

Easy to use and has clean and natural ingredients? You can’t go wrong with this option!

Changing Pad

Some diaper bags come with a changing pad, but if yours didn’t, go ahead and get one ASAP. Public bathrooms are gross, and you probably don’t want to lay your sweet baby on the hard, plastic changing table that has never been cleaned without a little cushion and protection from the yuck.

You might be thinking, “Girl, I am never going to change my baby on one of those things.” That’s fine, but even if you are ever planning on changing your baby’s diaper on a friend’s rug, the changing pad will help protect your friend’s rug from any unexpected mid-diaper change leaking.

Burp Cloth

Make sure you have a burp cloth when you go out and about to protect your clothes from those pot-meal spit ups. And by burp cloth I mean a prefold cloth diaper. They are super absorbent, thick and soft.

I was hesitant to buy these at first since there are so many in one pack, but I soon realized that having so many is a good thing. Babies are messy and you’ll be using these for milk leaks, spit ups, diaper changes, around the house and more!

Blanket

A lightweight blanket can serve multiple purposes. Need to swaddle your baby? Blanket. Baby is cold? Blanket. Want to cover the car seat? Blanket. Forgot your burp cloth? Blanket. Need to lay the baby down on someone’s floor? Blanket. Need a nursing cover? Blanket, blanket, blanket.

Seriously, pack a blanket.

I like these organic cotton thermal blankets for the colder months. They are super stretchy, cozy, and still very light.

These organic cotton muslin blankets are perfect for the summertime. They are big, super soft, and light enough for your baby to stay cool.

I prefer to use a blanket instead of a nursing cover for two reasons. One, less to carry. Two, I feel more discreet. This nursing blanket strap helps keep the blanket on without taking up much space in the diaper bag.

If you would rather have an actual nursing cover, I have had mama friends recommend one like this. You can peek at your baby as they are nursing because of the plastic semi-ring at the top. This definitely makes latching your baby easier, especially with a newborn!

Sunscreen

You don’t often think of sunscreen being one of the things to pack in a diaper bag, but it’s so easy to forget that I just like to keep a little tube in there at all times.

You might have noticed my love for natural products, and this is another great choice if you are looking to stay away from harsh chemicals. This sunscreen contains no biologically harmful chemicals. It covers UVA and UVB rays and has the highest level of water resistance according to the FDA.

We love this sunscreen so much that my hubby and I use it too!

Just keep in mind that you shouldn’t really use sunscreen on babies until they are six months old. So, before that, use blankets and hats to protect them from the harsh sun rays.

Baby Bottles

If you are bottle feeding or if you’d rather not nurse your baby in public, don’t forget the baby bottles! You might need a diaper bag that is on the larger side to fit the bottles and the formula (This one that I recommended above works great).

Freshly expressed breast milk can be kept at room temperature for up to six hours. So, unless you are planning on being out longer than that, or will be in hot conditions for more than four hours, no need to bring a cooler and ice.

If you will be needing to reheat your breast milk, take a thermos filled with hot water so that you can easily warm up the milk no matter where you are!

Changes of Clothes for the Baby

Make sure you have an extra change of clothes for the baby in your diaper bag. You never know when there will be a blow out diaper or a massive spit up situation.

I usually pack clothes that I don’t like as much or that don’t fit quite right, since they will *hopefully* not have to use the backup outfit!

Pacifier or Toy

My babies never took a pacifier. I always tried, and they just never cared for it. BUT, my babies did like to chew on the pacifier like a toy. Since they didn’t use it around the house, it was a novel distraction for them when we were out and about. And it is small, so it doesn’t take up much space!

If your baby takes the pacifier on a regular basis, even better! Hopefully they will be soothed and distracted by it.

Make sure you use a pacifier clip, so that the paci doesn’t fall on the ground when you are out.

As your baby gets older, you might want to pack another small toy in the diaper bag. I find it helpful to have a toy that they only play with on outings, so that it stays new and exciting for them.

Baby Carrier

Having a baby carrier is a lifesaver, especially during those newborn days when the baby often just wants to be held.

I like the Baby K’tan wrap. It folds up small, and it is easy to put on and wash.

Water Bottle

This one is for you, Momma! If you are nursing, you need lots of water to keep that supply up! And even if you are not, you need to stay hydrated to keep up your energy and stay healthy!

I recommend the Hydro Flask bottle because the quality really can’t be beat. It is made of food grade stainless steel and keeps your water cold for up to twenty four hours. Make sure you get the straw lid for easy sipping without having to unscrew the top.

Things to Pack in a Diaper Bag

There you have it, Momma! With these baby items in your diaper bag, you are prepared for anything!

Did any of these items surprise you? Which items do you carry that are on your must-have list? I’d love to know! Comment below!

Diaper bag essentials for the first year
Diaper bag essentials
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