There’s something so life-giving about getting out of the house with your little ones – even when it takes forever to leave! While getting out may be half the battle, you also want to enjoy your time our, so it’s important to pack accordingly. Murphy’s Law says that whenever you forget to pack that extra outfit, it’s then that baby will have a diaper blow out, and I can unfortunately attest to that being true. There are a lot of things to keep in mind when packing up your diaper bag for an outing, whether your children are six months or six years old. There are also a lot of ways to lighten your load, and of course the optimal bag is key. Read on for my diaper bag essentials!
First of all, the diaper bag itself. As a busy mom of three, I swear by backpack-style diaper bags. I love having my two arms free to tie shoes, grab kids, or change diapers on the fly. Many shoulder bags fall off your shoulder and get in the way, so I love bags like the Greenwich Backpack (the pink!) and the Chelsea Downtown Chic Diaper Backpack. If backpacks aren’t your thing, check out the ever-popular Duo by Skip Hop, and the new line by Ju Ju Be for something unique and functional.
Once you’re got your bag, let’s talk contents. These will change with age, so I’ll start with newborns and babies.
Newborns and Babies
Food and Drink
Wee ones are the hardest to pack for, even for a short outing. Because they’re always eating, you will want to have enough formula and sterile bottles for your time out as well as an extra – just in case. We’ve all run a few minutes late before, but babies who are bottle fed can’t accommodate to our tardiness, so pack more bottles than you think you’ll need. Likewise, breastfeeding mamas will want to prepare for nursing while out, which may include nursing covers if you use them, and nursing pads. For babies who have begun solids, you may want to pack some fruit and vegetable purees. I love these Bento Boxes from Skip Hop for storing homemade baby food!
Linens and Clothing
With constant consuming comes the constant clean up. Why are the cutest creatures also the messiest? Linens are what take up the bulk of any diaper bag, but you’re better safe with them, than sorry, and covered in spit up. Trust me! Here’s a short list of linens and clothing to always have in your diaper bag.
- Two extra outfits for baby (go easy on yourself and make this a simple body suit in summer or footed pyjamas in the winter)
- Two receiving blankets (these will do everything from doubling as a nursing cover, providing shade for a napping baby, guarding mom’s clothes from baby burps, and of course, serving their original purpose as a blanket)
- A few baby face cloths (quick clean up, also fun to chomp on for teething babies)
- At least one bib (for meal time, but also for drooling babies with teeth on the way)
Whether you use cloth diapers or disposables, pack more than you think you’ll need. If you’re going out for an hour, pack three. You never know! We used cloth diapers, so we also packed our wet bag which attached to the strap on my diaper bag. For longer outings, I’d often switch to disposable diapers for the day to make things easier. Don’t forget a plastic grocery bag for your soiled disposable diapers – sometimes garbage cans are hard to find. And of course, every mom’s BFF, wipes! Most diaper bags some with a light weight change pad, but if yours doesn’t, don’t fret – your extra receiving blanket can act as a change pad on any flat, safe surface.
Leave at Home
Along with your change pad, you can free up additional space in your diaper bag by leaving a few other things at home. Use an extra baby face cloth for teething instead of packing your Sophie the Giraffe. Same goes with rattles and small baby toys – these things are great at play with at home, but I try to pack as light as I can when I’m going out with my kids, and babies already require so much packing. Plus going out provides enough stimulation and fun for baby. And as I mentioned above, your baby’s change of clothes should be as simple as possible – this isn’t the time to pack suspenders and jeans for your two month old. I know, it’s tempting!
Toddlers and Kids
The older your children become, the easier they are to pack for. The best part is that they can sometimes even carry their own bag! My kids always loved wearing their little Skip Hop backpacks around the house, so I started letting them pack a small day pack for themselves when we’d go out. In an effort to spend less money, I usually pack a refillable water bottle (I love the ones by Klean Kanteen) for each child and a small, healthy snack. Wipes are still helpful at any age, especially for cleaning hands after riding the subway, playing at the park, or after a meal.
Now that you’re all packed, get out and enjoy the fresh air!