What to Pack in a Diaper Bag

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As a new mother, it can seem like your tiny baby needs so much stuff! It can be overwhelming trying to figure out what to pack in a diaper bag and what you can skip. This article will help you figure out the minimal items you need in your everyday bag.

Do You Really Need a Diaper Bag?

Whether you really need a diaper bag is personal preference. However, I would say absolutely yes you do need a diaper bag. 

I find that I can transfer my few essential personal items to a diaper bag pretty easily. Many bags have specific pockets or places for your car keys, cell phone, wallet, and other essentials you may have. 

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Can I Use Any Bag as A Diaper Bag?

I prefer bags that are made to be diaper bags over regular bags. 

Diaper bags are made with multiple pockets and pouches. These bags are made with the user in mind. The sometimes have multiple access points as well.  

These pockets and pouches help to accommodate everything you and your baby need. They also make it really easy to access items, some of which might be really small or you need quickly. 

My favorite feature is a pocket that I can access quickly without opening the entire diaper bag. It’s where I keep burp cloths in those early days. Because spit up can be unexpected and messy. 

I prefer having a backpack diaper bag and a satchel diaper bag

packing diaper bag for baby

What Should I Pack in My Diaper Bag for the Hospital?

Most hospitals will provide you with many of the necessities that you need for your newborn baby. 

This includes a shirt to wear during your stay, baby blankets, diapers, wipes, a soothie pacifier if you want, baby wash, baby comb, and formula bottles if you’ll be using formula. 

However, there are some newborn essentials that you’ll need to pack.

If you plan to bathe your baby at the hospital you may want to pack a gentle body wash

If you’re nursing you should pack some simple comfortable nursing bras. You may also want a good nipple cream

You will also need to pack a going home outfit, I always packed a few of these onesies, since I didn’t find out the gender of my babies during my pregnancies. 

If you have a preference for diapers and wipes, then you should pack the ones that you want to use. These wipes contain water and grapefruit seed extract. These disposable diapers are chlorine-free and contain less toxic ingredients than traditional diapers. 

What Should I Pack in My Diaper Bag for Everyday?

What you pack in your everyday diaper bag will be personal preference. Some mamas like a more simple minimalist bag, while other mamas want to have everything in their bags, just in case. 

However, there are a few things that both the minimalist and the extra prepared mama need in their everyday diaper bags. 

Diaper Bag Checklist

1. Every mama needs diapers in their diaper bags. Whether you’re using disposable or cloth diapers you need to have extra diapers for changes. 

2. You will need to have wipes in your bag. You can use disposable wipes or cloth wipes. If you’re using cloth wipes then a case is nice to keep them in and a spray can be used to moisten the wipes as you use them. 

3. If your baby is prone to diaper rash then you will want to keep a small container of diaper cream in your bag. 

4. Many diaper bags come with portable changing pads. If your diaper bag doesn’t have one, you’ll want one for diaper changes on the go.

5. Babies can be messy. Whether it’s spit-up or a diaper blow out, there’s a chance you’ll need at least one change of clothes on your outing. It’s best to keep at least two changes of clothes for your baby in your bag. 

6. Sometimes baby spit up or blow outs can get on you too. For this reason you’ll want to keep at least an extra shirt for yourself. This shirt can be kept in the diaper bag if you have room, or just in your car. 

7. You’ll want to keep a bag to put those dirty clothes. A wet bag is a specially made bag that keeps the mess contained in a zipper compartment. 

8. Whether or not your baby spits up a lot you’ll want to keep a couple of burp clothes in your bag. 

9. You should keep a small hand sanitizer in a pocket.

10. I also like to have a small sunscreen available in case our plans change and we end up in a sunny spot. Remember sunscreen should not be used on infants younger than 6 months old. 

11. If you’re baby uses a pacifier you should keep at least one extra in your diaper bag.

12. Formula fed babies will need bottles, formula, and water (if you’re using a powder mix). 

13. If you’re breastfeeding you’ll want to bring along a few extra nursing pads, in case you leak.

14. Nursing mamas should also bring along a water bottle, some mothers will want a nursing cover, and any other breastfeeding essentials they think they’ll need.

13. Babies above 6 months of age will need snacks in the diaper bag. These snack containers will help to contain any type of mess. 

14. If you’re baby is teething its a good idea to keep a teething toy, or two.

15. Once your child is a bit older you’ll want a couple toys for them to play with. 

Diaper Bag Essentials

Figuring out what to pack in your diaper bag can be overwhelming. This simple checklist will make it easier for you to not miss any essentials. If you want to keep more items in your bag, that’s personal preference.

What are your must-have items in your diaper bag? Comment below and help another mama figure out what to pack in her bag. 

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Brooke has been helping families as a board-certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner, since 2007. Prior to that, she spent 4+ years working as a Registered Nurse in both pediatric and postpartum nursing. Brooke holds a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and a Master of Science in Nursing. Additionally, she is dual-licensed in her state as both an APRN and RN.

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