Beginner's Guide to Packing a Diaper Bag
As a new parent, a lot of simple things can seem mind-boggling, and with good reason— this is your first go-around at parenting. You have so many questions that you probably wish you had a manual to help navigate you through your new role.
While there aren’t any instruction books on how to parent, here’s a guide that you can use when it comes to packing your diaper bag. Keep in mind that if your baby has special needs you’ll want to add those in, but for now here are the basics that every parent should remember to pack.
1. Use a convenient and durable diaper bag.
There are so many diaper bags on the market, it’s hard to know which one to invest in. When shopping for one keep in mind that this little bag is going to hold all of your baby’s necessities. A versatile bag is always the best choice. A diaper bag like a Hie Bag is adaptable for strapping to a stroller or carrying as a messenger bag. Some diaper bags even come with a built-in USB port to charge any device such as a portable breast pump or iPhone.
2. A changing pad and diapers.
A changing pad should be in your diaper bag at all times. You will be changing your baby several times throughout the day, and a changing pad gives you a clean place for diaper changes no matter where you are. Most public restrooms have a changing table but you’ll want to lay your changing pad on top before using the changing table to keep things more sanitary.
Along with a changing pad, you should always keep your diaper bag stocked with diapers. Whether using disposable diapers or all in one cloth diapers, never let your stock run low. If you are using cloth diapers, remember to take a few “dirty diaper” bags with you so that you don’t mix the dirty diapers with clean ones. Disposable bags are also a good idea for disposable diapers so that you can seal in the smell of a dirty diaper before disposing it.
3. Formula or breast milk.
If your baby is on formula, you can pack their formula to-go by using a formula dispenser to ensure you pack the right amount for each feeding throughout the day. Babies should be drinking their formula with purified baby water, so take a few compact bottles to mix in with the formula.
Don’t forget bottles. You should carry at least 3 so that you can keep up with your baby’s appetite should you be away for longer than anticipated.
If you’re breastfeeding, take a nursing cover with you so you can have some privacy during each feeding and whenever you need to pump. Pack your breast pump and a small insulated cooler bag with an ice pack. You will want to store the milk you pump in the insulated bag to make sure it is preserved correctly to be used for your baby’s next feeding.
4. Burp cloths
Babies tend to spit up a little after a meal and drool a lot during teething. Having a few burp cloths can help keep the spit off of you and your baby.
5. A change of clothes
As a parent you should always anticipate an accident. Whether it be a blowout, infant vomiting or something unpredictable, always carry an extra outfit and some pajamas in case a mess should occur.
6. A few pacifiers
If your baby is easily soothed with a pacifier, bring 2-3. Pacifiers are easily lost and if that’s the only way to calm your baby you’ll find yourself frustrated if the one pacifier you brought goes missing. Be prepared by having a couple of backups.
Aquaphor seems to be the preferred ointment for most pediatricians because it’s gentle on baby’s skin. Applying Aquafor during each diaper change helps avoid diaper rash, but it can also help when applied to a baby’s face to avoid drool rash and other factors that can be harmful to your baby’s skin.
8. Baby toys
In the era of iPads and smartphones, it’s easy to want to stick your baby in front of a screen for entertainment. However, pediatricians recommend limiting screen time and instead encourage interacting with your baby. Packing wooden toys that are baby-safe can keep them entertained and can be used as a backup should your tech gadgets run low on battery life.
9. Baby blanket
Babies usually sleep a ton. Having a blanket that they love will help keep them on schedule for their naps. A soft blanket that’s lightweight makes it not only easier to pack, but also safer for a baby.
This may seem like an abundant list but it gets easier the more and more that you do it. Before you know it, it will turn into a habit and you’ll remember everything. As a heads up, you may want to print this list and keep it in or near your diaper bag. With the first few go-arounds, you will probably forget a few things. Just remember, it’s okay, every parent has or will.