A diaper bag is a must have for parents whenever they take the baby away from home. If you have any experience with taking a baby away from home, you already know the importance of having a well packed diaper bag.
This diaper bag becomes a parent survival kit and if you forget any of the critical elements you could be in for a rough outing.
There are many different styles of diaper bags on the market from the designer bags to the more rustic, outdoorsy types. One of the first things you should do is purchase a diaper bag that fits your lifestyle, your activities and your personality as well.
Choosing a diaper bag that fits not only your needs but your personality too will ensure that you enjoy carrying it and that it will be able to hold all of the necessities that make up a perfectly packed diaper bag. We’ve listed some of the more important items that you want to make sure are a regular part of your diaper bag. These items are the ones that most often end up being needed when you are out and about with t he baby.
In the early months, it’s easy to feel like you’re carrying around the baby’s entire nursery. This article will help you pack your baby’s diaper bag with the things that they commonly end up needing so you don’t have excess items along for the trip that you will rarely need.
Being prepared makes any outings that you take with your baby much more relaxed and enjoyable. You won’t be racing to get through so you can get back home because of a forgotten bottle or not enough diapers. All of these items are suggestions and you can certainly add elements that pertain to your personal preferences and style.
1. Disposable diapers
Running out of diapers is a common problem that many new parents face. It is always better to have more diapers than you need rather than having a dirty or wet, miserable baby. It is important to change the baby’s diaper right away when they are dirty or wet due to their sensitive skin being susceptible to rashes.
Changing them right away reduces the amount of time their skin touches the wet or dirty diaper. Gauge how many disposable diapers you bring based upon the length of the outing. If you are just running to the store for groceries and going nowhere else, you would more than likely be safe with 4-5 diapers and that is figuring a little high.
If your outing is an all day affair, plan on bringing at least 12-14 diapers. It may sound excessive, but you never know what will go on in a 10-12 hour period and you do not want to risk running out. Here are some great diaper changing tips for a new parent from the American Pregnancy Association.
2. Baby Wipes
Baby wipes are almost as important as the diapers. They enable you to get the baby’s skin clean during the diaper changes which will reduce the chances of any rashes developing. They are also very useful when it comes to wiping dirty faces and hands and other general clean up.
There are several different brands and types of baby wipes on the market from infused-with-aloe varieties to unscented and hypoallergenic types. They come in many different forms, from canisters that you pull the wipes out of from the top of the lid to convenient travel size cases.
There are different standards of quality among baby wipe manufacturers as well. When you choose baby wipes to use when cleaning your baby, choose a reputable brand that is known for its quality. The higher quality varieties are usually larger and thicker than the generic types.
It is a good idea to purchase a couple of different baby wipe containers to keep in various places: one for the nursery, one for other parts of the home that the baby may spend a large amount of time, and definitely a container in the diaper bag. A travel size container is a good idea for the diaper bag so it doesn’t take up a large amount of space inside the bag.
3. Diaper Rash Cream
Even if your baby didn’t have a rash when you left the house it is important to carry the diaper rash cream with you in the event the baby has any redness while you are away from home. Quick action can prevent any further irritation and break down of the baby’s skin in the event they have a reaction to a messy diaper.
There are many different types of diaper rash cream on the market. You want to look for a brand that is well known and that provides a good barrier between the baby’s skin and the wet or messy diaper. Purchase a couple of containers or tubes of diaper rash cream; one for the nursery and one for the diaper bag so you always have it within reach when your baby needs a diaper change.
Most diaper rash creams are designed to be used between rashes as a preventative method. This is a good way to further reduce the chances of the baby getting a painful rash.
4. Baby Bottles and Formula
This item is very important if you bottle feed your baby or use bottles to supplement breastfeeding.
If you bottle feed, it is very important not to bring prepared bottles of formula unless you have a method of keeping them cool.
The best way to handle carrying formula is to put fresh, clean water into the bottles and nothing else until you need it.
Baby Formula can be added when the baby is ready to eat. There are dozens and dozens of baby bottles on the market to choose from. They come in all shapes, sizes and styles. Which style you choose is personal preference, but it is recommended to look for a style that is designed to reduce the amount of air the baby swallows while feeding.
Make sure not to leave bottles in the bag from trip to trip. Even if the bottles are filled with just water, it will need to be dumped out and replaced with fresh water for the next outing.
5. Infant Pacifier
Pacifiers are great to have around to help soothe the baby if it is fussy and it’s not time to eat yet.
It is also a great way to calm them enough to fall asleep and to help with general for-no-reason fussiness. Some parents don’t use pacifiers but for the ones that do use them, they can never have enough of these baby soothers.
There are so many different types and styles of infant pacifiers on the market it is too numerous to list. They come in all colors, designs and themes.
They are also available in a variety of sizes. It is important to know what size pacifier is the best for your baby. This will change as the baby gets older.
A newborn can’t handle a full size pacifier any more than a one year old can safely have a newborn size pacifier. The package of the pacifier will tell you what the recommended age is for the pacifier you are considering. Carry several pacifiers in the diaper bag, preferably in a protective case or at the very least a small Ziploc bag to keep them clean and sanitary when not in use.
Consider getting a pacifier clip that safely clips to the baby’s clothing and prevents the pacifier from dropping onto the floor, street or dirt. Just make sure it is a safety approved pacifier clip which is designed to be short enough to not be a strangulation hazard.
6. Baby Receiving Blankets
Always get into the habit of carrying one or two receiving blankets in your diaper bag. They are good for keeping the baby warm if you are in a chilly store or restaurant; can be used to clean up spills and even for providing privacy for the baby while he or she nurses.
Receiving blankets are very versatile and come in a large variety of materials, sizes, themes and absorbencies. You shouldn’t need any more than one or two receiving blankets per outing. You can roll them up so they take up less room.
Another great reason to carry receiving blankets in the diaper bag is so you can lay the blanket down on a surface before you lay the baby on it. It provides a good barrier between the baby and the potentially unsanitary surface you have to lay the baby on, such as a public diaper changing station. Here are some more great tips on reducing the germs that your baby comes into contact with when you are out and about.
7. One to two changes of clothing
Babies inevitably seem to spit up or have massively messy diapers when you are out and without any clean clothing. For this reason, we recommend that you pack 1-2 changes of clothing, appropriate to the season you are in, in the diaper bag in case of the unexpected.
You will be very glad you have this clothing in the event your baby has an explosive diaper to change right before you’re supposed to eat out in a restaurant.
Also carry a large Ziploc bag for storing the soiled clothing in so it does not contaminate the rest of the diaper bag.
The clothing you select doesn’t have to be fancy. Just make sure that it is appropriate to the weather/season you are in so you’re not left with a too-warm sleeper as a change of clothing during the summer.
Also be sure to periodically check sizes if the clothing is in the bag for any extended period of time without being used. Items like onesies are great for hot months and sleepers are the perfect choice for colder months.
Now You’re Ready
These items listed above are the most crucial for taking your baby on outings successfully and without worry that you won’t have what you need. There are a few other things that you can bring with you to make life easier such as a few age appropriate baby toys to keep the baby entertained while in the car seat, restaurant, or any other place of business you happen to be.
Also bring baby utensils if the baby will be eating baby or solid food while out, a baby first aid kit with important items in it and whatever else you feel is necessary for your lifestyle and baby’s needs.
One of the biggest worries parents have, especially when taking their newborns out for the first time, is being stuck out somewhere without the supplies they need to care for their baby. Even 30 minutes of unhappy baby ’s tears can upset even the most seasoned parents. It is far better to plan for the unexpected and have that diaper bag properly stocked with the necessities as well as a few extras.
Choosing a Diaper Bag for Mom AND Dad
Keep in mind that sometimes dads take their babies out on their own and they may not like carrying a less than manly diaper bag around.
If dad has the baby on his own often consider purchasing and stocking two diaper bags, one for you and one for him, each of them in the styles you prefer. This will encourage him to carry it and he won’t feel like he is carrying a purse.
A well stocked diaper bag can mean the difference between an excellent, enjoyable outing and one that takes hours to recover from. Preparation is key and it will prevent the baby from doing without and ensure the relaxation of the parents as well.
- Encyclopedia of Children’s health – http://www.healthofchildren.com/D/Diaper-Rash.html
- WebMD – http://www.webmd.com/parenting/d2n-stopping-germs-12/default.htm