Packing a Minimal Diaper Bag
For my first child, I had a very long list of “necessary” items. I liked the backpack style, mostly because of the even distribution of weight on my shoulders. It took a while, but I came to hate that it was so big that I would bump into people and things. Another problem with a big diaper bag filled with stuff is fumbling around the bag to dig it out! This can be a real pain – especially if there’s a crying baby.
As a first time mom, I really wanted to feel like I was prepared for anything! I read lots of blog posts of all the items that I needed and made bags of things for my bag.
I was so happy when the baby transitioned into a toddler because you require fewer items and the toys got smaller (think small cars / mini animals). I remember thinking, did I really need all that stuff? I came to realize that I hardly ever reached for a lot of those items!
This is what I think are the essentials. This is what I think should be there and should stay there (meaning: have one for the bag and one for home). Listed in order of importance: 😊
The Essentials for a Minimal Diaper Bag
1. Milk (formula / breastmilk).
Obviously, you can’t keep an EXTRA milk in the bag, but this is the most important item before leaving the house. Make sure you have enough for as long as you’ll be gone and one extra. If you are nursing, well, you’ll have it on you 🙂
You should calculate how long you’ll be gone and plan accordingly. I’d recommend 2 extra.
If your baby takes one, you should double-check you have one handy before going anywhere. Some babies have a hard time settling down without their binky!
I try to use the reusable wipe package so I can keep a slim set in the bag.
5. Aquaphor/Diaper Cream.
Aquaphor has travel sizes that I love because there is a foam brush/sponge to help with the application. I use Aquaphor on the baby bum daily to keep rashes away. As an alternative to the travel sizes, you can just pack a small amount in the reusable travel lotion containers or even a small Tupperware.
6. Portable changing pad.
Why wasn’t this higher on the list? Eh, I change the baby in the back of the SUV or on my lap all the time, but it is essential for when you are using the public restrooms. (Did you ever read the viral post on the warning about what was found on those diaper changers? Uck!) Also, even though you are at a friend/family members’ house, they are not always too keen on baby poopy diapers getting changed on their rug. They may not say it, but they give you a look. Use the pad 🙂
7. Extra onesie.
You never know what will happen–blowout, food, spill, too much drool–and onesies are slim and do not take up much space.
8. Burb Cloth.
Just one is fine and they are usually small, but can be a big help in a variety of situations! These are not just for burps — they clean the face when the baby spits, they clean you when the baby spits, they can protect the car seat if you are rushing home because of a blowout and you used your last onesie…
That’s it! Really.
You are free to leave the house. Now, if you have some extra space in the bag, here are a few more items to keep on hand that shouldn’t take up too much more room:
A few extra items, if you have the room:
9. Muslin Blanket.
The muslin swaddle blanket is really great for multiple things: keeping the baby warm if the weather gets a little chilly; a clean cover for the floor if you need to set her/him down for tummy time; a shade for the sun when placed over the stroller; or a quick wipe to clean up a spit-up and nothing else is around.
10. Small toy / crinkly book.
This is just a nice distraction that you can use to quiet an irritated baby.
11. Ziplock bags.
The plastic bags are good to hold a clean pacifier, hold the bottled milk (I always bag it, just in case!), or could be used to store a stinky diaper if you can’t find a trash.
12. Hand sanitizer.
This is not for the baby! It is important that people around you and you yourself have clean hands when touching or coming near the baby 😊