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As mom to three kids, age 4 and under, including a 4 week old newborn, my diaper bag is like an appendage to my body. With my first, I filled it with everything but the kitchen sink ‘just in case.’ With my second, I had to streamline a bit to make room for 2 kids worth of stuff. With my third baby, I have it packed with 8 diaper bag essentials I can’t leave home without!
8 Diaper Bag Essentials
It’s amazing how much you think you need with your first baby. By baby #3, I have narrowed the items in my diaper bag to my absolute necessities.
The Diaper Bag
It all starts with the bag. It needs to be big enough to hold 3 kids’ worth of stuff, but not so huge you can’t manage it along with all the kids. You want lots of functional pockets. And most of all, it’s great if you get a bag that includes its own changing pad set.
I have carried the same diaper bag since my first was born – this is it! It is expensive, and I splurged on it when I was still working and could afford high-end designer bags. BUT I should point out that I have carried it EVERY.DAY for the last 4+ years and it still looks brand new! And it meets all my requirements listed above. The solid black version is more affordable (about half the price!), than the trendy prints they produce every year.
Changing Pad Set
Obviously, the key thing you need in a diaper bag is diapers! And wipes. And a convenient way to hold them all. Bonus if the changing kit folds out into a changing pad because trust me, most places offered for changing in public you won’t want to put your child directly on. My diaper bag included its own changing pad, with convenient pockets that hold diapers and wipes.
Cold & Flu Season Kit
With a newborn during cold and flu season, I need to keep my house healthy. I do it by keeping a small bag of healthcare essentials with me at all times. It includes tissue, hand sanitizer, Advil Tablet travel vial, Infant’s Advil, and Emergen-C Immune+ Chewables. I picked up all the items for my cold and flu season kit at my local Wal-Mart. Head to the Pharmacy department to find them all!
The Emergen-C Immune+ Chewables give great immune support when you get sneezed on (or worse) by the sick kid at preschool drop-off. The hand sanitizer is a necessity every time you leave any kid-centric place, since they are all germ laboratories! I highly recommend the Advil travel vial, with child-safe top. I used to carry Advil, the original round tablets providing safe, effective pain relief for over 25 years, in a sandwich bag… until my toddler pulled it out, asked for some candy and tried to open it! Never again!
The tissues and Infant’s Advil are for when all my prevention efforts fail. Infant’s Advil quickly soothes teething pain and fever, providing up to 8 hours of fever/pain relief with just 1 dose. Visit Pfizer Consumer Health to learn about what other great products they have to keep you healthy for every part of life!
For myself, I keep a small handbag within the diaper bag. It has a card holder for my ID, insurance card, credit cards and cash, and also fits my phone, check book and car keys. It also holds a lip gloss or two, the only beauty regimen I still manage to maintain! For quick shopping trips or on the rare occasions I can get out child-free, it’s easy to lift out for lighter travel.
I always have a pacifier in the infant carseat, but sometimes, they evaporate… or fall onto the bathroom floor or worse such that you’d rather leave it behind and use a spare than risk it ever going near your baby again. Never leave home without an extra pacifier!
With my first, I rarely baby wore. With my second, it was the only way to keep up with a toddler on the go. Trust me – you don’t want to be chasing your toddler on the playground with a stroller! Lil’ M spent her first 6 months in my favorite modified wrap. With a preschooler, toddler and a newborn, Baby M has no choice but to be worn. This one is a great option for those who may be intimidated by more traditional woven wraps, and it is entirely self-contained to fit inside your diaper bag. It also can be thrown in the wash and dried!
Spare Outfit in a Gallon-Size Ziploc
I carry one of these for Baby M (4 weeks), and carry it again whenever we are potty training. Newborns are guaranteed to ‘poop up the back’ at the most inopportune of moments. You don’t want to be stuck out with a baby who has pooped through their clothes with no extra outfit on hand. Same goes for accidents when you start potty training. The Ziploc is not to keep the spare fresh… it’s for the soiled clothes it replaces when you have to use the spare!
And last but not least, crayons. The mommy sanity saver for decades – a box of crayons is a perfect option for entertainment just about anywhere we go. Whether in the waiting room at the doctor’s office or at a restaurant table waiting for the food to come, just about every place will give you paper. They don’t always have crayons, so we carry our own – and they are the perfect source of entertainment for both my toddler and preschooler.
What are your diaper bag essentials? What did you used to carry with your first that you never actually used?
If you enjoyed this post, you might also enjoy Breastfeeding Tips & Essentials for Baby’s First Weeks and How I Survived Two Under 2! You can find all of these and our favorite parenting posts from around the web on our Parenting Tips board on Pinterest.