With my first baby, I spent hours scouring the internet and reading the advice of “experts” to make sure I would have every possible thing my baby would need in any possible situation. The result was a massive diaper bag that was a workout to carry and made going anywhere with my newborn nearly impossible. I’ve learned my lesson and now only take items that are absolutely essential. In my car I keep backup clothes, diapers, and wipes, as well as a car emergency kit, but I like to travel light when I’m on the go.
Here’s what I’ve found you really need in a diaper bag:
Diapers and wipes. These may seem obvious, but I’ve definitely been in a situation where there isn’t a single diaper in my bag. Make sure to stay stocked and to keep the right size in your bag as your child grows.
Hand sanitizer. Do your part to not spread germs, especially after changing a diaper
Bottles and breast milk/formula. The rule of thumb is a baby gets hungry as soon as you leave the house, so be prepared, even if they just ate.
Burp cloths. I’ve used these for so much more than burping a baby—they function as a towel, changing pad, hot pad, and anything else you need.
Change of clothes. Because you never know what is going to happen.
Plastic grocery bag. Use it to collect trash and dirty diapers or to store wet or dirty clothes. I always keep a few on hand for unexpected emergencies.
Pacifier or toy. Depending on the age and temperament of your child, it is very helpful to have something to distract or calm them down. Be sure to rotate the toy and change it as your child grows and develops.
Snacks for mom. Because going out with a baby is hard, and you’re going to get hungry along the way. I keep a granola bar and water in my bag at all times.