What Are the Diaper Bag Essentials?
It’s hard to know what baby items are diaper bag essentials for trips out of the house before you’ve had your baby. With kids, the old adage “less is more” seems inconvenient when “more is more” would have prevented a trip home in a soiled outfit. So how do you pack the essentials and not feel weighed down like a pack mule every time you step out of the house? Experienced mothers will tell you that by the time they’ve had baby #3 or #4, the diaper bag has evolved into a few key items thrown into their purse in the mad race out of the door.
The type-A mom who has a sense of calm maintained by being prepared for every possible situation has a diaper bag packed to the brim and a stow-away bag in the car. The type-B, go with the flow mom probably has a diaper and a case of wipes in the pocket of her purse along with crushed snacks and a dirty toy. Neither is wrong and both have this parenting thing down pat. But how do you know which category works best for you before your baby is born and you haven’t gotten into the mix of things yet? My advice is to be prepared, but go the minimalist route.
The Diaper Bag Essentials:
● At least 3-4 diapers
● Burp cloth
● Nursing cover (if you use one)
● Bottles and formula (if you’re not a nursing mom)
● Diaper cream and nipple cream (Pro tip: coconut oil can be used for both of these needs)
● 1-2 Extra outfits depending on how long you’re gone
● Water bottle for mom
Diapers and wipes are an obvious must, as is an extra outfit. If you’re formula feeding, packing two bottles is going to be necessary as well. However, kids don’t need all the toys. They also don’t need their clothes changed every time a little spit-up happens. It’s a different story if poop has traveled up the back though, so definitely pack at least one outfit change. Anything more can be kept in a travel cube in the car.
When to Stop Carrying a Diaper Bag - Hands-Free is ALWAYS Better
In the early days, when I had one baby, I chose to use a backpack for my diaper bag. This kept my hands free to tend to my infant without having to set the diaper bag on the ground or worry about it slipping off my shoulder when I leaned over. Backpacks also distribute the weight evenly, so you’re not constantly switching shoulders when one gets sore.
I continued to use a backpack as a diaper bag when my second child was born, but now it was packed full and, as a result, was heavier. I was still wearing my baby in a baby carrier to keep my hands free, but now the weight of carrying my new baby in the carrier on the front and the backpack on my back, while also attending to my toddler, was causing unneeded fatigue.
My first two children were also close in age and there were times that my oldest wanted to be carried at the same time as his sibling. In those situations, I had a toddler on my back and my infant on my front in a tandem carry, therefore there was no place left for the diaper bag. Nor would I have wanted to carry one more thing!
That’s when I started experimenting with minimalism. I would pack only the essentials and shove everything into the pockets of my baby carrier. I got rid of my old-fashioned wallet in favor of a cardholder stuck to the back of my phone. I packed the smallest wipes bag I could find that had a separate compartment for the diapers and fit a tiny bottle of coconut oil in with it. This whole bag would fit
nicely into the zippered pocket of my carrier. That left only an extra outfit for my infant and my water bottle.
In the Amphiba Baby Carrier, the extra outfit fit easily into one of the lycra pockets. I went from using a hard plastic water bottle to a reusable, collapsible one that could squeeze into the upright lycra pocket or that I could attach with a carabiner to one of the straps. The stretchy pockets on the carrier could hold a bottle and burp cloth, too. The hood of the carrier was large enough to conceal me if I needed to nurse but I also felt free to nurse in public without a cover.
Diaper Bag Essentials and Planning Ahead
Think before you go - does a quick trip to the grocery store really require a diaper bag? I had come to find out with the birth of my second child that I didn’t need one at all. Not for shopping trips, on errands, or taking the kids to the park. I’ve found that the more you carry the more you must keep up with, take care of, and remember to bring home. I didn’t want to be worrying about forgetting my children’s toys, sippy cups, sunglasses, or X, Y, Z because it was hard enough just keeping up with my kids.
Children, especially small children can be entertained by almost anything. The Amphiba Baby carrier has enough space in the pockets to bring a small toy. However, I chose not to bring more than one or two small items for their entertainment. Instead, I would use opportunities when they were presented to encourage my little one to explore their world.
While waiting for the waiter to bring our food at a restaurant, I would hand my baby the individual packets of sugar to touch or a spoon to hold. In the rare instance when a coloring page and crayons weren’t available, I would play “I spy” with my toddler. If I was trying to entertain them while running errands, I would give them things to look for in the aisle and have them help me shop.
If I knew I was going to be out of the house for the entire day and I’d need more diapers and additional emergency clothes, I would pack the extras and leave them in the car. If I had to make a run out to my vehicle, everything would be there when I needed it. I found a hanging car organizer that helped keep my vehicle tidy by holding essentials for four kids. At the start of every winter, I pack hats, gloves, and sweaters because those items are always getting lost or forgotten. I also, keep a change of clothes for each kid, a water bottle, and snacks in the hanging car organizer. Once the kids are past the toddler stage needing a change of clothes is rare but does happen. Kids get dirty and they spill things - a lot of things.
With some forethought and a little planning, I was able to ditch the diaper bag entirely in favor of a baby carrier that had enough pockets to house the diaper bag essentials and ditch the diaper bag. If you’re wondering when to stop carrying a diaper bag, the answer is now. Taking a minimalist approach allows you to be physically and mentally freer. It’s easier to live life on the go and parent actively when all you need to grab on your way out the door is your kid and your carrier!