Packing a Functional Diaper Bag

Motherhood Unfolding

Hey Mama! Welcome to this week’s post, What to Pack in Your Diaper Bag! Have you ever felt like you are lugging around a ton of stuff for your tiny humans yet you are missing the one thing you needed? Or maybe you are a new mama and just not quite sure what essentials you should have on hand?

Either way, I’ve got you covered! My ultimate guide to what to pack your diaper bag will prepare you for the daily essentials needed for on the go momin’. We will also dive into seasonal add-ons and needs according to age from newborn through toddlerhood. First though, we’ve got to start with the diaper bag itself. Picking a well-organized and functional diaper bag is essential.

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What to Pack In Your Diaper BagLory Shuff/Motherhood Unfolding

Picking the Right Diaper Bag

When picking out a diaper bag, I like to prioritize both functionality and style. Your diaper bag is going to take place of your purse for the next two years plus so take the time to find one that works for your lifestyle. I went through multiple diaper bags with my first baby trying to pinpoint the perfect one. Big ones, small ones, cheap ones, ones with lots of pockets, ones with no pockets, bags that aren't diaper bags… you get the idea.

I learned through a lot of trial and error that these are the three key things you want to look for when picking your bag.

1. Invest in your diaper bag

Cheap bags breakdown quickly and you will be using yours frequently if not daily for two years plus. Bite the bullet and pick one out that is made of quality materials and is going to last. If you don't, you will end up spending more in the long run as I did.

2. Choose a bag that is meant to be a diaper bag

This seems like a no brainer but make sure to stick to bags that are set up as a diaper bag. This will ensure they come with things like side pockets for bottles/sippy cups and a basic organized structure. Many will even come with things like insulated pockets, a paci pouch, changing pad, etc. These extras come in handy!

3. Opt for a backpack style

A backpack diaper bag is going to be the most functional bag because it allows you to be hands-free and it distributes weight evenly on your shoulders. There are tons of cute options out there that won't have you feeling like a middle-schooler, I promise.

My Recommendation

There are a ton of beautiful and functional bags out there and I don’t think there is any single one that is better than all the rest but the Suite by Skip Hop 6-in-1 Diaper Backpack Set is well priced, quality made, and comes with a lot of handy extras like stroller hooks, a paci pouch, extra bags and a changing pad. Plus the outside material is easy to wipe clean and the overall atheistic is stylish yet functional. I purchased mine through BuyBuy baby with a 20% off coupon. Look around for a deal or sale to save a little extra!

Now that you’ve picked your bag, it’s time to stock it!

Diaper Bag Essentials

Regardless of age or season these are the basics every mama needs in her diaper bag:

  • Diapers
  • Wipes
  • Changing Pad
  • Disposable Diaper Sacks
  • Hand Sanitizer

Really the basics revolve around diaper changes. Beyond that, what you need to pack depends on the age of your baby and the season or outing. The most important thing to remember as you add additional items is to streamline your choices as much as possible. This will ensure that you can easily locate items, don’t bring too much, and reduce weight/bulk.

Next, let's explore age-based essentials.

Age-Based Essentials

Newborn Needs
  • Carseat Cover/Nursing Cover
  • Swaddle Blanket (I use this dually as a burp cloth if needed)
  • Emergency Outfit
  • Breast Milk or Formula Bottle
  • Pacifier if you choose to use one
Baby Needs
  • Carseat Cover/Nursing Cover
  • Emergency Outfit
  • Breastmilk or Formula Bottle
  • Pacifier if you choose to use one
  • 2 Teething Toys (in case one is dropped)
  • Age Appropriate Snack (puffs etc.)
Toddler Needs
  • Sippy Cup
  • A FEW Toys
    *I like to pack a car, sticker activity book, and crayons
  • 3-4 Snacks (A Hangry toddler is not to be messed with!)
    *I like granola bars, jerky, fruit leather and crackers
  • Neosporin to-go (Toddlers are boo boo magnets!)

Now, let's take a look at seasonal needs!

Seasonal Add-ons

Choose the items according to the appropriate season/ need for your child.

  • Sunscreen
  • Bug spray
  • Sunglasses
  • Hat
  • Extra Socks
  • Gloves

Additional Considerations

There are also some products worth looking at depending on the specific need of your child. Check out these additional considerations to see if any fit your needs.

Soothing Tablets – For a teething baby
Medication – Daily or for sickness
Disposable Bibs – For eating out
Disposable Placemats – For eating out
Tablet – A longer trip with a toddler
Disposable Toliet Seat Covers – For a toddler learning to toilet train

Last but not Least

No diaper bag is complete without Mama's essentials. These of course vary for everyone but make sure to pack keys, wallet, phone, and anything else you need on the go! Dedicate an entire pocket or compartment just for your needs.

Organizational Tips

Now that you've picked a diaper bag and know what to pack in your diaper bag, you will want to come up with a way of organizing it all. Below are some quick tips to get you on the right track.

  • Pockets are your best friends! Utilize them and dedicate specific areas of your diaper bag for certain things. Make sure to stay consistent with your dedicated areas! This will ensure you are always organized.
  • If you notice something that never gets used, take it out. You likely need less than what you think.
  • Remember that if you are ever caught out and are in desperate need of something there is usually a drug store or a Target nearby. You don't need to bring your entire nursery with you.
  • Remember to do occasional cleanouts (because diaper bags always seem to become a black hole of tiny human items) as well as wipe down the outside of the bag and highly used contents.
  • Ultimately, keep your diaper bag clean, organized, minimal, and functional
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Diaper Bag EssentialsLory Shuff/Motherhood Unfolding

Remember to use this guide and packing your diaper bag will be a cinch! Start with a great bag and focus on the essentials so you are always able to locate items quickly.

If you enjoyed this post you might also like my Mommy of Two Routine (Toddler + Baby)

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