My kids, unlike many others, haven’t really had a need for a diaper bag on a regular basis. They go to grandma’s house for ‘daycare’ when they’re not at home, and we’ve never needed an emergency diaper or change of clothes while shopping… So except for the occasional date night when we take them to a sitter’s house, we really don’t use the diaper bag much. But when we do, I make sure it’s stocked to the brim with useful stuff. Here’s my top 10 list:
- Diapers and wipes (duh!). A necessary evil. Mine is especially full since I have two different sizes for the kiddos (until Brendan gains a couple more pounds that is. He’s catching up to Collin quickly).
- Changes of clothing. I keep a pair of pants, one short sleeved shirt, one long sleeved shirt, a pair of socks, and a stocking cap on hand for each of the boys, no matter the season. Because it doesn’t get much use, I constantly have to remind myself to check the sizes and be certain they haven’t outgrown them in the meantime! If you have multiple kiddos in different sizes, throw the clothing into gallon size Ziploc bags labeled with their name. We do this to keep diapers separate, as well.
- Hand and face wipes. These are amazingly handy, especially when at a restaurant or in the car. We buy Wet Ones antibacterial hand and face wipes. They double as restaurant table wipes for finger-food eaters and cart wipes, or hand sanitizing wipes for mom or dad after a diaper change on the go. Plus, while it says “citrus,” they smell like pina colada. Yum.
- Books. These are a must have for any bookworm like Collin. Also useful for itty bitties in the car, prop them up at the foot of their car seat carrier so they have something interesting to look at.
- Food & utensils. I always keep a couple containers of baby food for Brendan, and a can of chili, soup or other food for Collin that falls under the category “should be heated but can eat as-is in a pinch.” Make sure cans have a pull-top lid on them so you don’t have to cart around a can opener. Would be useful in an emergency or one of those unforeseen circumstances when you get stuck away from home. We also keep a spoon on hand for each of the kiddos, and a bib for Brendan.
- Pre-made formula packets. While these are expensive to buy, they’re thrifty to make.Simply take the snack size Ziploc bags and portion out formula into them, making sure to write on each baggie how much water they should be mixed with. Also, if you are caught in Walmart mixing up a bottle of your home-packaged formula, you’ll never get accused of stealing it.
- Bottled water. Useful when you’re in the car or away from home, with no water fountain in sight and an angry, thirsty baby or toddler. We also keep an empty sippy cup and bottle in there for quick filling.
- TOYS. Restaurant, sitter’s house, or in the car, kids fall easily into the “bored” zone. Whether they’re 6 months, 6 years or 16… Have something on hand to keep them entertained.
- Toiletries. We have a small zippered makeup bag with mini shampoo & baby wash, baby powder, a comb, a spare toothbrush/toothpaste, nail clippers, thermometer, orajel teething gel and infant tylenol… Just in case. If I didn’t carry it in my purse at all times, I’d also have a small bottle of hand sanitizer and chap stick in there for mom and dad. Also included is a small card with our nurse’s phone number.
- Blanket. Whether you’re on the go with a sleepy kiddo or at the doctor’s office with a naked toddler, a blanket is a must. We have a special one that rarely leaves the diaper bag.
So for those of you who don’t already have a diaper bag stocked full of goodies, I hope this helps a little. I was terribly unprepared as a new parent, and left Collin’s two week doctor’s appointment with a naked baby wrapped in my coat because he had soaked through 2 changes of clothes and 2 diapers, and we didn’t have a blanket along… Something I wouldn’t wish on anyone!
With even northern states hitting 90+ degrees pretty consistently lately, sunscreen has been a must. That’s number 11 in my diaper bag! Check out this list of top sunscreens from the bloggers at Babble. While my sunscreen of choice isn’t on the list, I love it just the same.