I am the most extra, over prepared mom out there. My husband always asks me "what's even in all these bags?" Whenever we go out.
To be fair, we travel with a toddler and a baby, and 90% of the time will be driving an hour away from home. I'm a "better to have and not need than to need and have not" type of person, so I bring the most important things that we could possibly need. I try to avoid having times where we're 45 minutes from home and I have no milk for my baby that can't latch. Or no clean diapers for someone who's just filled theirs up. I'll never be without a snack or drink for a hangry toddler (or adult!). I have a main diaper bag, and occasionally a small tote for extras that don't fit. Sometimes I also need to bring my pump bag, so a trip to the nature center an hour away quickly turns into a 3 or even 4 bag journey!
As your baby gets older, you'll need to bring less and less things. Which is so awesome, but feels like it takes forever to get there. When my toddler was 2 and we hadn't had the second baby yet, we could go out with a small bag that had two diapers, a snack a sippy cup. Well, not far anyways.
Newborns use what feels like 100 diapers a day, so going out with a little baby required a lot more things. Especially if that baby is exclusively breastfed via bottle because they can't latch. That was the case for my second baby, so going out takes a couple of extra things. She also cried over a single drop of pee in her diaper until she was two months old, so she'd have to be changed what felt like hourly or less.
I won't bore you with more details - I'll get right on to the lists! These are just a general list of things you could possibly need, if you found yourself in a situation where you couldn't immediately get home. I've needed all of these things at one time or another, but certainly not everything all in one trip. But as I mentioned before - "its better to have and not need, than to need and have not!"
Keep scrolling to find my list of tips for going out with baby, and feel free to download these checklists! I'll also link a few of my favorite essentials for going out.
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My top tips for going out with baby:
Have a newborn? I read that you need one diaper for every hour you'll be gone. However, I've had multiple occasions where my babies have gone through four diapers in one attempt to change (I call it the PPPPPP! poop/pause/poop/pause/poop/pause)
Bringing a bottle? Plan to spill it. That's right, bring enough milk or formula in the event that you literally drop and spill the milk from the bottle. What would you do if you were an hour from home and suddenly had no milk for a hungry baby that can't latch? I even have a small amount of emergency formula in the event my baby is still hungry and I didn't bring enough milk or have the time to pump fast enough.
Bring a spare spare outfit. I have had multiple occasions where a blowout occurs not once, but twice. You'll also want empty ziplock bags to put those soiled clothes into.
If you bring only one snack, the toddler will not eat it. I bring at least 3 options for her, because chances are that she'll only eat one of them. I also bring a backup because of the one time she dropped and spilled the only pack of fruit snacks I brought, which started the largest meltdown of the century.
Do. Not. Forget. Chapstick. Every time I've ever forgotten one, I've needed it way more than when I have 4 in my bag. Seriously. There's nothing worse than having dry lips and sitting there trying not to think about how dry they are.
USE A BACKPACK BAG. Tote bags with long straps are impossibly difficult to juggle with your hands full of child. Sometimes I carry both kids to/from the car or stroller and having a backpack is so much nicer than trying to keep the tote from swinging forward.
Check the forecast. Where I live, 90% of the summer is too hot and humid to comfortably take the kids out for walks or to play at the park. I'm talking around 90 degrees, with up to 60% humidity. I can't even stand it, so I know the kids are miserable as well. You'll also want to be wary of rain if you're going to be somewhere outside. I can't judge the temperature just by looking out the window and thinking "Oh, it's sunny. Must be warm enough for shorts!" and then it's 65 degrees and somebody gets cold.
Don't forget something to keep the kids busy if they're expected to sit for a while. Books for older kids, a tablet or iPad if necessary, toys for little babies. My baby needs something different to look at every few minutes when she's cranky or tired of sitting in her car seat. Our current vehicle is too small for me to sit next to her, so I have to hand her different things to inspect and hold rather than sit with her to entertain her. She usually sleeps for a portion of the trip, but not all of it.
Here are a few of my staple items for traveling with my kids. We typically don't go farther than an hours drive from home, so I don't know much about preparing for long road trips or flying with kids.
Parents who fly with small children are literally superheroes.
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I hope this checklist and tips have helped you to get more of an idea of what you may need in your diaper bag! As I mentioned, I'm a super over-preparer and often times I don't need all of the things that I brought, but every time I do need something, I have it.
Are you preparing for baby? Check out some of my other helpful posts before baby gets here!