Having a hard time picking a diaper bag? Check out my HUGE review post here! I have tons of diaper bags and pump bags! I also have a packing your diaper bag for cloth diapers here - and my top 7 favorite bags here!
I am the most extra and 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 newborn and two toddlers, 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 randomly dry up or have no pump or milk for the baby. (That doesn't happen but hello anxiety) 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!) or have a kid sitting in wet clothes for the whole drive home. I usually have a main diaper bag, pump 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 took 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.
With my third baby, I actually cloth diaper, he can latch, but I still bring pump stuff and spare milk just in case. I also have a double supply because I pump to feed my middle kid as well (as I write this she just turned two and the youngest is 3 months old.)
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 screenshot these checklists! I'll also link a few of my favorite essentials for going out at the end!
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Diapers (disposable or cloth, whatever floats your boat. If cloth, bring your wet bag for dirties!)
Wipes (again disposable or cloth, and wet bag if they're cloth)
Diaper rash cream - I love this one by Earth Mama Organics but it's expensive and I often use coconut oil instead because it's cheaper (and cloth safe, I use cloth diapers on my youngest. Earth Mama is also cloth safe.)
Extra clothes - I go two outfits per kid and a third for the baby for good measure. I never see as many blowouts with cloth diapers as I did with disposables, but he's got plenty of other ways to soil his outfits! Mom hack: pack these inside of ziplock bags to place soiled clothes inside.
Food and Drink - one or more, your call. I always pack what feels like a buffet for my kids, they'll end up picking just one or two things anyways. There have been times we get delayed somewhere and end up being very grateful to have the extras though!
First Aid - Bring a basic first aid kit with things like bandaids, cut spray/ointment, tweezers, nail clippers, sunscreen/bug spray etc. You never know when you may need it! I also add Tylenol for kids and adults.
Mom stuff - Extra shirt, hair ties, chapstick, pads, whatever you may need. Stuff it in there.
Toys/activities - iPad, books, small toys, musical jingly thing, something to keep babies occupied and older kids from screaming.
Hand Sanitizer - for when you can't wash your hands! Wet ones are good for grubby hands before eating.
Breast Pump - One that you KNOW works well for you. Never ever bring a new pump you haven't tested first, especially wearable pumps or cups. You need to be able to rely on it to empty if you plan to use that milk to feed baby while you're out. My two most often used pumps while traveling have been from Pumpables and Baby Buddha.
Flanges for pump - Flanges that fit and are comfortable! Assemble all of your parts before packing in your bag. Duckbills seem to get left behind often! Assembling the entire kit beforehand helps prevent this.
Something to hold milk in - Whether it be a fancy chiller bottle, bags, glass jar, cooler, whatever you use- bring one!
Something to feed milk with - Especially as exclusive pumpers, do not forget a bottle! Maybe two wouldn't hurt.
Nipple butter or flange lube - This is very commonly used for comfort while pumping! I like the Earth Mama Organics one but again, it's expensive and coconut oil does the trick as well for less money.
Spare bags just in case - They take up such minimal space, why not! You never know when you may need them.
Extras (I usually have a tote with extras since we go so far from home)
Swetashirts or coats - I live in Minnesota, so this applies to me. Perhaps not in California or Florida!
Extra outfit if not in diaper bag
Snacks/water - If this doesn't fit in the diaper bag, sometimes I bring a small cooler/lunchbox depending on where we're going. I also bring extra water in case it's spilled.
Baby Carrier/hip seat etc
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.
Some of My Favorite Products for going out:
For Diaper bag, I alternate between quite a few. I have a full list of all of my bags here, and my top 7 favorites here.
For 'Extras' Bag - You can really use anything for a tote, but for me so far the largest, lightest, and cheapest tote that I have is the Light+ by Cleverly Bags. These are only $25-$30 and they are MASSIVE!
Diaper cream spatula for the times you can't wash the cream out from under your nails because you're not by a sink! I love this because I have longer nails. This one comes with a case and it's under $6!
Tushbaby for carrying a baby that doesn't want to sit in the stroller. If you know, you know. These kids are spider monkeys! This link should automatically apply a discount. I use this at home too, almost every single day!
A reusable changing mat, any kind is fine. You can even bring a blanket for that. I have purchased whatever I could find on sale that fit into a bag! I also bring some puppy pads in the car from time to time, those came in handy when changing kids out of beach clothes in the back and kept sand off of my floor! I personally have this Skip Hop one that I got on a deep discount from Carter's.
For Milk storage - I usually bring one ready bottle in an insulated pocket (cold, not warmed) and then my Ceres Chill for any fresh pumped milk. I typically will only pump once or twice so the smaller sized chiller works just fine for my needs! TEACHINGMOTHERHOOD for discount there.
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!