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I can’t tell you how many blog posts I read when I was pregnant about diaper bags and hospital bags. It’s a ridiculous number, but I was so worried I was going to forget something, be out in the real world with a screaming baby, and not have what I needed in my diaper bag. Thankfully the internet exists and bloggers are a plenty. (Maybe I should take that as a hint that this blog post is unnecessary – but I won’t.) Turns out that some of the things I thought were absolute necessities at one week old are just kind of frivolous and annoying to carry around. (I’m talking to you, q-tips and 17,000 toys.)
It seems like a lot more than it actually is, I swear! The bag was gifted to me by my mom and is a Kate Spade diaper bag. A similar one is found here. I love it because it doesn’t feel like a diaper bag, and allows me to be me, even while carrying around diapers and a snot sucker. It’s big, but it has a zipper so everything stays in place — and it fits under the stroller. Plus, anyone who knows me knows I’m thoroughly obsessed with Kate Spade.
Some people wonder how it works with my husband. Does he carry it? Is he okay with carrying a purse? The answer is no and yes. He doesn’t carry it because he’s not out and about with her alone too often, as we’re still breastfeeding. Would he/will he? Yep!
Now, onto the contents of the bag!
Keep it simple, loves. I just have diapers (I usually keep 5-7 in the bag), wipes, diaper rash cream, the changing pad, and doggie bags. Just make sure you pack the same brand that you use at home, particularly with diaper cream.
I have a love affair with the changing pad that came with my diaper bag. I’m sure most are like this, but you can roll/unroll it with one hand. Super convenient when you’re holding a fussy baby with the other hand.
Why doggie bags? Well, sometimes you’re at a friend’s house and don’t want to throw an unwrapped poopy diaper in their trash. Or, what’s become even more likely for me, is you are in a parking lot and think “I’ll just change her here in the car before we run in” – and you don’t have anywhere to throw the diaper. A doggie bag is made specifically to hold dog poop, so it can hold your child’s poop too. You’ll thank me someday.
This one is more “your mileage may vary”, but the bottom line is: you just need a few small things. No you don’t need to specifically bring Sophie the Giraffe, a board book, and rings, but bring what you think your kid will like. Don’t bring 17,000 toys like some people tell you to. It will just be more shit you have to dig through to get to your last diaper at the bottom of the bag. To be honest, at five months old Temen has only used a toy I’ve packed maybe once. I’ve never read to her outside of our home, but I bring it just in case.
If you’re just starting out – as in, have a newborn – don’t even worry about toys. Totally unnecessary.
Also, I need to vacuum my rug.
Here’s the thing: You are without a doubt going to be in Target minding your own business, drinking your Triple-Venti-Half Sweet-Non Fat-Caramel-Whatever, and your child is going to shit themselves something fierce. It might not happen the first week, or even the second or third, but it will happen. What else will happen? A lot of things, but for the sake of this paragraph in this blog post, I’ll tell you spit up will happen. No, it’s not as gross as the butt stuff, but it stinks and I bet is pretty uncomfortable for your baby to sit in. Plan ahead: Bring an extra set of clothes in your child’s size or a size up. If it’s cold outside, bring an extra pair of socks because babies are worse than the dryer when it comes to losing socks.
Remember to change the outfit you pack based on the season! You can go a solid month, two, or maybe even three without touching this outfit, which is why I also recommend you pack an outfit one size bigger than what your baby currently wears. A long sleeve onesie and pants should be good for winter/fall/spring — if it’s too hot, just don’t wear the pants.
The cool thing about breastfeeding is I don’t have to remember to pack my boobs before we leave. In that way, it makes things a lot easier. So while I do pack a nursing cover, a bib, and emergency formula, I don’t really use these items. The emergency formula I recommend even for breastfeeding moms just to cover your ass in case something goes wrong. The formula is pre-made, all you have to do is pop that nipple on and it’s good to go. This is a last resort for us, because I breastfeed AND have nearly 1000 ounces of saved breastmilk in our freezer. But, if anything were to happen to me and Ryan needed something in a pinch, it’s there. It’s the same reason I have three big bottles of pre-made formula in our kitchen.
I use the cover very rarely (but you can find the one I use here). I’m super pro-normalizing breastfeeding, so I have no issue nursing in public uncovered. I mainly use it in front of my in-laws or colleagues who I just prefer don’t know what color/shape/size my nipple is. Personal preference.
The bib I’ve never used because she normally has one in her carseat with her. My husband started using it in the mornings when he brings her to daycare so she doesn’t spit up on herself on the car ride there.
What used to be in here: A nipple shield. We used a shield for a while in the beginning, but no longer need one. Breastfeeding mom’s might still want one in their bag just in case.
Random Bits for Baby
An extra blanket because babies are gross, do gross things, and don’t have the decency to do the gross things in private. They’ll get theirs dirty, and you’ll want a backup.
The Target Baby Box has awesome samples that are great for the diaper bag. The last one I got had Water Wipes we loved, as well as baby laundry detergent. T doesn’t have any issues with our regular detergent, so thankfully we haven’t needed to get the baby kind. It also came with a travel size baby Dove body wash. Hello – yes. (See above about gross things babies do.) Yes, I have found myself in a public restroom needing to give my child a little sponge bath with this stuff. No, I have no shame. It also came with baby sunscreen, because Temen was a summer baby we did use this sparingly. It’s recommended that babies younger than six months use physical sun barriers rather than lotion sunscreens, but sometimes the circumstances called for both. Babies burn, and they burn fast.
Before I was even pregnant, I’d see Boogie Wipes in my boss’s car. So when Temen had her first cold and I found myself staring at the cold “medicines” in the baby aisle, I knew Boogie Wipes were a trusted product. Got them, used them, went back and got another pack the next day. They are great, and they smell like grapes. I only wish it was socially acceptable for me to use them myself. When babies get booger crusties, Boogie Wipes helps take care of them and keep their nose moist. I also highly recommend Boogie Mist, which is the saline mist we use. I keep meaning to get another bottle for the diaper bag!
We use the Nose Frida at home – as God intended – but in public I used the bulb. I rarely have to use it when we are out and about, but it’s good to know it’s there!
It sure does seem like everything is centered around the baby, doesn’t it? Crazy. You have needs too, and let me tell you what they are: a pen, lip products, breast pads, and cash.
A pen because, well, I’m not sure, but I always seem to need one for some reason or another.
Lip products because breastfeeding is dehydrating, and babies don’t like to be kissed by sand paper.
Breast pads because leaking is a normal, natural thing that will happen to you before your breastmilk is established. (Warning: That link has pics of nipples.) And even after it’s established, you might find yourself out and about and forget to pump, and your boobs can only hold so much milk. My favorite disposable breast pads can be found here and my favorite reusable ones here.
Cash because being a mom takes energy and food is energy. I usually keep a protein bar in our diaper bag, but while we were at the hospital with her last weekend we ate it. See? That’s why we had it. We were there for like eight hours with no food, so the protein bar came in handy! Basically, don’t forget about adult food. Either bring some, or bring cash to buy some.
And that’s it! Honestly, you could get away with even less if you wanted to. I’ve even just thrown a diaper and some wipes into a little pochette and thrown that into my main bag – somehow we all survived. I tend to overpack to put my mind at ease. (WHAT IF SHE GETS A BOOGER STUCK IN HER NOSE AND SHE CAN’T BREATH AND I DON’T HAVE THE BULB?!) But at five months, this is where we’re at. She hasn’t started solids or developed an attachment to any specific items yet, so I’m eager to see how this changes once that happens. I’ll be sure to let you know.