As a postpartum doula, I’ve helped many moms put together their diaper bags. I let them know what they need and don’t need when they’re on the go with baby. It’s helpful to know what to pack in your diaper bag because you don’t need to pack everything and the kitchen sink in your diaper bag—your shoulders and back will hate you—but you also don’t want to forget something that will make your life easier.
There are tons of lists out there that you can find, but I’m sharing my knowledge as an experienced postpartum doula on what you really need when you are out of the house with your baby. As I’m preparing for my baby boy and my own diaper bag, here are my recommendations for what to pack in your diaper bag.
And if you want a list to help you pack your diaper bag, at the end of this article, there is a checklist you can download!
What to Pack In Your Diaper Bag
1. A Diaper Bag
Obviously . . . Pick a diaper bag or an insert that you think will be good for you and your baby. I personally love the ToteSavvy because I can continue to wear my purses that I love and easily transform them into a diaper bag. Also, it’s nice that I just have to lift out the insert full of my baby’s items and can easily and quickly transform another purse into my diaper bag. I’m then not just limited to one bag and one look!
2. Changing Pad
Diaper changes happen even when you’re on the go. Unfortunately, you won’t always be able to find a changing table (unfortunately), and even if you do, it’s nice to have a spot you know is clean to place your baby and change their diaper. That’s why having a changing pad is great to have. Luckily a changing pad is folded up and included in the center of the ToteSavvy, so I didn’t have to worry about purchasing one.
I mean, it is called a diaper bag after all . . . You need to have diapers with you because babies always need a new diaper when you least expect it. Isn’t that always how it works? It’s better to be prepared. I usually recommend having 5 or 6 on hand. This also varies depending on how long you will be out with baby.
Those cute tushies don’t wipe themselves! In my bag, I don’t just pack the travel-size wipes. I bring the big 72 count of baby wipes with me. They are great for cleaning spit-ups and wiping baby’s face, sticky hands, and dirty bum. You don’t have to have a large pack with you, but I know I would forget to refill and be stuck somewhere low on wipes if I didn’t pack a larger stash.
5. Diaper Cream & Sunscreen
We must protect our baby’s delicate skin. Preventing diaper rash and irritation is important and that’s why I love the all-purpose balm from Honest. It’s also great for cuts and scratches. The thinkbaby sunscreen is excellent if you know you will be out in the hot sun. I make sure that I choose the safest products for babies.
6. Wet Bag
Wet bags aren’t just for moms that are cloth diapering. Honestly, wet bags are great to have for multiple purposes. For example, if you are in a place where you can’t throw out a dirty diaper (like at a doctor’s office) or if your kid maybe gets super messy and his clothes get dirty—e.g., throwing up, diaper blowout, wet his pants, playing with something dirty, etc. You can put that dirty diaper and dirty clothes in the wet bag and it won’t touch the rest of your belongings in your purse. It also can help keep the smells at bay. This is the wet bag that we have from SkipHop. It also has two handy sections to keep wet and dry clothes separate.
7. Hand Sanitizer
Things get messy and sticky when you have a child. I like to keep the germs away and use this spray hand sanitizer to keep me and my baby clean. We don’t want baby to get sick! I like this spray because it doesn’t dry out my hands or feel slimy like some other brands.
I love a good swaddle blanket. You can use them in many different ways, too, and that’s why I always like to have one with me in my diaper bag like this one. So great for soothing babies and keeping them comfortable.
Babies can get fussy and make a lot of noise. If you’re going somewhere where there will be many people, and you need your little one to be calm and quiet, a pacifier is something you have to have. I have my BIBS Pacifiers ready to go! It’s the cleaner pacifier.
10. Boob or Bottle
I plan on breastfeeding my baby, so thankfully, I’ll always have a boob ready. 😉 But if I need to pump or combination feed or supplement and give formula to my son, I will need to bring a bottle with me. I like this glass bottle from Life Factory.
11. Burp Cloth/ Bib
When bottle-feeding or breastfeeding your baby, you need to wipe that sweet face off with something during and after their feedings. That’s why I bring at least one burp cloth/bib with me. This particular one that I have is really helpful when burping a baby. Spit-up happens! More may come up while burping than you may expect too. A bib that I love is the burpy bib from Aden + Anais. They are large, thick, yet soft, and even have snaps on them, so you can not only use it over the shoulder, but you can also snap it around baby’s neck during bottle feedings or spoon feedings as he gets older.
12. Nursing Pads
Thankfully Bamboobies don’t leak, but if you forget to bring a fresh pair, I will have an extra set in your bag. Again, I’m planning on breastfeeding my little one, and Bamboobies nursing pads are what I plan on wearing to keep myself comfortable and dry. Also, they are reusable and the softest nursing pads I’ve found. The last thing I want is leakage coming through my shirt! So embarrassing.
13. Breastfeeding Cover
If you feel comfortable breastfeeding anywhere and whipping out your boob, good for you! I’m a bit more modest, so I will probably feel more comfortable wearing a nursing cover, especially when I’m getting the hang of breastfeeding my son. This breastfeeding cover from Covered Goods is excellent because you can use it as a nursing cover, but you can also use it as a car seat cover and a high chair or grocery cart chair cover. I’m a fan and have written about them before here.
14. Extra Outfit
If baby has a blowout or pees through their diaper, you will need to have an extra outfit with you. If it’s a longer outing, bring two just in case. I love a nice kimono onesie. It’s the perfect thing for my newborn baby. 🙂 So soft, stylish, and easy to take on and off. Two thumbs up!
15. Baby Wrap
I am a major babywearing fan! As a new parent, keeping that baby close to you and having your hands free is everything! For my newborn baby, I have this Active Baby Carrier from Baby K’tan. It’s in the side compartment of my ToteSavvy and ready to go when I need to wear him. Also, I love that it’s small and compact to fit in my bag and that the sash converts into this travel bag to keep everything together.
16. Toy and/or Teether
Your newborn baby won’t necessarily need a toy to play with or a teether to chew on this early in their life, but I like to have a few things that can be used as a distraction. Distractions are always good. And these will help! Different textures and sounds are great, like this soft toy/rattle from Jelly Cats. This teether from Baby Banana is also awesome! You know that it’s super safe for your little one to teethe on as an infant and as they get older.
That’s my packing list for what to pack in your diaper bag for your newborn baby! It may sound like a lot, but you will be so grateful that you have them.
And here’s our diaper bag checklist so you can know exactly what to pack in your diaper bag!