How to pack your diaper bag

As a new momma, one of my most researched to-dos was how to pack a diaper bag. Silly, right? Do you know how nervous I was about trying to pack? What if I forgot something?

Thankfully, once I had my son I realized that if I kept a simple checklist of items to remember before leaving the house, I’d be fine. It’s funny how easily we can get overwhelmed when in reality, it’s simple. Especially with a newborn! Typically, you’re not traveling around that much and when you do, you only need the essentials. I think about all of the stuff I packed and how crazy I feel about it all when I look back.

How many baby beanie hats did I really need? Nail clippers? I doubt his nails would grow back that quickly after one trip into town. Toys? He mainly slept, so he certainly wasn’t playing with anything major.

I heard a commercial one time where they recommended people recite, “Phone, wallet, keys, gum” – or something to that affect. I have a modified version of that. I’ve included my simple lists below, hopefully it helps you feel as prepared as it helps me!

In my diaper bag:

  • Essentials: Diapers, wipes, formula (pre-measured in a container like this, or a small can), bottles (pre-filled with water), and a pacifier
    • PRO TIP: I keep diapers and wipes in their own separate bag; when I change his diaper, it’s ten times easier to just grab that bag instead of the whole diaper bag!
  • Optional: 1 or 2 toys, typically noisemakers to keep his attention (something easy to clean), extra water bottle, extra outfits
  • For momma: Small bag with wallet, keys, hand sanitizer, phone in a pocket that’s easy to access

In my car: 

  • Extra diapers and an extra package of wipes (consider keeping wipes in a thermal tote so they don’t get too hot or dried out).
  • Change of clothes for baby and mom
  • Plastic bags (in case you have to change a diaper in your car – this will help to conceal any odors and it will make it harder to forget diapers or dirty clothes in your car. BONUS: I clean my car out weekly and use shopping bags to make it easier – a bag for things to bring inside, a bag for things that need to be trashed. 10 minutes later, your car is *somewhat* presentable again!)
  • If you’re going on an extended trip, consider getting a small can of formula (if you use formula) or an extra small container in your diaper bag; don’t leave it in the car in case it gets too warm.
  • I love my highchair/shopping cart cover. Not totally necessary, but a fun, extra item to have as I can attach toys to it.
  • One thing I like to recommend is a bag or car organizer, if you have the room, that holds essentials people always regret leaving at home. A small car kit (jumper cables), an umbrella, a sweater, an extra pair of sunnies in case you forget yours at home (I can’t live without my sunnies!), dry shampoo, plastic bags/reusable shopping bags, and anything else you think might come in handy.

That’s it! Here’s the thing mommas: don’t overthink it. You don’t need a $1,000 diaper bag – if you have one, great! But don’t stress if you don’t have a million pockets or something your life coach recommended. You don’t need 20 billion diapers, fancy wipe warmers or super expensive gadgets. Keep it simple. For me, it’s as simple as BFDW: Bottles, formula, diapers, wipes.

If you have anything I’ve missed on your list of essentials, drop me a line below! I’d love to hear about your packing skills! (List of products recommended below.)

Recommended products:
Formula container
My favorite pacifier
The best organizing bags
Car organizer (A cute, structured bin will also work, even one that folds flat!)
Highchair/shopping cart cover (There are so many options, so have fun with this one!)
Diaper bag – functional and fun (never a bad idea to have a back-up)

(If you’re building a registry, I highly recommend items like the ones above! Also check out my list of new mom essentials – what to buy and what to avoid!)

As always – trust your instincts and have fun!

Let’s be besties & connect!
Kelly Strausbaugh
Let’s be Besties blog
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