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What’s in my diaper bag? The necessities and the unnecessary, as told by an experienced mom of three little ones.
So much has changed since I first became a mom. I remember so vividly how overwhelmed I felt when we first brought G home from the hospital. I had younger siblings and cousins, and I’d even cared for infants as part of my brief job as a daycare worker. But then we got home and it was just the three of us and the vastness of all the things I didn’t know.
I feel like I’ve come a long way in nearly six years. Baby number three, Q, is nearly four months old and, while I can’t say I’ve completely stopped texting my mom questions and consulting Dr. Google, I feel much more confident in my parenting than I did back then.
One of the dozens of things that has changed since G was born is my diaper bag packing skills. When he was a baby, I would fill a huge bag with all the “essentials”: a ton of diapers, several outfits, and way too many burp cloths and bibs. I also left out several items that would have been useful to have.
So what’s in my diaper bag now that I’m a more seasoned mom? Let’s take a look.
What’s in My Diaper Bag
The biggest mistake I made when packing G’s diaper bag was filling it with stuff for him- more stuff than he’d ever need in one outing- and nothing for me. Now, when I pack Q’s bag, I focus on both of us.
Basically, baby just needs food and a clean diaper. I toss in a clean outfit or two, but mostly everything other than food and diapers is inessential. I pack one diaper for every hour or two we plan to be away from home, plus wipes and a changing pad. Unless we’re in the middle of fighting a rash, I leave the creams and powders at home. They just take up precious space in the diaper bag and I don’t need them. Same goes for extra clothes; one outfit is all you need, unless your little one is known for spitting up or blowing out.
I exclusively pump for Q, so I have to pack bottles and pumped breast milk. Finding bottles that worked for her was a little tricky this time around; she didn’t care for the two expensive brands we used for G and B. We ended up discovering that she prefers more affordable options, like these Playtex Baby™ VentAire® bottles (how fitting is it that my infant daughter is as frugal as I am? Do you think she knows that 3-packs of Playtex Nurser 8 oz., VentAire 9 oz., and VentAire Color sat Walmart have a $3 off coupon on them?)
We’re enjoying these bottles for a few reasons. Some of the reasons are obvious, like the way the Anti-Colic Bottom Vent soothes Q’s tummy troubles, or the way the angled design promotes semi-upright feeding, which I just learned is supposed to help prevent ear infections (yes, please!). We also like them because the wide mouth makes it so easy to pour in breast milk or scoop in formula. That same wide opening makes the whole thing a breeze to clean, so much more so than some of those other bottles that seem to have a gazillion different parts.
With Playtex Baby VentAire bottles, we’re using The Most Like Mom® NaturaLatch® Nipples. Q has trouble with nipples that have too fast of a flow, so I love that these come in varying speeds. We can even buy nipples with a faster flow as she gets older and use them with the bottles we already have.
I also pack the other basic feeding essentials, like a bib and a burp cloth. We’re lucky in that Q doesn’t spit up much, but only you know what you need at each feeding.
With G, I so often neglected to pack anything for myself. Now, there are a couple things I make sure to keep stocked in the diaper bag.
The most important thing is a snack (or two or three). I seem to get hungry so quickly when I’m pumping or nursing; having something quick to eat, like a bar, works wonders in taking the edge off my hunger until mealtime. I also don’t leave home without hand sanitizer, for obvious reasons, or lip balm, because I’m obsessed.
A couple other random items I sometimes pack for myself: a T-shirt if baby is in a vomiting phase; my wallet, allowing me to leave my purse at home; sanitary pads, in the first few weeks after baby was born.
If You Must
If your inner girl scout just won’t allow you to leave home without everything you might possibly need, here are a few more items you might consider tossing in: a wet bag or a couple plastic grocery bags, for baby’s soiled clothes; a few singles or some spare change; back up bibs, burp clothes, and blankets; toys or loveys, especially if you might be waiting somewhere.
When I first became a Mom, there were times the thought of packing the entire diaper bag was overwhelming. I was so worried I’d forget something essential and our outing would be ruined. And sometimes I did forget stuff- I’m still forgetting stuff- but it was never that big a deal. One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned since then is that what baby needs most is you; sure, she needs a few other things, too, but you shouldn’t let that anxiety keep you from getting out of the house to show off your adorable kiddo.
What’s in your diaper bag?