11 Diaper Bag Essentials for New Moms

Diaper bag essentials for a mom and baby on the go. Make daily adventures anxiety free when you’re prepared for every need.

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In the early months, I kept a checklist written on an index card by the door with everything I might need while out (diapers, wipes, swaddle, change of clothes, soothie pacifiers, pacifier wipes, nursing cover, toy). This came about after leaving the house on multiple occasions without one of the above items. Mostly because with a newborn, everything was constantly needing to be washed or replenished. I also blame mommy brain, but that’s another post.

By the time Baby was eight months old, the diaper bag pretty much just sat by the door, ready to go whenever we were. I learned that on most excursions, the only things that really made it out of the bag were my keys, wallet, and iPhone. This made replenishment a monthly activity instead of a daily one. Still, the bag was always stocked and ready for whatever we may need. I like having a safety net. Here is what’s inside:

1. Diapers

I keep a regular stash (4-5) in the main outside pocket and a couple emergency backups in an inside pocket. This may be overkill, but we were at the airport in Orlando when a Southwest employee asked if we had a spare diaper. A mom and baby’s plane was very delayed and they had run out. They were finally about to take off, but the situation was desperate and they only needed one to get them home. He was willing to buy it from me. Happy to help out another mama, I handed him three (for free). Ever since, I’ve kept extras in the bag.

2. Wipes

The Huggies natural care baby wipes travel case is the best. The wipes stay wet, and I can fit a lot of them inside. It’s lighter than carrying around an individual pack of wipes, and cheaper than buying packages of travel wipes. I love the case, but I refill it with Pampers sensitive wipes
because the Huggies ones always ripped on me when I tried to pull them out,

3. Hat for Baby

In the winter it was his adorable fleece monkey hat that covered his ears. Now that it’s warmer, Baby has a sun hat with a wide brim to protect his head and fair skin from burning. Both hats velcro under Baby’s chin to keep them on. Year round, I often keep a light cotton hat inside. It’s light as a feather and was great for inbetween days (Kansas weather is always changing).

4. Spare Outfit

In the winter it was always a Carter’s Sleep & Play because they were easy to put on and take off. Then it was a onesie and pants, and now it’s a cotton romper. There are also always one or two pairs of socks hanging out in the bottom of the bag or in an outside pocket.

5. Burp Cloth

We used the aden + anais Burpy Bibs when Baby was a newborn and constantly spitting up (they stayed on my shoulder the best). Now these bibs are my favorite for feeding Baby in his highchair, and I keep a trusty cloth diaper in the diaper bag instead. It makes for a great burp cloth, and has come in handy as a small yet super absorbent towel on multiple occasions.

6. Muslin Swaddle Blanket

We haven’t swaddled Baby for months, but this blanket still came in handy for so many things, such as blocking the sun, a little extra warmth, covering a cold doctor’s table, an emergency burp cloth, or protecting baby from a questionably clean floor. Ours are by aden + anais, but I’ve seen some other brands making them in the last few months, too (with some really cute prints).

7. Hand & Face Wipes

I love Johnson’s Hand and Face Wipes because they smell great and are really gentle. They kill 95% of germs, so I keep them in the diaper bag to clean table surfaces, carts, or other objects that Baby would inevitably put in his mouth. They are also safe for infants, whereas the fine print on Wet Ones (what I originally planned to use), says that they are not for kids under the age of two.

8. Toys

Baby loves Sophie the Giraffe, especially when he’s teething. I keep her in the diaper bag because she squeaks, and our dog will destroy her if she’s left out at home. I keep one or two more toys in the bag, rotating them occasionally to keep it fun for Baby. We have a couple more “car seat toys” that live in the car (a blankie and a Kids Preferred The World of Eric Carle: The Very Hungry Caterpillar Ring Rattle).

9. Nursing Cover

I have a black and white cover that was hand-me-down from my sister. Sometimes it works, and sometimes Baby plays with it or pulls it off altogether. On those days, I try to find an empty room to nurse in or head out to the car. If my husband is out with us, he’ll sit next to me and help by holding the cover up a little so it’s not touching Baby, making it less of a distraction. The cover used to live in it’s own little pouch, but it was time consuming to get it out and put it back, so now I just stuff it inside the main compartment.

10. Gallon Size Ziplock Bags

I keep a couple rolled up in the bottom of the bag. Light as a feather, they don’t take up any room and are great to have on hand for dirty clothes, trash, leftovers, etc.

11. Mom’s Essentials

The outside zipper compartment is where I keep what I would previously have put in my dearly departed purse: wallet, iPhone, keys, gum, and snacks (usually a ziplock of almonds & a couple Luna bars.) I also keep an Honest Company lip balm, Purel, Clinique chubby sticks, hair ties, a mini brush, ibuprofen, travel contact solution, a nail file, baby nose spray, and baby nail clippers in a makeup pouch inside the main compartment.

Side note: I love using my Vera Bradley All in One Crossbody as my wallet. It has a pocket for my phone and interchangeable wrist and shoulder straps. If I’m heading into a small store or on a quick errand, I’ll leave the diaper bag in the car, carry Baby in his Ergobaby carrier, put my keys in the Ergo’s zipper pocket, and carry this wallet on my wrist (the Ergo lives in my car on the floor under Baby’s car seat). So easy!

The list may look long, but it all fits. Once the bag was stocked, everything was easily accessible for whenever I might need it. It made heading out the door a breeze and greatly lowered my anxiety about leaving the house with Baby by myself. Now, instead of worrying about having what we need for anything that could happen, I grab the diaper bag and go.

What are your diaper bag essentials? How has the list changed as your baby has grown?


8 thoughts on “11 Diaper Bag Essentials for New Moms

  1. Jenna

    I like to have a few plastic bags from Target or another grocrey store so when I’m out and about and there is no trash can, I have a bag for dirty diapers. I will definitely need to buy those hand and face wipes though! Good call.

  2. Mommy A to Z

    This is such a great list! Thanks for linking up at the Manic Mondays blog hop! This week’s hop is live at: http://mommyatozblog.com/2014/06/29/join-the-manic-mondays-blog-hop-2/. Hope to see you there!
    Mommy A to Z recently posted…Join the Manic Mondays Blog Hop!My Profile

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