Diaper Bag Essentials

Fun story: my son caught his first cold the other day. He got it from my husband and I, and he woke up with a runny nose and a cough. I kept an eye on him that morning and he seemed to get worse as the day went on. By noon his eyes were glassy and he seemed pretty miserable. I called the pediatrician and the nurse said he had an opening right then if we could come into the office right away. So I quickly loaded my son into the car and sped off to the doctor, only to wait an hour and a half. And what’s worse than waiting forever at the doctor with a sick baby?

Waiting without a diaper.

In my haste to get out the door, I hadn’t checked the diaper bag and didn’t realize we were out of diapers. The doctor was kind enough to get me one so I could change William, but I didn’t exactly feel like the mother of the year.

When you have a baby, things that may have sounded simple to you before can become overwhelming.  Once my son was old enough for me to take him out, like to a restaurant or running errands, or even to his grandparents’ house, I had to figure out what to pack in the diaper bag. Again, it sounds simple, but I was so nervous about possibly being stuck out in public with my baby and not having what I needed. But as time went on, I got more confident and learned what I needed to bring with us, as well as what really wasn’t necessary. (Although, as my story reveals, you still forget things from time to time.)

As your baby grows, his needs will change. Every baby’s needs are different, but below is a list of what I packed in our son’s diaper bag when he was a newborn and then as he got older. Keep in mind, I didn’t always have all of these things all the time, but this is a good place to start:

Birth to 3 months:

  • diapers
  • wipes in a wipe case (this is something I thought would be a waste of money but it’s great – it allows you to carry a few wipes instead of throwing a whole package in your diaper bag, and it has a handy little dispenser that make changes on the go easier. Plus, it’s cute.)
  • extra onesie in case of a blow-out or massive spit-up/extra warm clothes if it’s cold outside
  • bottle or nursing cover
  • burp rags
  • blanket (for warmth if it’s chilly outside or if you’re going somewhere indoors that is kept cool; also handy if you are a breastfeeding mom and need to feed your baby in public)
  • extra socks/mittens
  • extra pacifiers and/or pacifier clip (they are always dropping those suckers)
  • diaper cream if your baby is prone to rashes
  • changing pad (my diaper bag came with one but they can be purchased separately)
  • toward the end of this period, maybe one rattling toy or soft comfort item, although William didn’t show much interest in those things at this age
  • hand sanitizer
  • plastic bags for disposable diapers or wet bag for cloth diapers
  • Mommy stuff: mints, medicine, lip balm

3 to 6 months:

  • all of the above, plus:
  • teethers (depending on when your baby starts teething)
  • bib
  • board book (I’ve found that it’s handy for keeping him entertained at a restaurant or the doctor’s office.

6 to 12 months:

  • all of the above, plus:
  • cover for shopping carts/high chairs
  • sippy cup
  • snacks
  • baby food pouch and spoon (The pouches don’t need refrigeration until opened and you don’t need to worry about them breaking. I keep one handy in case I’m stuck out of the house or forget to bring some food with me when I drop the baby off somewhere.)

Good luck, mamas!

What are your diaper bag must haves?

Emma is mommy to one-year-old William and wife to Bill. She was born and bred in Baton Rouge, attending Episcopal High School, the Manship School of Mass Communication at LSU and the LSU Law Center. Married since 2010, she is loving her new life as a mother. She is an attorney but has limited her practice for now so she can stay home with William full-time, and she feels so fortunate to be able to do that. She is learning as she goes, rejoicing in every milestone and happy moment as well as working her way through the challenges that come with parenting. When she gets a chance, she loves reading, writing, and watching movies. She and Bill are both lucky enough to have their families close by and love spending time with them. She looks forward to seeing her little boy grow and eventually expanding her family. Motherhood has been the most fulfilling role of her life.


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