What to Pack in Your Diaper Bag – The Essentials

diaper-bagsAs a new parent, packing the diaper bag for the first time can seem like a daunting task, especially if you’ve never done it before. You may find yourself asking what to pack in your diaper bag? Do I need all of this stuff? Or, what is the bare minimum I can get away with bringing?

To ease those concerns, I have put together several lists of items that you may need. Everything from the essentials for everyday use, some extra things you may find yourself needing for baby, and packing for older children and your basic mommy essentials.

The Essentials for Baby

Packing the diaper bag isn’t as scary as it may seem at first. There are always the essentials you will likely need every time you leave the house.

Diapers – Try to have one diaper for every two hours you will be out of the house. I usually throw in a couple more just for good measure and the occasional blowout.

Wipes – For space-saving use a travel size container. If you don’t have one, you can put some wipes in a ziplock bag.

Bum Cream – This can be an ointment or just plain old Vaseline, depending on if your baby is prone to diaper rashes.

Change Pad – Most diaper bags come with their own change pad. But if you want to save room, you can purchase a thin foldable change pad or use disposable change pads. Make sure to pack the same amount of disposable pads as diapers.

Hand Sanitizer – For obvious reasons, this would be good to pack with your diapering things.

Food – This can be bottles and formula, expressed breast milk or snacks for older babies.

Receiving/Swaddling Blanket – I tend to have a blanket in the car seat with my little one to comfort her, but I also like to keep an extra in the diaper bag in case of spit ups or spills.

Burp Pads and/or Face Cloths – Depending on if your little one tends to spit up, you may want one or the other or both of these items in your bag. Pack as many burp clothes as feedings you have planned.

Change of Clothes – Keep at least one set of pyjamas, one weather-appropriate change of clothes and a few spare onesies.

Pacifiers – This is only if your little ones use a pacifier. You may want to have a couple on hand in case of drops.

Toys – Just a couple age-appropriate toys in addition to whatever you have strapped to the car seat in case baby gets bored and is in need of some new entertainment.

Wet-dry bagThese can be used for many things, some more common uses include; dirty diapers, dirty clothes, dropped pacifiers and dirty bottles.

Hat – Keep an extra seasonally appropriate hat in your bag.

Hand and Face Wipes – Regular baby wipes are not recommended to use for cleaning babies face and hands. Best to keep some hand and face wipes in your bag.

Extra Items for Baby

In addition to the essentials, you may also need the following depending on your outing. I tend to place these items in the bag on an as-needed basis.Teething Items

Teething Items – I keep all my teething items together at home in a large reusable snack bag. It’s easy for me to grab and shove in the diaper bag for when my little one is teething. To keep the teething items cold, you can place them in an insulated bag. Or if your diaper bag comes with an insulated bottle pocket, you can put them in there.

Medication – For the extra long trips, I like to pack some medicines I may need. The medication can include prescription medications, gripe water or some teething relief items.

Eating Out Kit – If your baby is eating solids, a few things you may want for eating out include utensils, folding silicone placemat, bib and washcloth.

Sunscreen – Depending on the age of your baby and the time of year, this may be an essential item in your bag. Babies under six (6) months of age should not wear sunscreen. Please contact your family physician before applying to babies under six (6) months.

Older Siblings

big-sisterNot only is the diaper bag for the baby, but the whole family can utilize it. You may want to have some items in there for older children as well.

Change of Clothes – Even the big kids have accidents occasionally, try to keep at least one set of season appropriate clothing for your older children.

Snacks – some easy snacks for on the go are granola bars, fruit snack and food pouches.

Entertainment – I like to keep some small items in my bag for my 4-year-old. I usually have some markers, a small colouring book and one small stuffy. Try to choose small things that can entertain your little one for a while.

Band-Aids – Some Band-Aids and Kids Polysporin is good to have on hand for any scrapes your kids may get.

Packing for Mommy

Most Diaper bags have a Mommy Pocket where you can store all of your Mommy essentials. But if that isn’t the case, you can put all of your essentials in a small clutch purse and throw it in the diaper bag whenever needed. I tend to keep my things to a bare minimum in the diaper bag to leave more room for baby things.House Keys

Here are just a few ideas to pack in the mommy pocket/clutch:

  • Wallet
  • Keys
  • Lip Chap
  • Hand Lotion
  • Hair ties
  • Feminine Hygiene products
  • Water Bottle
  • Sunglasses

Packing Tips

Pouch Packing – This is one of my favourite ways to pack a diaper bag and works best with diaper bags that have a large center pocket. I keep similar items group together in separate pouches. Some groupings include, but are not limited to; teething items, medications, feeding items, diapering things and changes of clothes.

Segregation by Pockets – Some diaper bags are better suited for using the many pockets instead of pouches. For those types of diaper bags, I like to separate the baby items from the older kids item by keeping them grouped on opposite sides of the bag. Use the side of the bag that is easiest to access for the baby item as you will likely use the most.



Diapering Kit

Diapering Kit – I like to keep all of my diapering essentials together in the diaper bag for convenience. I do that by using a medium-sized makeup bag to hold everything together. This includes the diapers, wipes, bum cream, disposable change pads, hand sanitizer and small plastic bags for diaper disposal.

Prepared Bottles – when on the go I keep the appropriate amount of water in the bottle and the right amount of formula measured out into a formula dispenser. That way I can mix the bottle as needed and give it to the baby. This works the best if your baby is used to room temperature bottles.

The Take-Away

Now that you have learned what to pack in a diaper bag, begin putting together the items you feel would suit your family the best. No matter your style of packing or the number of kids you have, there will always be some trial and error in the beginning. You will figure out what items work best for you and your family when it comes to packing the diaper bag. So play around and have fun!

If you have any other items you consider essential to diaper bag packing, drop me a note in the comments.

Please follow and like us:


  1. Nicole says:

    What a great checklist of items to pack!!! As a first time mum its always hard to know exactly what you need and you feel like you are packing for days away rather than a quick trip to the supermarket. Thanks for sharing your list, its really helpful.

    1. I’m glad to be of help!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *