Complete Baby Diaper Bag Checklist for Moms and Dads on the Go

I’ve been asked many times why I didn’t have a diaper bag checklist listed on this site. The question was nearly always from new moms or very pregnant soon-to-be mothers who didn’t know what to put in a diaper bag. Perhaps the reason that I had been avoiding making a list of what to pack in a diaper bag would be that what one mom wants to put in her baby's diaper bag is just excess baggage to another.




An example of one optional baby care item might be pacifiers. How could I add this to my diaper bag checklist when all babies don’t use them? Sure, one mother might feel the need to pack not only one pacifier, but three or four extras if their newborn will kick up a fuss or not go to sleep without a soother but should I have two separate lists of basics to pack in the baby bag to cover those who use them and those who have no need?

WHAT'S IN YOUR BABY'S DIAPER BAG?

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WHAT MODERN MOMS PUT IN THEIR DIAPER BAG

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Then you have the issue of what season of the year and the weather you are packing the diaper bag for. If it’s summer and you’re heading to the beach, do you really need a baby hat and cardigan on your baby diaper bag checklist? It would be much more likely that you will need sunscreen and toys for swimming at the pool or beach instead of coats and blankets.

To put it simply, I may have to put together a winter as well as a spring, summer or fall diaper bag checklist at some point. For the time being, here’s a list of the basics to pack in a baby diaper bag for short trips. My advice would be to copy and paste the list, delete the items that you don’t commonly use for your baby (example: baby bottles if you are breastfeeding) and print a copy of your personalized list and laminate your diaper bag checklist or at least put it in a plastic bag in one of the zipper compartments of your baby bag so that you will have it to use as a reference before leaving the the baby's nursery.

BASIC BABY DIAPER BAG CHECKLIST

  • Two complete outfits – If you are traveling in winter, include jackets and hats. The idea would be to pack two extra outfits that include each article of clothing baby wears away from the house.
  • It’s advisable to pack a hooded sweater or light jacket even in the warm months as nights can be cool.
  • Baby Blankets – Heavy in winter, lightweight flannel for warm weather
  • Baby bottles – If you are breastfeeding, you might think this one is a no-brainer but baby might want a drink of water in addition to breast milk
  • Baby formula – unless you are breastfeeding
  • Baby snack crackers
  • Baby food
  • Spoons
  • Leak free sippy cups
  • Cloth or paper towels – If you choose paper towels, peel them off the roll and fold them flat to save room
  • Travel pack of baby wipes
  • Plastic Ziploc freezer bags – The larger the better and bring extras. You can fold them flat or roll them up and secure them with a rubber band; whichever works the best for you
  • Changing pads if one was not included with your diaper bag
  • Diaper creams and ointments
  • Pacifiers or teethers
  • Baby’s favorite toys and lovies

HOW MANY DIAPERS DO I PACK?
Determine how long you plan to be away from home and think how many times you normally change baby’s diaper within a similar time frame. Add at least half again that many diapers to your stash so that you will be prepared for a worst case scenario. It’s much better to have to lug too many diapers than be caught lacking.

HOW MUCH FORMULA AND BABY FOOD SHOULD I PACK?
That would depend on how long you plan to be away from home. I would only take unopened jars of food and no more formula than I could keep chilled. I would not mix the powdered formula with water until I needed it. Breastfeeding mothers have every reason in the world to gloat when traveling with their babies. They give new meaning to the term “traveling light”.

SHOULD MEDICINE BE ON MY DIAPER BAG CHECKLIST?
If your baby is taking prescription medication, I would always pack it in the baby diaper bag in case of emergency. My baby has allergies, so I personally carry her antihistamines in case of an allergic reaction or if (God forbid) she gets stung by an insect but you should consult with your pediatrician to see if there is a need for you to have any kind of over the counter or prescription medication in your travel bag.

PACK A DELIGHTFUL SURPRISE
It’s good to have a few of your baby’s favorite toys on hand for entertainment. When babies are in a strange place, it’s reassuring for them to see a friendly face from home. A familiar toy may do the trick, but if baby is having a real meltdown at an inopportune moment, mommy may need something high-powered to calm the waters. For this reason, I recommend that you tuck a very special surprise gift in your diaper bag to be used only in emergencies. Something new and exciting that baby has never laid eyes on might buy some time and get you through a temper tantrum when nothing else will.

TIPS AND TECHNIQUES FOR KEEPING BABY’S DIAPER BAG CHECKLIST SHORT AND SIMPLE
I keep a large baby bag packed with the basic necessities at all times so that it’s not such a hassle to gather the baby’s stuff that I have on my baby diaper bag checklist if I’m in a hurry. The rest of the time, I use a small diaper bag or a mini for short hops to the local store.

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