Diaper bags! These things are a vital part of your mum arsenal and a crappy or poorly packed diaper bag can turn a quick trip in to a total ordeal. Who needs a strap breaking in the middle of a supermarket, or a zip that won’t zip up? On the other hand a full-to-bursting bag can be just as frustrating, especially when you just need a wipe but you have to take everything out or dig through layers just to get to them. As a chronic over-packer it took me a while to learn what I actually did and didn’t need to carry with me.
I tried a couple of different bags after my Stokke one but I ended up returning them and sticking with my OG. I did feel a little bad trying other bags because this one was a generous gift from my Mum and I really wanted to get use out of it, I just wanted to make sure there wasn’t something that would work better for me. No fear there. The Stokke bag is well-made, a good size, gender neutral, and has stood up to 10 months of wear so far and it still looks new. When I was trialling another bag it just didn’t have all the nice little well-thought out details that the Stokke bag did like a double zip for the main compartment and an insulated pocket for a bottle. It’s a great size for a solid day trip, although if you’re packing for multiple children or and overnight trip then you may want something bigger. I am packing for a 10 month old boy who is currently on 3-4 solid meals/snacks a day and 2-3 milk feeds a day, breastfeeding only.
Here are my usual essentials that I can easily fit in on a day-to-day basis:
- Nappies (duh). I always have a minimum of three in the bag, usually 4
- Wipes – I use WaterWipes when I’m on the go
- Dry cloth – usually a little flannel to dry Harry’s bum after wet wiping
- Nappy rash cream – I use Bepanthen (Nappy Rash version) more as a precaution
- Wet bag
- Change of clothes x2 – usually a spare outfit and an emergency onesie
- Shoes if required
- Spare bib
- Toys (including one with wheels and a chewie like Sophie the Giraffe)
- Drink bottle – baby and mum
- Snacks – baby and mum
- Hat – either beanie or sunhat or both depending on the weather
- Change mat (comes as part of the bag)
- Hand sanitiser and wipes
- Mum pack – this is a little zip bag with panty liners, boob pads, safety pins, Panadol, hair ties, bobby pins, a tampon or two, and lip balm
- If the trip covers a meal time then I’ll bring that with me too in a small insulated bag.
- I can also fit a rolled blanket or muslin cloth/cloth nappy in too
It sounds like a lot but every single thing has come in handy at least once and I’ll always have this list as my standard kit.
Tips and Tricks
The following are things that I’ve picked up along the way:
- If you don’t have a proper travel container for your wipes and you just use them out of the resealable pack then pop the pack in a snap lock bag or a reusable wet bag. It will keep the wipes from drying out, especially when the silly sticky flap rips open.
- Roll things up and pack the inner pockets like a carton of sushi so you can see everything from the top. Having to dig through layers for what you want is a pain.
- Bags with optional backpack straps are awesome! They keep your hands free and help to balance the load across both shoulders. Nothing worse than a bag swinging round on a shoulder strap and smacking your wee one, especially when you’re trying to do a car seat transfer.
- A wet bag works wonders. It can be a fancy official ‘wet bag’ bag or just a plastic grocery bag (edit: these have just been banned in NZ). Whatever you have, as long as it stops any leaks from seeping through the rest of the bag then you’re good. I have a couple of reusable wet bags in my rotation, just make sure you remember to empty them! Nothing worse than finding a whole outfit that has been marinating for days…
- Antibacterial wipes may seem like overkill but hear me out on this, I’m not a parent who regularly douses their child’s hands in hand sanitizer to kill *germs*. In fact I’ve never even done this once! I do keep a small pack of these on hand though, just to wipe down cafe high chairs if we use one. The first one we ever used had been very poorly cleaned, there were still bits of old food and finger smears on the tray and chair! I was pretty wary of the stale table wipedown cloth being dragged across every table so at the time I used a squirt of hand sanitizer and some wet wipes to clean everything and I’ve kept a travel pack of sanitising wipes in the bag ever since.
If this list or any of the tips have helped you turn your nappy bag in to a Marie Kondo-worthy masterpiece of organisation then please let me know. I’ll add others if I can think of any more that are worth posting.