Even though it's only been about four years since I had my first son, it's a little difficult to remember what it was like before his arrival. I'm so in "mom-mode" 24/7 that I honestly can barely remember life as a non-mom. But one thing I do remember is panicking before our first few outings, positive that I would forget to put something super essential in his diaper bag.
It can be a lot of pressure to get out of the house with every single thing you might possibly need, no matter the circumstance that may happen to arise - I mean, what if you forget something you really, really NEED?!?
Well mamas, I have good news for you: babies aren't near as complicated as you may have been led to believe. As a mama of two, I can tell you that my personal diaper bag "essentials" have gone down in number over the years. So today, I'm going to share what I truly consider to be non-negotiable items that you should have in your diaper bag at all times. As long as you've got these things covered, you'll be just fine - promise.
- Extra Diapers & Wipes
Number one most important thing that you should double and triple check for before you leave the house, absolutely. And when I say extra, I mean several extra. You will be amazed at how often you will be changing diapers, especially in the first few months. If your wipes are getting low - throw in another pack. There is no way to predict a blow out diaper, and if you're low on wipes when one happens to occur, you will live to regret it.
- Change of Clothes
At least one full change of clothes is a must, so have an extra onesie, pants, and socks at a minimum. The amount of extra clothing depends on the baby. With my first born, I always had three or four extra changes in his bag because he was the king of blowout diapers - something I'm sure he will love that I shared with the internet in his older years. With my second, I just make sure I've got one, and to be honest he usually grows out of them before they get used. You'll know within a couple of weeks what kind of baby you've got, promise (and good luck to you if you've got the first kind I mentioned).
Oh, the horror of being stuck somewhere without a pacifier. Again, this depends on the baby, but I would say it's a safe bet that most babies will want the comfort of a paci when they're out and about in their early days. They have cute little pacifier carrying cases to keep them nice and clean, but a ziplock baggy should do the trick as well.
- Hand Sanitizer/Wipes
Especially as a first time mom, you are likely going to be obsessed with germs for awhile. I sanitized everything that came near my first born for probably his first year of life. It's amazing how disgusting everything you touch becomes when you think about then touching your sweet, innocent little baby. Stay stocked up here for your own sanity.
- Diaper Rash Cream
You never know when a diaper rash is going to pop up. I swear, one diaper change things look perfect, then the next you're dealing with a sad looking little rash. Even though my boys haven't really had many diaper rash issues, I always keep this on hand. My favorite is Dr. Smith's Diaper Rash Ointment. Within a diaper change or two this stuff has always cleared up any redness we've had going on.
- Changing Pad
Nothing's worse than being out in public, about to use the diaper changing station in a public restroom and realizing you don't have a changing pad. This has happened to me, and laying your baby down without a layer of cleanliness between them and the table is not ideal. I've actually gone so far as to line the table with paper towels, but obviously that didn't work so well. So keep a changing pad in your bag at all times - it's even a good idea to have an extra for when you wash your everyday one, just in case.
While this may be obvious in the winter months, I like to keep at least a thin receiving blanket or muslin swaddle blanket in our bags even throughout the summer. On windy days it's nice to have something to cover baby up, and you never know when you'll be somewhere with AC that is just a little too cold.
For the first couple of months your little one will likely sleep through most outings, but once they come out of their newborn cocoon they will begin to demand entertainment. There are so many great toys out there that attach to carseats so you don't have to worry about them falling onto dirty floors or out of their reach in the car. I always keep a couple extras in the diaper bag as well.
- Snacks & Sippy Cups
This won't be necessary for a few months, but once your baby is snacking and sipping on water, you will need to be ready at all times. Hangry babies and toddlers are zero fun, so keep a bag of healthy snacks with you during every outing, no matter how brief, to be on the safe side.
There you have it! There are maybe a million other things that you can include in your diaper bag, but to save space (and your shoulders because diaper bags get heavy!) these basic items will get you through just about any situation that should come up. You've got this, mamas!