Leave the kitchen sink and stick to these essentials

Quick notes

  • You’ll need enough diapers to cover changing your baby once every two hours

  • Make sure you check the sizing of your baby’s clothes so you aren’t caught in a pinch with a newborn onesie when your baby is ten months old

  • You can typically find smaller travel sizes that can reduce the weight of your diaper bag

The thought of leaving the house for a new mom on the go can be overwhelming. While you might think you need to pack up the entire nursery for a walk around the block, chances are, you don’t. Rest easier, knowing that for most outings, your baby doesn’t actually need the carry-on size bag you’re thinking of purchasing.

Here’s a round-up of the unnecessary things you’ll never use as well as the essential diaper bag items you need no matter what.

Diaper bag essentials: Items you need no matter what

A diaper bag is called a diaper bag for a reason. Its main purpose is to hold diapers and everything that goes along with changing a tiny little human. At the most basic level, you’ll need enough diapers to cover changing your baby once every two hours. You should throw in an extra diaper or two for the inevitable blow out as well.

If you’re going to be gone for two hours, that means you’ll likely only need two diapers. If you’re a person who won’t remember to re-stock every day, then keep a larger supply in there so you don’t have to refill them as often.

Diaper changing accessories

You’ll also always need a travel wipes container, hand sanitizer, diaper rash cream, and a couple of waste bags to store soiled clothes and dirty diapers. You should also include a changing pad so you can change your baby on the go.

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Extra clothing

Next up, you’ll always want to pack extra clothes. Spit ups, diaper explosions, or feeding messes will happen to everyone. A burp cloth is also good to have to clean up spit up or drool while you’re on the go.

Feeding essentials

If you’re nursing, you may want to store your nursing cover in your diaper bag. If you’re pumping or using formula, make sure to include bottles, pump parts, and formula. Many diaper bags come with insulated areas to help keep bottles cool for shorter trips so you don’t need to pack additional ice.

If your baby is eating solid foods, pack easy to eat snacks, pouches, or fruit that doesn’t need to be refrigerated. Crackers, teething biscuits, pouches, and bananas are all great snacks for new eaters. Throw a spoon and a dip in there if you need to as well. Older babies and toddlers may also need a cup for water as well.

Weather accessories

The last thing you shouldn’t leave home without are some accessories for the weather. If it’s cold out, pack hats, gloves, and any winter ware your kiddo may need. If it’s warm out, pack sunscreen and a sun hat to keep them protected.

What you don’t need: Weed out the unnecessary

If you’re sticking to only the essentials, you don’t need a full 200 count wipe container, a full-size hand sanitizer, or a full-size diaper rash cream, and a large bottle of sunscreen. You can typically find smaller travel sizes that can reduce the weight of your diaper bag.

In terms of quantities, stick to one or two toys, bandaids, teethers, pacifiers, and extra clothes. Your baby likely won’t lose four pacifiers at one lunch and won’t need their entire toy chest for the drive to the grocery store. If you stick to the rule of just what you need and one or two extras, you’ll be plenty prepared and won’t need to wear a back brace to support the weight of your diaper bag.

When it comes to yourself, pack only your essentials as well. Your keys, your wallet, sunglasses, and your cell phone are probably all you need but if you have any must-haves from your purse, throw those in as well. Just keep in mind that you probably don’t need a hairbrush, compact, and cell phone charger for a walk to the park.

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