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Dad’s Guide to Packing a Diaper Bag
Get a Decent Bag!
Packing a diaper bag is not the most natural act for a father. If you're one of those super organized men who already knows a binky from a onesie, this article is not for you. However, if you're a regular dad you'll find these tips useful for getting baby out the door with all the supplies you need to handle meltdowns and blowouts.
Before we go over what actually needs to be in the bag, let's talk about process. That's right, there's a right way and a wrong way to go about carting all this crap around. Say you have a doctor's appointment at 10:am. You get up at six and figure there's plenty of time. You feed the baby, burp the baby, change the baby, settling him up in the swing and take care of some personal grooming. Then you have something to eat and get dressed, wondering all the time what's so difficult about taking care of a baby.
You're just about to pack up to go to the doctor when the baby, calm to this point, starts wailing. After another round of feeding, burping, changing and settling, you notice it's five to ten. In a mad dash of keys, wallet, baby, diaper bag, you're in the car. No problem. You make it in the nick of time.
At the doctor, the first thing the nurse does is remove baby's diaper to weigh him. You reach into the bag and guess what? No diaper! What? It's a diaper bag. Where's the diaper? Baby's so excited, he spits up. "Do you want to change him?" the nurse asks. And you do, except that when you reach into the bag, there's no onesie.
Baby's sort of freaking out now and you could really use one of those pacifier things to keep him quiet. You reach into the bag one last time, not at all confident. You forage through all the compartments this time. Oh wait - what's that? You feel what could be a diaper. And it is - a dirty one.
Sound familiar? If you follow the process, this never has to happen again.
When you have a baby, there's simply too much going on in your head to remember anything. You need to set yourself up for success by automating the process. The first step is to create a checklist. Then you need to make it a habit to consult the list every time you bring the bag into the house and every time you leave the house.
Here's a basic list. Customize it, then print it out, put it on an index card, and laminate it. Punch a hole in it and attach it to the diaper bag on the outside where you can see it. This will be your reminder to check it. Will people think you're a big dork? Of course, but only until they reach into their own diaper-less bag and you save the day with one of yours.
Some of the things on the list need to be re-stocked all the time, others only need to be replaced if used.
Check Every Time:
- empty dirty diapers!
- diapers - at least 4-6
- Ziplock bags for dirty diapers and clothes
- bottle of formula/milk
- baby food
- 2 pacifiers (if you use them)
- teething rings
- 2 changes of clothing
- 2 receiving blankets (can be used as a burp cloth)
- cell phone
Keep in Bag:
- Vaseline or diaper rash cream
- protein bar (you're going to need energy!)
- board book
A Note on Diaper Bags
There is no reason to carry an ugly diaper bag. No reason. Do you understand? Also, the diaper bag does not ‘go with' the baby. You may not want to carry the same bag as other people who care for the baby. Get your own bag. It's important. The compartments are a matter of choice, but strongly consider getting something with a stinkproof area to store used diapers.