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Packing a Diaper Bag

Updated on July 6, 2012

My husband is always teasing me about obsessing over what to pack when we take our children somewhere. He thinks I over analyze and worry too much. I think he hasn't experienced being out and not having what you need! Here is a typical conversation:

"Did you pack diapers?"

"Yes, of course I did."

"Did you remember to bring extra clothes?"

"Ahem. Yes."

"Did you pack snacks? Extra bottles? Formula? Toys? Wipes? Bibs?"


My annoyed husband aside, not having the right items packed in the diaper bag can ruin even the easiest excursion. Here are some tips for packing exactly what you need, without bringing the kitchen sink!

Diaper bag with baby basics
Diaper bag with baby basics | Source

Baby Basics

For babies, there are a few things that you should keep in the diaper bag at all times. I like to keep mine in ready to go condition so I can leave quickly if necessary. Here are some basics:

  • At least eight diapers (more if you are going to be gone more than five hours)
  • Travel pack of wipes, 64 count
  • 2-3 bibs
  • two complete extra outfits (don't forget the socks!)
  • 2-3 burp cloths
  • 2 washcloths

These items don't take up a lot of room in the diaper bag, and they can save a lot of embarrassment and frustration!

What item are you most likely to forget to put in the diaper bag?

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Other Baby Items to Pack

Besides the traditional basics, there are a lot of other items that can be really helpful when packed in a diaper bag. For example, if you are going to be outside at all, pack sunscreen for your children. Babies' and children's skin is very sensitive.

Also, consider packing snacks and extra water or drinks. When picking snacks, think about the temperature where you will be. If it will be hot, don't pack anything perishable or anything that will melt. For my toddler, I like to pack oyster crackers, raisins, or bananas. Always store these items in sealed plastic bags or containers to prevent leaks.

Don't forget the toys! If your baby is teething, be sure you have plenty of teethers (in case one gets dropped on the ground) and other toys to keep them occupied.

Bento boxes are a great way to bring snacks without spills.
Bento boxes are a great way to bring snacks without spills. | Source

Pack Items for Mom and Dad Too!

As long as you are carrying around a big bag, why not add some things for you too? When my kids were little, I didn't carry a big purse in addition to a diaper bag. I put a wallet, keys, phone, and any other necessities into the diaper bag. One bag was much easier to carry than two!

For yourself (and your sanity!), consider the following items to pack:

  • Books or reading materials (for wait times)
  • Snacks and extra drinks
  • Sunscreen (not just for the kids!)
  • Any coupons you may need (restaurant coupons are great to keep in the diaper bag!)
  • Shopping lists
  • Anything else you may need!

Seasonal Diaper Bag Items

Your diaper bag should contain different items depending on the season. In the winter, be sure to pack extra socks, gloves, and a lot of warm clothing. Also, be sure to add some blankets in case you need to wrap up in the cold weather.

In the summer, you may want to keep a bathing suit in the diaper bag in case you end up at someone's house with a pool or sprinkler for the kids. Also, although it's a year-round staple, pack extra sunscreen in the summer to replace any that wears off.

Travel sized items in plastic bags
Travel sized items in plastic bags | Source

Travel Packing Tips

For the diaper bag or any other travel occasion, here are some great tips!

  • Make sure all liquids or items that could leak are closed tightly.
  • Place any items that could leak or spill in gallon-sized sealed plastic bags in the diaper bag.
  • Keep snacks and other small items in small plastic containers for easy retrieval and protection.
  • Use travel sizes of items, such as wipes and formula, to save space.

Keep the bag packed, and replenish any used items as soon as you return home. Then it's ready to go when you are!


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    • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image

      Marcy Goodfleisch 5 years ago from Planet Earth

      These are great tips for parents as well as grandparents - it's so easy to forget all the things you need when you're packing for babies! Voted up!

    • Amy Gillie profile image

      Amy Gillie 5 years ago from Indiana

      Thanks Margie! Glad you enjoyed it!

    • Mmargie1966 profile image

      Mmargie1966 5 years ago from Gainesville, GA

      Excellent hub, Amy! Voted up and useful (and shared)!