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New Mom's Ultimate Diaper Bag

Updated on January 2, 2011

Be Prepared for Everyday Events and Emergencies

One of the first items new or expecting parents will purchase is the essential, useful and most important accessory: a diaper bag. These handy carry-alls allow parents on the go to bring the nursery, kitchen and changing table with them on outings and visits.

Although buying and stocking a diaper bag can seem like an obvious step when preparing for a new baby, it can be one of the most important things that you do as a new parent. In this lens, we will go over some of the essential supplies that every diaper bag should have, so that your family can be prepared to care for a baby in all types of emergencies, unexpected situations and strange locations.

Choosing a Diaper Bag

Fit Before Fashion

When shopping for a diaper bag, color and style should not be your first goal. Look for bags that are durable and easy to clean. They should be washing machine friendly incase of accidental food spills.

Make sure that the bag you select is comfortable for carrying both by hand, and over your shoulder. If possible, place something heavy in the bag and try walking around with it to make sure that the straps are comfortable. The straps should be easy to adjust.

One essential factor for a great diaper bag is a good number of pockets and compartments. Too few will make organizing your baby gear difficult, while too many can cause confusion when you're searching for a rattle or diaper under pressure. (Babies are great at causing a scene when you're in a rush.)

A good diaper bag will have at least:

1 large compartment big enough for a stack of diapers and a can of formula

2 narrow side compartments - one of these should have pouches and flaps to carry mom and dad's personal effects such as keys and wallets

2 side pouches for carrying bottles or other small objects

1 outer pocket for stashing small items that you want in easy reach

Why Do You Need a Diaper Bag?

Although your lifestyle may not require the use of a diaper bag from day to day, it's an important addition to any household with new babies. Think of it as an emergency kit or suitcase, rather than a diaper carrier.

It is important to keep your diaper bag well stocked and within easy reach even when you are at home, in case of emergencies. It's not necessary to worry about the 'what-ifs' - parents have enough worries on their hands - but here are a few situations that make an Ultimate Diaper Bag essential:

Evacuation:

In the event of a small emergency such as a house fire, you will want to have all of the things you and your baby need on hand in one place, so that you can quickly get to a safe location. It is also good to be prepared for larger emergencies such as chemical spills and floods.

Other types of evacuation situations include domestic disputes - when you just want to get to a friend's house right away - or robberies and crime in your neighborhood.

Separation:

If something should happen to you or your partner, the items in the Ultimate Diaper bag will allow friends or family to care for your baby until you are well, or replacement items can be purchased.

Likewise, if you are involved in an accident while on an outing, your baby will not have to go without essentials like food and clothing until your family can be contacted.

Stranded :

If you are traveling, you may find yourself stuck due to vehicle trouble, weather, or other factors.

Even if you are in a populated area, you should have all of the things your baby will need for the day to make sure that he or she is comfortable until you can reach your destination.

Ideally, no parent should ever have to see their family through any of these tough situations, but they do happen, and being prepared is the best thing you can do for the safety of your precious little one.

Make sure to bring your diaper bag with you on all outings - even just to the corner store or a friend's house. At home, keep the bag in an easy to reach place such as the front door, or just inside baby's room. Keeping a stroller and baby carrier set up nearby is also a great way to make sure that you can get away quickly in emergencies such as house fires.

Now let's go over the essential items that your

Ultimate Diaper Bag should have.

Food

Nourishment on the Go

Your family's personal preferences and your baby's age will determine what types of food you carry day-to-day. For example, if you are breastfeeding exclusively, you may not pack any bottles at all for day outings. If you are using formula, you may want to pack bottles - un-prepared or ready to serve - for use while you are out.

Regardless of your usual food choices, it is important to have a supply of baby formula and bottles that can be used to feed your baby should you be separated for more than a few hours. Your ultimate diaper bag should have:

1 unopened can of powdered infant formula

Do not open the can unless you absolutely must. Replace it as soon as possible if you need to use it. Powdered formula expires about one month after it has been opened.

1 sterilized plastic nurser

Disposable liner style bottles are best for emergency use. Insert a bottle liner into the nurser, then place a nipple face down over the bottle mouth. Screw on the ring over the nipple and place on a cap. You now have a safe and sterile bottle that can be used any time. Replace it with a freshly sterilized one about once a month.

1 box of sterile bottle liners

Make sure you pack the correct size for the bottle in your emergency bag. A box of 100 liners takes up very little room, and will ensure that you have enough for your can of emergency formula.

1 plastic infant spoon

Plastic is durable and lightweight, so it's great for packing in your diaper bag. A spoon can be used to stir formula, or prepare and serve other foods for older babies. A temperature indicating spoon is a good choice.

6 cereal biscuits

Once your baby starts to eat solid food, you should pack your diaper bag with some individually wrapped cereal cakes. Also include a small plastic container with a lid for preparing the cereal in.

Emergency Bottles

Disposable liner style baby bottles are ideal for an Ultimate Diaper Bag, because they are easy to keep clean when proper washing facilities might not be available.

With one nurser and a small packet of liners, you have enough bottles to feed baby for days.

Hygiene

Stay Clean Anywhere

Diapers

Once again, your family's preferences will determine what you carry for daily outings, in regard to diapers. For example, if you use cloth nappies at home, you may want to bring them on visits with friends and family, if you are comfortable cleaning them. You may choose to bring disposables on shopping trips and the like.

Either way, it is a good idea to have a supply of disposable diapers handy for emergencies where you may not be able to properly clean cloth diapers. If you use them already, make sure you always have at least 6 diapers in your bag at all times, and that they are the correct size for you baby. Remember to use them up before you change diaper sizes.

If you do not use disposables at all, consider keeping a small package near your diaper bag at home for major emergencies. Keep the bag unopened, and donate it to a daycare, women's shelter or other family facility when your child grows past the weight category on the package.


Wipes

Every diaper bag should have a container of baby wipes. They're great not only for keeping baby clean, but for washing your own hands when a washroom or sink isn't available.

If you don't use disposable baby wipes at all, consider buying a can of cloth wipes with a sealed lid. They will stay wet as long as they are unopened, and will be there in case of emergency. Remember to get a variety that is alcohol free, for sensitive baby skin. When you no longer use your diaper bag, you can donate the unopened wipes to a daycare or other worthy facility.


Linens

Your Ultimate Diaper bag should always have:

1 baby washcloth for cleaning hands, face and gums

2 flannel receiving blankets - these are great for all kinds of things, even if you're not breastfeeding

1 changing pad for diapering in odd places

Happy Medium Diapers

Everyone knows that disposable diapers aren't the best thing for the environment. There is some debate about whether or not they are more harmful than frequent bleaching that comes from cloth diapers. If you're trying to raise a greener family, there are always options that can offer convenience and peace of mind.

Clothing

For Messes and Overnights

Keep at least one change of clothes in your diaper bag at all times. Rotate the clothing out as needed as your child grows, or to fit the weather of the season. Comfortable clothing such as sleepers and jumpers are best. Choose something that your baby would be comfortable sleeping in.

You should also keep on hand at all times:

2 pairs of socks

Remember to replace these as your child grows

1 hat

Keep one for cold weather or sun protection, depending on the time or year

1 pair of mittens

Little fingers can get cold quickly. These are important should you have to go out doors at night.

In warm weather, it is not necessary to carry a jacket or sweater on outings if you're short on bag space, but you should keep one in your vehicle at all times, and one next to your emergency bag at home.

Once your baby starts to crawl, you may also want to keep an extra pair of shoes in, or near your diaper bag.

Medical Items

Just In Case

You may want to purchase or make a small first aid kit to put in your diaper bag. It is also a good idea to keep one in your vehicle if you or your partner drives. A good first aid kit will have assorted bandages, anitseptic wipes or ointment and gloves.

In addition to a first aid kit, your Ultimate Diaper Bag should have at all times:

1 small box of self-adhesive bandages

1 unopened bottle of infant Tylenol - rotate this out if you finish a bottle of Tylenol at home, and replace it

1 bottle of infant sunscreen

You should also carry a small supply of any medications that you or your baby need. Once your baby learns to crawl, or if you have other children, be sure to keep medicines out of reach. You can keep a small bag of these medical items on a high hook near your diaper bag at home for easy access.

Identification and Money

Safety and Security

These items will be helpful in all kinds of emergency situations, and even in small jams that you may find yourself in. Although life's little mishaps can sometimes be laughed off, they are a lot more difficult when you are responsible for a tiny little person that depends on you.

Here are some of the things that you should carry at all times:

Extra keys

Get copies of all of your important keys incase you misplace them. This is especially important if you live in a secluded area or an unfriendly/unsafe neighborhood.

Cheques

Keep the last booklet of cheques from your current stack in your diaper bag for money emergencies. Rotate it out when you order a new stack of cheque books.

You may also want to write down the number of your credit card with the highest balance. For security, you can disguise the numbers as something else such as telephone numbers or addresses.

Coins

Keep enough coins to cover 2 adult fares on public transportation, and at least 4 quarters for pay telephones. You may want to carry more coins for transit fare, if you often travel with older children.

Baby's Picture

Carry a recent photograph of your baby - and any other children - in case you are separated. This is very, very unlikely to occur, but having a picture on hand can make all the difference in the event of such a disaster.

Emergency Contact Book

Purchase a small but durable notebook and fill it with the following information:

- Baby's name

- Names of parent(s)

- Home telephone number

- Cell number

- Work telephone number(s)

* Do not include your address if you are also carrying keys to your home. Instead, indicate a suitable place such as a relative's home, a friendly neighbor, or your workplace.

- Relatives names and phone numbers - only those who you would like contacted in an emergency. Make sure to get their permission first.

- Family doctor and/or pediatrician's name, office address and phone number

You should also indicate any medical information that is important for you child such as allergies.

Keep this booklet in your diaper bag at all times. If your bag has a clear outer pocket, this is the best place to store it, so that it can easily be located. Make sure to label your booklet "Emergency Contacts" or "Emergency Information".

Just For Fun

Last But Not Least

Hopefully, this list of important baby and family safety items does not have you thinking the worst or worrying about what could be. Relax and enjoy your new bundle of joy! Once you've packed and prepared your emergency bag, put any worries out of your mind.

When it comes to packing books and toys for your diaper bag, try to keep it simple. If possible, carry a variation of your child's favorite toys so that you always have something familiar with you for them to play with.

To end on a happy note, here are a few other items that you might want to carry:

A rattle or other small noise maker

A stuffed toy - but no ribbons or buttons!

A board book or cloth baby book

Sample Sized Supplies

Free samples of baby supplies such as formula and wipes are ideal for emergency diaper bags. You can receive free samples of all types of baby essentials in the mail by visiting some of these sites.

Baby Formula

Enfamil.ca

Enfamil.com

Similac.ca

Similac.com

HeinzBaby.com

Diapers and WIpes

Huggies

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What's in your diaper bag? I hope that you have found these tips helpful.

Please feel free to leave feedback about New Mom, and don't forget to rate The Ultimate Diaper Bag.

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    • Sammy24 profile image

      Sammy24 

      7 years ago

      Thé est diapre bag is j.j.cole in my opinion. Come Check out m'y lense. I have 2 boys and this bag is awesome. Everything mommy needs this bag.

    • Lou165 profile image

      Lou165 

      8 years ago from Australia

      This is a great lens, I've featured it on The Bag Shop as an example of why you need a diaper bag. I think it also pays to keep a granola bar or something similar in there if you're breastfeeding as eating regularly is really important and if you're out longer than you'd planned it comes in very handy.

    • religions7 profile image

      religions7 

      9 years ago

      Great lens - you've been blessed by a squidoo angel :)

    • profile image

      poutine 

      9 years ago

      Very well done lens. A big 5

      Good advice for new moms.

    • profile image

      herbie66 

      9 years ago

      Welcome to the 'Pregnancy and Baby' Group

      ( http://www.squidoo.com/groups/pregnancy-baby )

    • only1bub profile image

      Debbie Hawkins 

      9 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Lots of info here - nice work! Would love to see some more photos included with the text to break up your page a bit. :) Lensrolling you to my page on Stylish Diaper Bags for Daddies

    • evelynsaenz1 profile image

      Evelyn Saenz 

      9 years ago from Royalton

      Wonderful lens for new moms. So glad you mentioned nursing moms. That is the easiest and most healthful way to feed your baby especially in an emergency.

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