Parenting is a big job that often requires an equally big bag of tricks. The diaper bag is the most essential accessory for every parent. Children are very unpredictable, but a well-stocked diaper bag can perform magic in most messy situations.
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The following is a list of essential items for your diaper bag. Adjust as needed for ages and length of time away from home.
1. Diapers: Pack one for every hour you’ll be away from home and a few extras.
2. Wipes: Pack 2-3 wipes per diaper in a Ziploc bag. Add a few more to use for hand and face cleaning or spills.
3. Bags: Pack 2-3 plastic grocery bags and two 1-gallon Ziploc bags. These are for soiled clothing, dirty wipes, and used diapers. You never know when or where an accident will take place. Trash cans are not always immediately available. Additionally, if you are in a private home, you’ll want to mask the smell for the comfort of the home owners.
4. Changing Pad: Keep a foldable, easy-to-store pad in your diaper bag. Make sure it is made of material that can be wiped easily for cleaning after each use. Hand towels also work, and there are great disposable options as well if you are trying to reduce the bulk in your bag.
5. Drinks: For infants, make sure you have bottles, extra formula, and water. You may need a cooler if you pre-make any formula. If you are nursing, make sure you bring your breast-pump supplies and pads. For older children, bring non-spill cups of water, milk, or juice.
6. Food: Depending on the age of the child, you may need to bring baby food for each meal you’ll be on the go and at least one extra meal. Also, bring age-appropriate snacks in small Tupperware containers. Don’t forget the utensils and a bib!
7. Extra Clothing: Children always need one or two changes of clothes in case of any accidents. If you are going to be out during the evening hours, you may also want to pack pajamas.
8. Pacifiers: Pack these or something similar that is self-soothing to your baby. For older children, toys and/or teething rings may also be appropriate.
9. Small Blanket: This is essential for nursing moms. However, blankets also come in handy for unpredictable temperature changes, blocking the sun coming in through car windows, and using as a burp cloth.
10. First Aid Kit: This is essential to have at any age. Make it more baby-appropriate by adding diaper rash cream and a nose sucker.