Hello baby; goodbye purse! If you’re like a lot of moms, you have a wide variety of ways to carry your wallet, car keys, and other essentials. They say, “a baby changes everything,” and your purse may be one of the first personal items to go unless, of course, it fits in your diaper bag!

Here’s some real-world advice: You need your own diaper bag that you keep stocked when out and about with baby, and so does anyone else who regularly totes baby around. This means baby’s care providers— your partner, daycare provider, and so forth—each need their own supplies and diaper bag. It may sound extravagant but it’s one of our readers’ favorite pieces of advice online.

What to Pack in the Diaper Bag

Of course, diaper bags hold diapers, wipes, a changing pad, disposable bags to contain dirty diapers, rash cream, and at least one or two changes of clothes. But they can hold so much more, including your baby’s immunization card, which helps you bring it to each pediatrician visit.

As you’re creating your baby registry, choose a couple of different bags, from over-the-shoulder slings to backpackstyle bags—an abundance of cubbies and compartments is essential—these will keep you organized.

Take an inventory of what you will need in all the places you may change baby—out shopping, at a park or beach, in a public bathroom, or at a friend’s house, for example. Start with the basics and build up: You’ll need a portable changing pad to protect the surface you’re changing baby on and protect baby from germs or other contaminants. Add in a change or two of clothes, diapers, wipes, rash cream, disposable bags to get rid of dirty diapers, and a way to wash or sanitize both your and baby’s hands.

You’ll find it’s also helpful to bring bottles of your milk or formula with freezer packs, or finger foods, as snacks depending on your little one’s age. If you’re going outside, a jacket, hat, and sunscreen could be necessary. Add in a few extra toys, books, and pacifiers and you’re set for a fun time away from home.

A Perfectly Packed Diaper Bag

  • Diapers, wipes, diaper rash cream
  • Changing pad and disposable bags for trashing soiled diapers
  • Wet towelette packs to wipe your hands, and baby’s too, plus hand sanitizer
  • Food for baby (and bottles!)
  • Pacifiers, toys, and snacks
  • Extra swaddles or blankets
  • One or two extra outfits
  • A jacket and a hat
  • Sunscreen
  • Your wallet, car keys, and mobile phone]

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Carolyn Davis Cockey, MLS, LCCE, is founding editor of Healthy Mom&Baby, Senior Director of Partnerships & Publications at AWHONN, and a Lamaze-certified childbirth educator in Sarasota, FL.

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