Travel light and super organized with this checklist of must-haves to pack in your diaper bag. Some of these will surprise you, but you’ll thank us later. Read on for diaper bag essentials you won’t want to skip.

photo: iStock

Diapering Essentials

Diapers
Bring more than you think you’ll need. Think one or two for each hour you’ll be out, plus a few extras for good luck.

Wipes
Pack both bum wipes and hand & face wipes to clean all the body parts. Save money by buying the large containers and transferring what you need into smaller containers when you leave the house.

Diaper Cream
You never know when a rash will hit, and this will keep your baby comfortable.

Plastic Bags or Wet Bags
You’ll want these for disposing of dirty diapers in and for holding soiled clothing or anything else that gets messy while you’re out.

Portable Changing Pad
You never know where you’ll end up doing the dirty deed, so a plush changing pad is key to cleanliness and comfort.

photo: iStock

Feeding Essentials

Burp Cloths or Bibs
Whether your little one spits up or spills your coffee, these absorbent cloths will clean it right up.

Insulated Bag
Keep baby bottles, water and snacks cool with a small insulated bag.

Snacks
Pack something for you and baby to eat while you’re out. Snacks make a handy distraction if you have to wait somewhere, and you never know when hunger will strike.

Bottles and/or Nursing Supplies
Bring more bottles of formula or breastmilk than you think you need, in case of spills.

Water
You and your child can get extra thirsty when you’re out and about, especially on warm days.

photo: iStock

Comfort Essentials

Toys and/or Board Books
One or two small toys, stuffies or board books can keep your child occupied if crankiness sets in. If that doesn't work, rather than loading down your bag with more toys, sing or dance with your child to keep them entertained.

Pacifiers and/or Teethers
Bring an extra in case your baby is working on their pitching arm. A small container of pacifier wipes helps keep them clean if you’re not near a sink.

Light Blanket
A thin, muslin blanket keeps your babe warm if the weather turns colder, makes for a clean spot to sit on, and blocks the sun from the car seat or stroller during nap time. Leave some of the car seat uncovered so it doesn’t get too hot underneath it.

Extra Clothes—for Both of You
An extra outfit for your child and a shirt for you keeps you looking good and helps you forget the big spill or diaper blowout you just endured. Depending on the weather, you may need sun hats or winter mittens too.

photo: iStock

Health & Safety Essentials

Hand Sanitizer
Disinfect your hands and changing pad after a diaper change. You'll also want to clean your hands and your baby's after being in public spaces.

Sunscreen
Yes, you both need it even on cloudy days and cold days. Get a solid stick sunscreen; they take up less room and won’t leak in your bag. For babes under six months, a wide-brim sun hat, breathable UPF 50+ sun blanket and shade should do the trick.

Adhesive Bandages
Owies can ruin an outing, but a bandage with Peppa Pig on it takes away some of the sting.

Portable Phone Charger
Life happens, and you don’t want to be caught away from home without access to a map or a way to reach people. 

Your Name & Phone Number
If you happen to lose your diaper bag (nightmare!), you’ll have a better chance of retrieving it if you've tucked contact information into an outer pocket.

How to Keep It All Organized

How do you find all this stuff in your diaper bag? If your bag has built-in pockets, organize your items by category, storing all the diapering products together and the clothes in a different spot. If your bag is more of the black hole variety, pack items in smaller bags or containers. Clear, zipped pouches or bags in different colors can help you find what you need more quickly. Put the items you know you’ll need (hello, diapers) on top of the just-in-case products. Still looking for that unicorn of diaper bags? Check out the articles below for stylish diaper bag options and a guide to choosing the right bag for your needs.

—Eva Ingvarson Cerise

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