There have been way too many times that we have left the house and I have forgotten one crucial item. It tends to be the most critical item that we need and there it is, left at home. Have you read the book, Checklist Manifesto? A diaper bag requires a checklist because there are too many things that baby needs and are so easy to forget.

The tricky thing is that we need to pack each time we go out, right? We use all the things like outfits, diapers, bottles but it’s the replenishing that causes me to forget an item. (That and my current state of sleep deprivation.) So, I’m making a list here as much for me as it is to share. Now if only someone could help me pack suitcases for a family of five.


So here it goes, this is my list for one newborn baby. The best way for me to remember all items is to think in categories: diapering, feeding, mom, all others/siblings.


  • Changing pad 
  • Wipes
  • Diaper cream
  • 6 diapers
  • 2 Changes of clothes


  • Bottles, with breast milk or water and formula 
  • Thermos packed with hot water to warm bottles on the go
  • Nursing cover and if needed nipple shield, lanolin, etc
  • Burp cloth, I love the flannel ones 
  • Pacifier 


  • Wallet, keys, glasses, etc
  • Change of shirt, I keep a basic grey v-neck bc you never know
  • Chapstick, gum, I don’t know but things you’d put in your purse
  • Sanitizing wipes, lotion

All others

  • Toy for baby or sibling
  • Phone charger if needed
  • Blanket or muslin

The diaper bag evolves as the baby gets older and needs less or different things. Also, I used to carry a larger duffle bag style when we had two children under two and thus had two different size diapers and clothes to remember to pack. Oh, those days were exhausting. 

It is important to remember to get your items like your wallet (!) when the weekend is over, for example, and you are headed to work for the week. I’ve been without my wallet on a few occasions because it’s left in the diaper bag. Oops!

And the worst thing I ever forgot? Formula at the airport!

I was traveling to Boston to get to Cape Cod, to visit family with just Deacon, my youngest at the time. He was in between breastmilk and cows milk and so we supplemented with formula. He ate solid food but not enough to satisfy my big, growing boy. We went through security before I realized it. They do not sell formula anywhere in an airport, FYI. I learned that the hard way.

Thankfully, our flight was delayed for one hour. I had our bag checked, of course, and so we left the airport and went back to the car and into the parking garage. I drove to the closest Walmart and bought baby formula. This may have been one of the highest stress situations I have been in and I felt like I was the worst mom on the planet that day.

By then he wanted a bottle so I made one on the spot in the Walmart parking lot and drove back to the airport. We had to go through security again and made it back just in time. I definitely would have had to miss my flight otherwise! Lesson learned. Don’t be like me. Use this list.

I sometimes think about when I was younger and meticulously packed my purse or bag for a class in college. Now I can’t even remember what I even needed for myself. A hairbrush, mirror, face powder? Now I just need chapstick, phone, and a wallet and I’m good. It’s the little ones that need all of the things!

Oh yeah and after all that packing, don’t forget the little one too! 

This post originally appeared on Life Love & Little Boys.