What to Pack in a Diaper Bag

Diaper Bag Checklists

Petunia Pickle Bottom Diaper Bags
Pictured: Petunia Pickle Bottom Diaper Bag, Boxy Backpack in Afternoon in Auckland. PriceGrabber

When I am heading out the door with my baby, I choose between the two diaper bags that I own. I have got one smaller diaper bag for quick jaunts to the grocery store and short errands and a larger diaper bag for those longer trips away. I've found that what to pack in a diaper bag varies for short and long trips. Here's a quick diaper bag checklist to help keep you organized. And if Dad needs a little help organizing the perfect diaper bag, use this as a handy guide.


Short Trips: What to Pack in a Diaper Bag

For short trips, no more than 2 hours away from home, I prefer to tote a much smaller diaper bag. A less bulky bag can be much more convenient and less hassle. I only stock my small diaper bag with absolute essentials.

  • 2-3 diapers
  • Small package of baby wipes
  • Small portable changing pad
  • Small tube of diaper rash cream
  • Pacifier in a re-sealable sandwich bag
  • Receiving blanket
  • If bottle feeding, supplies for one feeding
  • Burp cloth
  • Plastic bag to carry soiled diapers

Diaper Bag Checklist for Long Trips

When I head out with my baby for more than an hour or 2, I grab my large diaper bag instead. Yes, it's a bulkier bag, but I've found that it is better to go prepared for anything. The bigger diaper bag gives me more packing room for the following items.

  • Several diapers. Plan at least 1 diaper for every hour you will be gone.
  • Small package of baby wipes,enough for diapering, cleaning hands, and faces, etc.
  • Small portable changing pad
  • Small tube of diaper rash cream
  • 2 pacifiers in a re-sealable sandwich bag
  • Receiving blanket
  • If bottle feeding, supplies for several feedings. Plan 2 more than what you think you will need.
  • If the baby has started solids, baby food, spoon and bowl for the number of meals needed.
  • Bib
  • Plastic bags to carry soiled diapers or clothing
  • An extra change of clothes. Sweater, shirt, pants, socks.
  • Sun hat
  • Baby sunscreen, provided your baby is at least 6 months old
  • Small favorite toy
  • Bottle of water

Other Packing Tips

It's a smart idea to include somewhere in your bag a card that has your name, address and phone number. If you misplace your bag, that contact information might help ensure your bag gets back to you.

Additionally, if you have a cell phone - carry it. Be sure that you have your pediatrician's number in your contact list, as well as other important contact numbers (spouse, neighbor, grandparents, etc). If you don't have a cell phone, put those numbers on a card and keep it in the diaper bag.

Have the basics of your diaper bag packed, and re-stock items when you come home. That way you don't need to waste time packing the bag right before you are heading out the door. Life with baby can bring unexpected delays (like that last minute diaper change right when you need to leave). Having your diaper bags ready to grab and go can help keep you on time.

Packing for the hospital delivery? Use this list of baby essentials for the hospital.

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