Diaper Bag Checklist: What Should You Pack?

Planning your first trip out with your new baby? Consult our diaper bag checklist before you go. A well-stocked diaper bag is something you just can't live without, whether you are heading out for baby's first check-up, or you are planning a longer visit with family and friends.

Picking a Diaper Bag

When you are buying a diaper bag, pick one that is light-weight and has lots of pockets. Unless you plan to carry a purse, consider one that is big enough to hold a few items for you as well, such as your keys and wallet. Keep in mind that cloth diapers are usually fluffier than disposables, so when you decide to use cloth, it will be a good investment to choose a from our list of larger designer diaper bags.

The Essentials

As you pack for your trip with baby, here's a diaper bag checklist of the essentials:

  • Diapers (2-3 for an afternoon out, and up to 12 for an overnight stay)
  • Baby wipes - you can pack cloth wipes in a wetbag or ziplock bag, or you can buy a travel-size pack. Even though I usually took wet washcloths when we traveled, I always kept a sample-size pack of wipes in the bottom of the bag for emergencies.
  • Rash cream (optional)
  • Changing pad or a simple towel
  • 2 wetbags or a couple of plastic grocery bags to bring home your cloth diapers and any soiled clothing

Other Helpful Items

And don't forget to pack:

  • Hand sanitizer
  • Change of clothes for baby (and possibly a clean shirt for Mommy)
  • Bottles and formula if bottle-feeding, spare breast pads if breast-feeding
  • A bib
  • Baby food depending on age of baby
  • Snacks and a bottle of water for Mom and Dad and older kids
  • A couple of small baby toys
  • Large receiving blanket - can be used for swaddling, as a breast-feeding cover, to lay down underneath baby, or for many other uses!

Just in Case...

You may also want to add the following (but if you do, be sure to keep your bag out of your baby's reach!):

  • Baby Advil or other painkiller (optional)
  • Tide to Go or other stain remover (optional) - once baby has started solid foods, treating food stains early can make your laundry efforts easy later on!

What you should take with you really depends on how long you're planning to stay and the age of your baby. Newborns usually need at least one extra change of clothing for when they spit up all over (and you may want to pack a clean shirt for yourself too!)

If you buy extra supplies, you'll find that you can leave most of your diaper bag packed all of the time. All you'll need to add is a few clean diapers, a clean wet bag, a few wipes (if you're using cloth wipes), and double check the diaper bag checklist to make sure you haven't run out of any of the other supplies.

Tip: When you get home, as you remove the dirty cloth diapers from your bag, take an extra minute or two to re-stock your bag with clean diapers and clothes, plus any snacks or other supplies you may have used up, so that your diaper bag is ready to go whenever you are. This habit sometimes takes a few trips to establish, but you'll thank yourself later next time you're running late or if you're ever faced with an emergency.

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