diaper-bag-checklistLeaving home with a newborn requires precision planning on a level that the military would be proud of.

I was terrified of taking my little one out for quite a while.

What if I needed to change his diaper?

What if I forget diapers? Or run out of wipes?

What if he needed to breastfeed? (I never quite managed to master feeling comfortable feeding in public)

What if he had a blow out or a spit up and I had no clothes for him?

Ahh! It was way stressful.

Finally, one of the ladies in my mother’s group gave me this piece of mind-blowing advice:

“If you forget a diaper, you can just go to the shop and buy more.”

Uh… I don’t know why I didn’t realize that? I’m blaming sleep deprivation, hormones, and all that stuff.

The point of this story?

Don’t sweat too much over what you do or don’t pack in your diaper bag. Prepare when you can, make it work when things go wrong and remember that running out of diapers or wipes mid change isn’t going to matter in a week’s time. It doesn’t make you a bad mom.

Here’s what I liked to keep packed in my diaper bag:

1. Diapers (6-8)

Newborns go through diapers quickly. I vividly recall the day I changed my little 8 week old in the church mother’s room. No sooner had I put the new nappy on than… well, let’s just say it needed changing again. So I did. You know what, the same thing happened! I changed him again. And he did it again! What! This is ridiculous. I think I changed his nappy 4 times in 15 minutes.

Take home message: pack lots and lots of diapers. More than you think you’ll need. (Subscribe on Amazon for great savings.)

2. Wipes

Lots of diapers means lots of wiping. A packet is usually enough to carry around, just keep an eye on the levels. Running out of wipes when you need them most can be really upsetting… See above story about diapers. Luckily, if you do run out of wipes and you’re around other moms, one will surely be able to give you some wipes.

Take home message: you need to have wipes.

3. Diaper Sacks

For wrapping those used diapers in. Keeps the smell down. Keeps things contained if you have to take it home with you. Useful for so many reasons.

Not much more to say really. An essential piece of equipment!

4. Clothes

You don’t need to carry a whole wardrobe but one or two full outfit changes is good to have, especially if you have a spitty baby.

Also pack a layer of warm clothes in case the temperature gets cooler than expected. It’s always good to be prepared and have socks to put on cold feet. But fear not – if you find you’re missing something, you’ll learn how to improvise.

5. Change Mat

A change mat is pretty awesome. It lets you turn any surface into a slightly padded change area and protects your baby from cold and dirty surfaces. What’s not to like? Most diaper bags come with a change mat already included, but I like this one from Amazon that comes separately.

6. Zip Lock Bags

Life changing. You need them. What for? Everything. Here’s what you can do with them:

  • Run out of diaper sacks? Use a zip lock bag.
  • Carry a clean pacifier
  • Carry snacks
  • Keep a half-chewed rusk for later
  • Carry a clean teething toy

7. Toys

Toys can mean the difference between a smooth diaper change and a diaper change gone wrong. Distraction is key at all ages.

8. Breastfeeding Cover

Breastfeeding is natural but learning how to do it doesn’t always come naturally. I’m gifted with extreme clumsiness and physical ineptitude. Breastfeeding was a struggle. And breastfeeding in public? Really tough.

That’s where a good breastfeeding cover comes in. There are these awesome ones that look like aprons but the top is shaped to bow out so you can see what baby is doing.

9. Terry Cloth Burp Rags

They don’t need to be burp rags – old school cloth diapers work fantastically. Use them to soak up leaked, dribbled, or spat up milk… and anything else that happens to be going down.


10. Hand Sanitizer

After dealing with bodily fluids, you’ll want to wash your hands. Sanitizing them is good too. Kill all those nasty bugs.

11. Disinfectant Wipes

You may not know this but ordinary baby wipes don’t contain disinfectant. I know right? I thought I was doing a good thing by cleaning the high chair at the café with normal wipes before my little one sat in it. It didn’t do all that much good. This is one situation where having disinfectant wipes can be good. Also when your little one is a little older and gets their hands dirty.

12. Rash Cream

Rash cream is most cost effective when bought in a huge tub like this one. But, you can get smaller sample size tubs that are perfect size for your diaper bag. You can refill them too.

If your little one has a rash it’s best to be consistent with the rash cream so that it goes away as quickly as possible.

13. Snacks for Mom

Being a new mom is a hungry time. You need to eat and maintain your strength so you can look after your baby. And when you’re breastfeeding, woah. Your body will let you know it. Avoid getting hangry. Bring snacks everywhere. In copious quantities.

Snack ideas: fruits like banana, apple, mandarin. Laughing Cow Cheese, crackers, pretzels, nuts, seeds.

14. Water

There’s nothing worse than being caught out without water. As a new mom, especially a breastfeeding one, you need a lot of water. If you aren’t staying hydrated you’re going to feel like rubbish. So make sure you bring a water bottle along.

15. Breast Pads

An embarrassing fact about breastfeeding is that your breasts will leak milk. Sometimes with a reason, sometimes with none, if you aren’t wearing breast pads you’ll soon end up with a wet shirt in need of a wash.

Breast pads soak up or otherwise capture the leaking milk. There are a couple of different kinds that you can choose from: disposable, cloth (check out our freebie page to find out how to get some for free), or milk collection shells.

That’s a Wrap!

Packing your diaper bag well is important. However, don’t lose sight of the fact that even if the worst should happen you can and will make do, innovate, or simply buy what you need from the closest shop.

What was your must-have diaper bag item? Let us know in the comments below!