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A diaper bag is an essential for all mommas, no matter what shape it takes.
With a diaper bag, you can be equipped with a mini “nursery on-the-go.”
But what do you actually need in your diaper bag when going out with a newborn (0-3 months)?
Especially as a first-time momma, it can be difficult to know what you may or may not need.
It seems that there might be a need for anything. But if you wanted to fill your diaper bag with everything needed for every possibility, you would need at least a large suitcase, if not a trailer!
So what can you live without? And what is actually important to take along with you?
Here’s what we packed in our diaper bag when Little E was a newborn.
Choice of Diaper Bag
Before we dig into the contents of our bag, let’s talk about different kinds of diaper bags.
We looked at a variety of different bags before settling on the one we currently use.
Here are a few different popular varieties of diaper bags:
Traditional Diaper Bag
The traditional diaper bag is the most popular. It has many different pockets and compartments in it, which is helpful when organizing the different things you may need. Usually, this is a fairly large bag that has both handles and a shoulder strap.
Tote Diaper Bag
Tote diaper bags are similar to traditional diaper bags, but they are a bit more fashionable. They are made to look a bit more like a normal bag, rather than a diaper bag. They are still rather large, and full of many different pockets.
Satchel Diaper Bag
A satchel diaper bag is much smaller than both the traditional and tote diaper bags. This kind of diaper bag has only one or two compartments.
Messenger Diaper Bag
The messenger diaper bag is a diaper bag in the trendy style of a messenger bag. It is worn like a messenger bag, over the shoulder. It usually has three to four different compartments in it.
Backpack Diaper Bag
This diaper bag is a backpack worn on the back. They usually have several compartments and some specialized areas for specific things like wipes or bottles.
When looking for diaper bags, we wanted something that could be useful for both quick errands and long day trips. We also wanted a diaper bag that my hubby would feel comfortable using…nothing covered in flowers or gold sparkles!
For us, the tote diaper bag was the best option. The large size made this choice ideal for carrying all we needed, and the many compartments allowed us to organize so everything was easily accessible. The fashion of the tote made Hubby feel more comfortable carrying it around.
We ended up getting the perfect diaper bag at our baby shower, (Thanks Gaby!!!), the Baby Boom Tote Diaper Bag. Ours has a cute, but not too feminine, geometric pattern on it.
This diaper bag has two large pockets on the very front, a pocket for wipes and a pocket for bottles on the side, a small zipper section behind the two front pockets, an open section on the back, and a large middle compartment – which separates into three open sections. It also came with a changing pad and a case for wipes!
Read more about why we love this diaper bag, (and 9 other essential newborn baby products), here.
What to Pack – Small Trip
If you are just going on a shorter trip – perhaps up to 3 hours – you don’t need to pack quite as much as you would for a longer journey.
Here are the essentials we would take with us on our shorter trips when Little E was 0-3 months:
- If your diaper bag did not come with its own changing pad, you will want to purchase one. While you can simply use a blanket to lay baby on, a changing pad has two main advantages. First, changing pads provide more cushion. Second, and most importantly, they are easily cleaned up with a quick wipe down.
- Be sure to pack some diapers! We double-check our bag every time we go out, even if we are sure we still have plenty in there. For a small trip, we make sure we have at least 5 diapers. 5 may sound like a lot for a 3 hour (or shorter) outing, but you never know! Diapers aren’t something you want to run out of.
- On that same train of thought, you don’t want to run out of wipes, either! Be sure that you have wipes with you no matter how short your journey might be.
Butt Paste (optional)
- This really depends on your baby and how much room you have in your diaper bag. A short journey may not require some butt paste. Even if baby does develop a rash on the trip, you will be home in just a short amount of time. However, some babies are more sensitive. If your little one is sensitive, develops rashes easily, or already has a diaper rash, you will want to be sure to have some butt paste with you to protect their little tushy!
Our favorite is Boudreaux’s Maximum Strength Butt Paste. Read about it here.
Change of Clothes
- Even if you are going out for 15 minutes, bring your baby a change of clothes! I don’t know what it is, but it seems like Little E is able to sense when I have forgotten a change of clothes for him…that’s always the time he chooses to have a blow-out! For a shorter journey, one change of clothes should be enough (fingers crossed!).
- Especially if you have a little boy, bring a washcloth or two with you to protect yourself from unexpected streams of pee during changes!
Pacifier (if used)
- If you are using a pacifier, be sure to bring it with you! Once Little E had a good breastfeeding latch we began using a pacifier with him. We use a Wubbanub, which has a cute little animal attached to it – which helps his pacifier stay in.
- I suggest packing one toy that your baby enjoys. At this age, your little one won’t be using them much, but they can be distracted by bright colors, sounds, or textures. Little E loves his Sassy Bumpy Ball, which is bright and makes an interesting rattle noise.
Blanket or Swaddle
- Even for a short journey, a swaddle/blanket is very helpful. If it is hot outside, an airy swaddle (like these muslins) can be used to protect from the sun. If it is cold, wrap up your little one in something comfy. Swaddling can also be a great soothing tool if your cutie pie gets upset.
Bottle with formula (if formula-fed)
- If your baby is formula fed, you may want to take a bottle with you. This depends on how long your short trip will be. If you will be home within 2 hours, and your little one has eaten right before leaving, you may be alright without one. Once again, however, this depends on your baby. During some points, your little one may be experiencing a growth spurt and wanting to chow every hour! If you suspect they may be hungry during your trip, be prepared.
If you do bring something, be sure to keep it fresh. If you won’t be able to prepare the formula there, be sure to keep it in an insulated pouch to keep it cold until you need it. If baby only likes it warm, try warming it up by placing it between your legs when it is time to feed.
Nursing Cover (if breastfeeding)
- If you are breastfeeding your baby, be sure to take a nursing cover. Not only does this often help momma feel more comfortable when feeding, it can help baby feel secure and keep them from getting distracted while feeding outside of the home. My favorite nursing cover is from uddercover.com – it is wide enough that it provides great coverage, the light material keeps Little E and I from overheating, and it has a great feature that allows you and baby to keep eye contact while nursing.
To top it all off, here is a code for $35 off! Since these nursing covers cost $34.95, all you would be paying is shipping!!! Code: 4a86e0
- Either way, be sure to bring a burp cloth! If you have a particularly spitty-uppy baby, like Little E, you may want to bring 2, even for a short trip!
Momma’s Needs (If not also carrying a purse)
Lanolin or Nipple Cream (if breastfeeding)
- If you are breastfeeding, it can be a bit painful at first – especially in the first month. Bring some lanolin or another nipple cream with you to help with any discomfort.
- Don’t forget your own stuff in the midst of packing everything for baby! In addition to the obvious things like your wallet and phone, you may want some chapstick, a Tide-to-go stick, or anything else you normally like to have with you.
- Even for a short trip, pack yourself something quick to eat. Especially if you are breastfeeding, being a momma to a newborn takes a lot of energy!
What To Add for Longer Trips
When you are going on a longer trip – 3 hours to a day – you will want to add just a few more things to your diaper bag.
Start with the list above, and then add the following:
Changing and Health Essentials
More Diapers and Wipes!
- Be sure to bring more diapers with you. When we go on a full day journey, I like to have at least 10. Also be sure that you have plenty of wipes.
Additional Changes of Clothes
- I like to pack 2 changes of clothing for Little E when we go on a longer outing.
- These little bulbs (in our house, we call it the ‘sucky-outy-thing’ – real technical, I know) are useful for sucking out stuffy noses or, for the youngest babies, spit up or saliva they may be having trouble swallowing. We like to have this on longer trips, as you never know when baby will need it.
- You may want to bring more than one toy on a longer trip, especially if your little one gets bored easily.
- I like to have two blankets or swaddles with me on longer trips. If your little one is anything like Little E, you never know if they are going to get spit up or other bodily fluids all over one of them!
Additional Formula (if formula-fed)
- Be sure to pack enough formula, bottles, etc. to meet baby’s needs on the trip. I would suggest packing a bit more than you think is necessary. Sometimes, Little E would hit a growth spurt suddenly and unexpectedly!
Additional Burp Cloth
- For longer outings, be sure to pack at least 2 burp cloths.
Momma’s Needs (if not also carrying a purse)
Pain Meds (optional)
- For me, I often found myself with headaches during the first few months of being a new mom. Fatigue and breastfeeding without enough hydration (water, water, water…can’t say it enough!) led to these headaches. So I liked to carry some Tylenol with me on longer journeys.
Change of Clothes (optional)
- If you are going on a day journey, you may want a change of clothes for yourself. There have been a small handful of times that Little E has soiled my clothes when he has soiled his. Thankfully, only one of those was on a trip outside of the house. But I unfortunately didn’t have a change of clothes with me. Even if you don’t put a change in the diaper bag, having one in the car is a smart alternative!
- Again, I have been amazed at how hungry I have been. Breastfeeding has caused me to eat more than I did while pregnant! Even if you aren’t breastfeeding, fatigue can be helped with some healthy snacks to munch on.
What’s in your diaper bag? Share below!
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