There are a few things you should look for when buying a changing bag and think about when packing it.

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  • A waterproof cover
  • Multiple compartments and pockets (helps keep things organised). There are many diaper bags like this one which are great for organisation.
  • Pack things in “groups”. Put everything in neatly for easy access.
  • Use resealable bags for carrying snacks, creams, medicines and smaller items)
  • Pack the most-used items toward the top of the bag, or in an easy-to-reach place in the bag
  • Do not overpack the bag, but do not leave any essentials out
  • Try to keep everything in the changing bag, so you don’t have more than one thing to carry around with you. Trust me, this can get annoying.

The Essentials

1. Diapers (nappies)

If you are going out for a whole day, it would be sensible to take a few more diapers than you think you will need.

An average of 1 diaper for each 1-2 hours you will be out is a good way to think. That way, if your baby has a sudden flash of diarrhoea, you will be ready.


2. Wet wipes and cotton wool pads

You have the choice of using wet wipes or cotton wool pads (and warm water) to clean your baby’s bottom.

Warm water and cotton wool pads are the kinder choice for your new baby’s sensitive skin, as it is softer than using wet wipes.

However, it is a good idea to also carry wet wipes for any “emergency” bum changes (for places where there is no access to hot water), such as in a park etc. and also for dirty hands, faces and surfaces.

There are also other options for what to clean baby with.


3. Nappy cream 

Your baby is guaranteed to get a sore bum at some point in his/her first year. It is essential that you carry a good nappy rash cream in your diaper bag.

There are two main types of nappy-rash creams.

  • Barrier cream (used on every nappy change to try to prevent any rash from occurring)
  • Treatment cream (used when there is already a rash present)

The most common nappy rash creams in the UK are Sudocrem (barrier cream) and Metanium (available as barrier and treatment cream)


4. Pacifier / Dummy

This may not be a necessity for all parents, but some babies go a bit “doolally” if they do not have their pacifier!

If your baby uses a pacifier, make sure you bring it with you – as well as a couple of spares in cases the first one falls on the floor or gets lost.


5. Spare change of clothes

You do NOT want to be caught in the unfortunate situation where you have a baby with poop all over themselves and their clothes, and no spare clothes to put them in.

Poor baby will be very cold until you can get them spares, and you run the risk of them doing another explosive poop all over their pram / car seat.

Make sure you have at least one spare change of clothes for your baby in your diaper bag.


6. Changing Mat

What do you intend to lay your baby on while you change him/her?

Even if you are changing them in a designated baby changing area, not all parents completely sanitise the area after using it.

It is safer to take along your own changing mat to avoid those horrible bugs that are so prevalent in such places.

You can find changing mats like this one which have cool little areas to put extras in (saving valuable diaper bag space).

Some diaper bags even come with a changing mat included!


7. Perfumed nappy bags

What do you expect to do with all the poopy nappies? Push them by hand into the bin and risk getting poo all over yourself?

No, of course not.

You will need some nappy bags to put them into before you throw them away.

These nappies also leave a horrible stench in your bin, if not put into tied nappy bags.


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8. Hand Sanitiser

As was already mentioned, you will find yourself in a situation where you have poop on your hands.

Don’t be that woman!

Keep a small tub of hand sanitiser in a side-pocket of the bag and keep your hands nice and clean…don’t forget those hands will be touching your babys face.

You DO want them clean.


9. Formula or Milk (or juice and water for older babies and toddlers)

New babies need to drink between 150ml – 200ml per Kg of their body weight. If your baby weighs around 4kg, he/she will need between 600ml – 800ml of milk per day.

Don’t panic if baby does not drink this much. Just mention it the next time you go to the baby clinic or a routine check up. If you are really worried, you can always ask your baby’s doctor for advice.

This means that you should stick a couple of bottles in your diaper bag for the day.


10. Snacks

Many babies start eating soft food (puree) from the age of just 6 months. You might want to take some jars of baby food or finger foods with you. 

Do not forget to pack yourself some sandwiches, biscuits – maybe even a flask.


11. Bibs

If you intend to feed your child while during the day (which, I very much hope you do!), you will need bibs.

Babies dribble. It is known.


12. Muslin Cloths

Tissues and bibs can run and get used up very fast when you have a baby.

Muslin cloths are a fantastic replacement for tissues. You can take one along with you and they will clean up every spill, every mess and every spit-up.

Don’t waste bibs to clean baby sick or spit-up, as it just wastes the bib.

After you have finished feeding baby, you should swap the bib for a muslin cloth! 

Muslin cloths are much cheaper and just one can last you well for an entire day (they are pretty big when unfolded).


13. Toys

Choose some toys which are appropriate for your baby’s age.

Take some rattles for younger babies and a colouring book and crayons for older babies or toddlers.

Stickers always seem to go down well at any age!

These awesome little hand and feet puppets are super fun for babies to play with (and keep them distracted) when you are changing their bottoms.


14. Little Red Book

In the UK, parents are given a “little red book” to keep all the details of their baby’s immunisations, growth tracking, medical meetings, baby clinic appointment minutes etc.

You should carry this book (or the equivalent for your country) in your diaper bag at all times.

If you have an emergency and need to go to the hospital or doctors, this book should be presented and can help the doctors to know how to treat in the best way for your baby.

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Essentials for Mum

When you are lugging a huge changing bag around on the pram with a baby, you don’t need another bag to haul around too!

Keep the following items in the same changing bag (preferably one like this, which has pockets).

  • Purse
  • House / Car keys
  • Mobile phone
  • Tissues
  • Pen and paper
  • Nursing top or nursing sling (if breastfeeding)
  • Breast Pads
  • Snacks and water or juice
  • Book or magazine (when baby sleeps, you might want to relax with a good read)
  • New shirt in case of spit-up or a spill
  • First-aid kit (including Calpol sachets and plasters – for toddlers)



Featured image: Shelbey Miller


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