What’s In My Diaper Bag

Diaper Bag

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What to Pack in Your Diaper Bag

What to Pack in Your Diaper Bag

Diaper Bag

I spent the last two weeks of my pregnancy obsessed with what people carry in their diaper bags. I was 13 days overdue, so everything that needed to get done had been accomplished weeks prior. My house was clean. My freezer was stocked with food. The nursery closet was organized. The hospital bag was packed. My work had all been wrapped up. I was basically just sitting around simmering. So, I needed to focus on something, and I focused on repeatedly Googling what people carried in their diaper bags.

Diaper Bag

It was such a crazy concept to me that there was this magic bag that every parent carried around that held all the tools to keeping a tiny human alive and happy. I wanted to make sure I had the most well-stocked diaper bag ever. I know, it was a weird obsession, but I was 400 months pregnant and it was 95 degrees outside, so my brain wasn’t really firing on all cylinders.

Now that I’ve been actually using a diaper bag for eight months, I can tell you, it isn’t even as close to as big of a deal as my über pregnant mind made it out to be. Honestly, it barely even leaves the car when we go anywhere. That being said, I still think it is interesting to hear what tools parents find so important that they have given them some of the valuable diaper bag real estate. So, I thought I’d share my diaper bag essentials, just in case there is another two-week overdue pregnant lady frantically Googling to pass the time.

Diaper Bag

First up, the bag. We use a SkipHop Duo diaper bag in Heather Gray. We picked this bag because it was something that we felt like we could use even once we were past the diaper-bag stage. It’ll make a nice laptop bag or work bag. And it does. In fact, I used it to haul my laptop and supplies back and forth to the coffee shop while I was writing my cookbook while I was pregnant. It was big enough to hold my laptop, papers, snacks and water.

That being said, it has been a bit small for our diaper-carrying needs. It’s a good size bag, and we can cram everything we need into it, but because our cloth diapers are so bulky, a half day’s worth can take up about half the bag’s capacity. I don’t think we need a bigger bag, but it is always a struggle wrangling it all in. I could pare down what we carry, but since we live so far away from everything, it can be hard knowing you’re going to be away from home for a half day or more and can’t just pop home to grab something.

I can see needing something bigger in the future when we want to pack snacks, water, and larger toys. We may have to upgrade (or just move on to a backpack we already have kicking around). I’ve also thought about just packing all of this stuff up into a storage tote in our car and leaving it in there—and just tossing a few odds and ends in my purse if I need them while we are away from the car. But for now, we’re sticking with the bag.

Diaper Bag

A few other issues I have with this bag—I don’t love that the top doesn’t have a closure. Well, it does, but it’s a magnet that is downright laughable when the whole bag is full. I wish it had a zipper or drawstring or snap or something more secure. I’ve heard their newest version does have a zip-top closure.

My last pet peeve with this bag—the diaper pad that comes with it doesn’t fit in the pocket well at all. It’s all nice and smooth when the bag is empty, but the second the bag has anything in it, it’s a pain to get the pad back in the pocket.

Okay, enough talk about the bag itself. Let’s talk about what’s inside. Of course, we start with the obvious—diapering supplies.

Diaper Bag

  1. BumGenius Freetimes—We usually keep four diapers in the bag at all times. They stack nicely in the bottom of the bag. It’s enough for about 8-10 hours. Learn more about why we chose these diapers in this post.
  2. Purple Prairie Botanicals Hand Sanitizer—I’m a little obsessed with Purple Prairie. All of their products work so well, and they are plant-based with nothing yucky in them. We keep a small bottle of this hand sanitizer in the diaper bag, and a larger one on the changing table.
  3. Spray Wipes Solution—For our solution, we use a squirt or two of Kissaluvs Diaper Lotion Potion, some witch hazel, a few drops of tea tree oil, and boiled water (we never really measure it). We use these two ounce glass spray bottles for the solution.
  4. GroVia Magic Stick—This is our favorite diaper rash stick. It goes on smooth and is cloth diaper friendly.
  5. Stain Remover Spray—We’ve been fortunate enough to avoid any diaper blowouts that require a stain spray, but I’m guessing we’ll need it soon for grass stains, strawberry stains, and other messy stuffs that come along with a kid.
  6. Small Planet Wise Wet Bag and Cloth Wipes — We go back and forth with packing dry wipes or packing pre-moistened wipes (it usually just depends on if we have any dry wipes kicking around). If we do pack wet wipes. We put them in this small wet bag to keep everything in the diaper bag dry. It’s a little big for that purpose, but Planet Wise recently came out with a smaller wipe pouch that would be perfect.
  7. Medium Planet Wise Wet Bag—This is what we keep in the diaper bag to hold soiled diapers. It’ll hold four Freetimes, plus some clothes and wipes no problem. And it does a nice job of keeping everything, um, contained.

Next up, the clothes. The weather where we live changes in an instant (literally, it can be 75 degrees and sunny in the morning, and snowing by that afternoon), so we go a little overboard with extras in the diaper bag in case we are caught out on one of those crazy weather days.

Diaper Bag

  1. Change of Clothes—This is usually just a onesie (long sleeve) plus a pair of pants and some socks. Can you believe we’ve only had to use this change of clothes on her once in our entire eight months of parenthood?
  2. Green Sprouts Bib—This originally was in the diaper bag because JuneBug had severe reflux, but now that she’s grown out of that, it’s in there to help when she’s drooling from teething or if we happen to give her some solid food while we’re out and about.
  3. Weather-y Layers—We throw in a light sweater, a warm hat, a sun hat, and an extra pair of mittens. In the summer, we just had the sweater and the sun hat.
  4. Zebi Baby Muslin Swaddle Blanket—These blankets are my jam. They are large (larger than the much loved Aden and Anais ones), organic, and super soft. They obviously work well as a blanket, but we also use them for all kinds of other things. It’s a great sun shade. Or a nursing cover (although I only use a nursing cover when Juniper is distracted, and I need to keep her from looking around).
  5. OsoCozy Cloth Diaper (Burp Cloth)—We’re almost past the burp cloth stage, but it’s still a good thing to have around. I may or may not have used a burp cloth as a napkin in the car before.

Next up, the most important items as far as Juniper is concerned—the toys! We gauge how many toys to bring based on how long we are going to be out. Since we live in the middle of nowhere, it’s a pretty long trek to do any errands, so we admittedly pack quite a few things to keep her entertained. And of course, these are always changing based on what is a favorite at the time, but we try to keep to these “types” of toys.

Diaper Bag

  1. Interactive Plushie—The toy of choice right now is this one from Alex Jr (we call him Alan, long story), but any toy with a million different “parts” works. This one has crinkly and crunchy and jingles and squeakers and things to chew on. It’s our toy of choice if we just pick one thing to go with us.
  2. Floor Toy—Something to play with if we happen to end up where she’s crawling around. She’s liking these wooden pull toys from Hape right now.
  3. Oball—The Oball has been a toy she has loved since she was only a few months old. It’s still a favorite in our house! It’s great now because she can roll it and chase after it now that she is mobile.
  4. Stroller Toy—I normally toss one stroller toy (with the clip) in the bag that is small enough to toss in my purse or attach to the car seat or carrier. This Skip Hop Owl has been a favorite for months and months. The chime/jingle sound is so friendly and happy—it pretty much automatically makes her smile.
  5. Book—We always have a book with us. She loves looking at them (and let’s be honest, chewing on them), and they are a nice way to pass time in a waiting room. Peek-a-who? is a favorite right now.
  6. Taggie Blanket—More often than not, we can hand her this blanket while she is tired in the car, and she’ll just stare at the tags until she falls asleep. It’s magic!

And then, everything else that we wedge into a pocket.

Diaper Bag

  1. Water—I don’t go anywhere without water. The side pocket on our diaper bag is just barely big enough to fit my giant 40 ounce Klean Kanteen.
  2. Tissues
  3. Paper and Pen—This has a list of important numbers (pediatrician, emergency contacts, etc.) on the first page.
  4. Purple Prairie Botanicals SunStick—All-natural mineral sunscreen that’s good for baby and parent. We keep a little one ounce sample size in the diaper bag for sunny emergencies.
  5. Motherlove Diaper Rash—We don’t use this stuff for diaper rash, but it is a really good all around moisturizer and balm for bumps and scratches and dry skin.
  6. Aleva Naturals Bamboo Toy Wipes—These are great for when a certain favorite toy ends up on the floor of a public restroom.
  7. First Aid Kit
  8. Keen Wallet—When I do take the diaper bag in somewhere, I usually leave my purse behind and just toss my wallet into the diaper bag. This wallet is one of my favorite things ever—it comes with a strap to make it into a small purse, and it is big enough to hold all my essentials (phone, keys, lip balm) without being massive.
  9. Snacks—Of course, I don’t go anywhere without snacks. During the early days of parenthood, we had an entire compartment of the diaper bag devoted to granola bars. And many days, those granola bars were the only sustenance we got.

And that’s it! Of course, the contents of this bag are ever-changing as the needs of Juniper change. A few months ago, I wouldn’t have walked out the door without at least three burp cloths. In a few more months, we’ll need to pack snacks for her. Tomorrow, she might decide she’s over Alan. It’s constantly evolving, but this is a good picture of where we are at with an eight month old.

What’s a must have in your diaper bag?

Cassie is the founder and CEO of Wholefully. She's a home cook and wellness junkie with a love of all things healthy living. She lives on a small hobby farm in Southern Indiana with her husband, daughter, two dogs, two cats, and 15 chickens.

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17 Responses
  1. Grace

    I love seeing the contents of a diaper bag… my daughter is three and it makes me so nostalgic! Those O-balls and taggy blankets are great – my daughter STILL plays with her o-ball sometimes, and her taggy blankets is something she sleeps with every night. I will say that once your daughter is well and truly mobile and running around, a transition to a backpack is a great idea. I found it a million times easier at playgrounds and the children’s museum – I never had to worry about setting down a diaper bag or having a shoulder strap falling off, and I always had both hands free to help my daughter onto and off things, and to go down the slide on occasion myself. 🙂
    And the other nice thing about cloth diapers, they say kids with cloth diapers potty train easier and earlier, and we found that to be true – my daughter was a little over two when she potty trained, and it only took two days (since she was used to knowing what it felt like to have a wet or dirty bottom) and we were able to drop the diaper bag completely! 😀

  2. Sarah

    Ours is so minimal at this point. We have a Jeep brand backpack that works well. It usually has a sippy cup of water, some sort of snacks for J, diapers & wipes, change of clothes, spare pacifier, aden + anais blanket, and teething tablets (as well as whatever we would need for ourselves). But really, we haven’t gone many places where we’ve needed the bag for a full day or so out of the house – either we’re gone for a short amount of time, or one of us goes while the other stays home (grocery shopping).

  3. Peek-a-Who? is the most adorable kids book ever. After 4 kids mine is trashed… I think I’ll get the new baby it again for Christmas or something because we LOVE IT! And my water bottle looks like yours too… well loved 🙂 This was a fun post!

  4. Jessica

    I have the same diaper bag and am looking to move on – i HATE that it doesn’t stay up when I put it on the counter! Always falling over! And no insulated pocket. Things I never considered! Also, for anyone cloth diapering….I have friends that bring disposable diapers when they’re out because it’s a lot less stuff to carry. Just a thought.

    We live in a city, and I hate carrying a lot of things. But a change of clothes is really, really necessary!!!

  5. My diaper bag has very little in it. I’ve found over the years that I just don’t use it that much. In fact, if I’m out for less than an hour it doesn’t even come with me anymore. Right now I keep diapers, wipes, diaper bag (because we use cloth), sleeper, burb cloth, snacks and a few small toys that stay in the bag. (Side note here silk scarves are great. They take up such a small amount of space but kids can come up with lots of imitative uses of them!) Other than that it’s some small things like kleenex and bandaids. I have had the same diaper bag for over 7 years and it’s great. $50ish at toys r us.

    Definitely keep things in the car! I always have some extra diapers, blanket, wipes, and snacks in my trunk.

  6. Rashada

    I’m a big fan of the “stuff a diaper bag with half a day/a full day of diapers, wipes, change or two of clothes (for baby and mom) and basic other necessities like food/dishes/cups/etc”

    Then I usually have a purse big enough that I can just throw a diaper and a travel pack of wipes into it.
    This allows me to not be lugging around a diaper bag, but lets me know I’ve got everything I need in the car if I’m out longer or we have a diaper emergency.

    When you do this you have to make sure you remember to refresh it when you use something, and swap out clothing for season or size.

    Anther problem with the leave it in the car method is that we are located in the midwest and are in the middle of the winter. So packages of wipes (or spray bottles) freeze up and are not usable.

    Side note: After you posted about waffles a while back, I bought a waffle iron (the one you said your mom has) and have been making waffles at least once a week for the kids.

    I’ve usually had enough left from each batch to have a few in the freezer for easy school day breakfasts for my oldest. It’s be so fantastic.

    So thank you very much for writing that post!

  7. Whitney

    We threw the diaper bag (well, my Mountain Smith Tour Lumbar pack) by the wayside a while ago. It stays in the car for nursery visits on Sunday mornings. I bought myself a small Vera Bradley backpack purse and use it these days. The main compartment holds the diaper changing pouch, snacks, cups and a small toy. Little bit is 13.5 months old, so we are pretty light on gear these days. Why play with your own things when you can get into ALL the other things?

  8. Rachel

    Our cloth diapering supplies are nearly identical. We love the book Peek a Who here too right now. One thing we always have with us is a compact toddler worthy carrier (at 14 mo my son still loves his quick ups). It is a must if we are out during nap time. We have a really lovely wrap conversion ring sling that is my go to. Short woven wraps (size 2 or 3) are also perfect because they can double as a scarf when babe is not being worn. When babywearing we keep the diaper bag in the car (I have a huge Kavu bag that I love). We’re not quite to the stage where my son is always walking when we’re out, but when we get there then we will switch to a small backpack, I think.

  9. Jenny

    One thing I like about your bag is that a dad could carry it without being embarrassed — it’s not covered in flowers or teddy bears and doesn’t look like a purse. We used a green backpack from REI because I didn’t want to be stuck carrying the diaper bag all the time! This made it useful after we stopped needing a diaper bag, as well.

  10. I really enjoyed this post and have been wondering the same thing, even though I’m 6 months off actually meeting my little one. After seeing everything you’ve crammed in, I’m thinking the bigger the better in terms of bags!

  11. I have the same diaper bag and with my three month old and find it way to small – actually it may not be too small but since it is narrow and tall and find things drop to the bottom and are a mission to find or get…. so am now on the hunt for something else…. I’m tossing up between a Kipling Alanna or a Ju-Ju-Be Be Prepared.

  12. Becky D

    Thank you so much for sharing your items of choice for baby care – as a first time mom this info is so helpful – of course I did way too much research and now only 2 days away from due date. I am so happy that everything I summed up from lots of other sources is so nicely set up in your blog posts !!! We have so many of the same ideas/choices that it makes me feel more confident 🙂

    1. Becky D

      Ps. We got the “double’ version of the diaper bag you choose because the single one got such great reviews, but we anticipate cloth diapers to take up decent amount of space. It is big but as an overpacker I think I will love it, especially with a wider top it is more accessible… actual use to be determined !

  13. Well Cassie, I think you have managed to squeeze a lot in to your bag! I had to stop by and say that I think your bag contents is the most colourful that i have seen! Those toys are soooooooooooo cute! MIght need to invest in some for my baby-love!
    I also find having an extra top for myself is super handy, for any boob leaks or spit ups etc.

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