This post is long overdue, but I owe it to the moms: expecting, new and current; as it’s a recurring question and topic that I get asked about often.
We all know that becoming a parent and toting your petite plus one (or plus a few) no longer means just grabbing your keys and wallet. For newborns, you essentially need to figure out how to pack the entire nursery…it literally becomes of plethora of necessities that you must have on you at all times. This turns into an art to be mastered over time with lots of strategy to consider, and if you’re contingency-driven like me – you pack extras of everything in the event of needed disaster relief. Besides, look at the times we’re! (Gahhh!)
Those that drive regularly, have a slight advantage since a lot of these items can be kept perfectly organized in your car and out of your bag; but with how unpredictable newborns can be, you’re kind of still stuck toting a lot. For those urbanites who don’t drive, are heavily on foot or in and out of Ubers and public transportation (helloooo NY’ers!) then make sure you have an awesome stroller basket or the ability to bear an extra 10 lbs when out with baby…even if just for the most casual of neighborhood strolls!
As for the light at the end of the tunnel: the need for carrying baby/toddler goods and hefty lugging does in fact regress with age. As does the labor, since eventually our children will get old enough to tote around their own belongings. However as we are in the time of still being bag ladies (and men), there are ways to make the best of it!
First, let’s look at what I consider diaper bag essentials, or really – what I used to and currently pack:
NEWBORN TO 6 MONTHS
1. INSIDE OF A SKIP HOP DIAPER CLUTCH
- 4 Diapers
- 1 Babo Botanicals Diaper Cream
- 1 Travel Sized Water Wipes Baby Wipes
- 1 Mini BabyBum Brush
- 1 BabyGanics Foam Hand Sanitizer
2. INSIDE OF A SKIP HOP INSULATED BOTTLE BAG
- 2 Pura Kiki Bottles
- (Prepped and Ready)
- 1 Tommee Tippee Travel Bottle Warmer
- (disclosure: my next kid will not be getting warm bottles, ever…smh!)
3. MESH ZIPPER POUCH WITH:
- 1 Extra BabyGanics Foam Hand Sanitizer
- 1 Pack of Dr. Brown’s Pacifier & Bottle Wipes
- (made of baking soda and good for anything that falls on the floor if you don’t have immediate access to a sink)
- 1 Pack of Babyganics Table, Toy, & Highchair Wipes
- (different than regular baby wipes – these have non-toxic cleaning agents to sanitize nasty germs on surfaces)
- 1 Pack of Babyganics Anti Bacterial Wipes
- 1 Multipurpose Ointment
- 1 Travel Sized Baby Lotion
- 1 Small Nasal Aspirator
- 1 Nail Clipper
- 1 Travel Sized Babyganics Bottle & Dish Soap
- 1 Microwaveable Sanitizer Bag
3. AND IN THE REST OF THE BAG…
- 1 Lovey Toy
- 1 Sensory Toy
- 1 extra change of clothes; and a top for me
- 1 Skip Hop Wet/Dry Bag
- (in case of spit up accidents)
- 2 Aden & Anais Burpy Bibs
- Disposable Change Pads
- (You should know that not every bathroom has a changing table, and sometimes the changing mat that your bag may come with just isn’t big enough; so please pack these because at some point you just might have to change a diaper on the floor.)
- Nipple Pads
- 1 Earth Mama Nipple Butter
- 1 Aden & Anais Muslin Blanket
- 1 Baby Hair Brush or Comb
The list here changes a bit since at 6-months we introduced solids, so it ended up being:
- Our Skip Hop Diaper Clutch and the essentials listed above remained the same
- Our Skip Hop Bottle Bag got the relief of one less Pura Kiki bottle but instead we added Beaba Glass Baby Food Containers for packing solid foods
- We still toted the Tommee Tippee Travel Bottle Warmer
- The zippered pouch of baby toiletries remained the same
- I still packed a sensory toy, ditched the lovey, but now made sure to pack a LexyPexy wooden teething toy
- I still packed the extra change of clothes
- Since we were teething, we now packed Cheeky Chompers drool bibs
- Being that we had an avid foodie on our hands thanks to our successful baby led weaning, we also started packing a OXO Tot Roll Up Silicone Bib
- And our fancy foodie needed utensils so we often changed between Beaba or OlaBaby silicone spoons
- We still packed our disposable changing pad, hair brush, as well as our muslin swaddle blanket
- No longer did we pack nipple cream or nipple pads
- Now, we also packed organic snacks such as Sprout Puffs, and NurturMe and Happy Familypouches
1 YEAR OLD TO NOW*
(CURRENTLY 19-MONTHS AT THE TIME OF THIS POST*)
A few items have gone away while some remain the same…
- Depending on what bag I’m using, I may or may not use the diaper clutch now. As your tot gets older, so will their bladder control, and you will no longer be changing a diaper every two hours. That said, we still pack his diapers but instead of four we only tote around three. We still take around the diaper cream, travel wipes, sanitizer and BabyBum Brush.
- We no longer pack any bottles for milk. We now use an insulated Pura Kiki bottle to carry water.
- We still carry our zippered mesh pouch with our goodies sans the nasal aspirator. However, now in full-blown toddler phase we added: band-aids, first-aid ointment, and seasonal items such as sunblock or bug repellent.
- We still carry our disposable change pads (we’ve discovered newer uses now that @littlemrgray is 110% mobile)
- Our toys to carry are now: 2-3 Wooden Toys, 1-2 Mini Board Books.
- We still carry an extra change of clothes and our OXO Tot Roll Up Bib, but now our toddler dines with stainless steel utensils so we carry OXO Tot On-The-Go Travel Utensils.
- And, while dining is a topic – the need to always have snacks on hand has become a must so in addition to the ready items like pouches/crackers/cereal etc (we stopped consumption of puffs a 12 months), we also usually carry either a stainless steel bento box or a Stasher silicone bag full of foods.
AVOIDING THE “DIAPER BAG” DIAPER BAG
‘Let’s just stay away from these kinds of bags if we can…” – Dads Everywhere
Now just because we as parents have been summoned to tote all of this in addition to our kid and stroller, there are a few ways to lug it around fashionably! The first piece of advice I give to expecting mom’s when entering the diaper bag market is to skip the overly “cute” and feminine diaper bags altogether. They’re just as bad as cartoon character bags in my opinion, honestly. Reasons being? Well, chances are that Dad won’t want to carry that paisley print bag around regardless of what it cost you. So to avoid having dad feel embarrassed or a way about carrying around your baby’s must-haves, I feel it’s best to go for a dad-friendly bag; preferably in neutral colors and minimally adorned. Below are some of my faves that are not too overly feminine or too overly baby:
If dad’s opinion or feelings aren’t a factor in your diaper bag decisions and you’re just seeking something stylish, then check out some of these which I love:
And finally, for the crowd that wants to skip the “diaper bag” purchase all together and rather make use of their existing bags instead, here’s my number one hack and solution that some may or may not know about – the ToteSavvy designed by Life In Play!
ToteSavvy is a genius compartment organizer that is designed to store every one of your diaper bag essentials in the most clever of ways. The organizer then can be carried into and out of any bag, tote or backpack; instantly transforming your existing bag into an organized diaper bag, letting you not miss a beat and pack all you need for your little one!
The original (seen here) is in no way shy of space. It comes in various colors to match different bag interiors and packs an insulated pocket for bottles and cold/hot food containers, several large pockets for things like toys, diapers, and anything else you can think of. There’s a clasp for keys and other hanging items. A pocket for your phone. It comes with a changing pad. There’s a flat pocket for things like documents. And there’s a larger pocket to pack soiled items or a spare change of clothes. In addition to the original, there’s also the ToteSavvy Mini as well for medium and smaller purses and even smaller backpacks.
What I love most about the ToteSavvy the most as that once it’s packed with what you need, that’s it. It has two handles where you can effortlessly just pop it in and out of any bag and voila – you’re always good to go!
In mine I have everything I need for. Snacks. Toys. Diapers. Sanitizer. Bottle. Books. Extra Clothes. All of our liquid goodies and more. So let the ToteSavvy be your stylish hack for doing away with ugly diaper bags! It’s only around $74.99 – cheaper than a lot of diaper bags on the market – and I promise, worth every penny!