What to Pack in a Diaper Bag

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Stepping outside of your home can seem strangely scary after having a baby. How can you possibly consider packing every necessary item your baby may need into a small bag? 

Don’t panic! I’m here to help. I felt the exact same way with my first, but my diaper bag became my parenting Bible! 

I’ll go through exactly what to pack in a diaper bag so that you can explore the big wide world with your little one with confidence and contentment. 

Choosing a Diaper Bag

Forget looking for the latest designer handbag for yourself; your new mission is to find the perfect diaper bag. Who needs fashion when we’re on the lookout for practicality?

We no longer need something shiny sitting over our shoulder, but instead, we need something with the ability to fit everything but the kitchen sink in, hanging proudly from our stroller.

There are many different types and styles of diaper bags, but be sure to find the one that is right for you.


Most importantly, you want a bag with plenty of pockets and lots of space. There are lots of things to carry, and having designated areas in the bag will make it easier for you to find things.

Consider insulated pockets, which will keep bottles warm or snacks cool as needed. 


Next up, get yourself a bag that is ergonomic and easy to carry. Different bag styles allow you to wear the bag in various ways. No matter if you’re carrying it on your back or over your shoulder, make sure it’s comfortable.


Some bags are designed with stroller clips, which are ideal for not losing that precious stroller space underneath! It provides added convenience when you’re taking your little one out in the stroller.


Make sure that the bag material can be easily cleaned, that is machine-washable, or has wipe-clean surfaces. 

Your bag may be holding dirty diapers, dirty clothes, or bottles may leak inside, so ensuring it can be cleaned quickly and easily is essential. 

What to Pack in a Diaper Bag

Now that you’ve got your handy new diaper bag, let’s make sure that you’ve got everything you need to be packed inside it. 

To make the navigation easier for you, I’ve split the items into three categories:

  1. Essentials: The stuff you absolutely need to be carrying.
  2. Extras: Other things that will definitely come in handy in certain situations. 
  3. Mom/dad’s necessities: You’re important too, and so are the things that you need to carry with you. 



We couldn’t call it a diaper bag without making sure it had diapers inside! It’s always better to carry too many than not enough. 

I recommend carrying one for each hour that you’re out of the house, plus a few extras for those just in case moments.

Wet Wipes

The absolute blessings of parenting are our wet wipes. Not only for changing dirty diapers but also for sticky fingers, mucky faces, muddy shoes—the list sure is endless for these little beauties.

If you’re only going out for a short while, you could always stick a few in a plastic bag, otherwise, just take the whole packet with you. Better safe than sorry, right?

Changing Mat

Not everywhere has suitable baby changing facilities, and some are so gross that you wouldn’t even consider changing your baby there.

While most diaper bags come with changing mats nowadays, not all do. If yours doesn’t, then make sure you get one and get it packed into your diaper bag.

Some people prefer single-use mats; however, this can become costly over time. A reusable one is much more environmentally friendly and can be cleaned quickly and easily.

Trash Bags 

You’ll need a few bags with you for soiled diapers and any dirty clothes or blankets that need taking home for washing. 

There are multiple different materials you can get, with most people opting for plastic, but just be careful as plastic bags do pose a suffocation risk.

If you want to step up your game, consider disposable diaper bags instead of trash bags. These are designed with a specific use case in mind, and better suited to the task as a result.

Hand Sanitizer 

You may not always find access to soap and water when you’re out and about. Therefore, hand sanitizer is great for killing germs and keeping your hands clean. 

Sanitizing your hands after changing dirty nappies or touching something unclean will prevent any germs from making you poorly, and prevents you from passing on any germs to your little one. 

You’ll find various different scents to choose from, and pocket-sized bottles are handy enough to pop into your diaper bag without taking up too much precious space. 

Bottles of Milk

If you’re bottle-feeding, make sure you have enough bottles of formula milk or expressed breast milk with you. 

There’s nothing worse than running out of milk and having to rush back home to tender to your hungry baby.

If you have a toddler, make sure you have a sippy cup packed with their favorite drink, whether it be milk, water, or juice. 


For older babies and toddlers, you may need to have a few snacks packed to hand. 

This may be a jar of baby food or some finger foods. Also, don’t forget a spoon if you need it and a few bibs to catch any fallen food.

diapers and wipes


You may need a few for different purposes, so be sure to pack enough blankets.

They can be used as nursing covers for breastfeeding moms or to keep your baby warm, as a changing mat if needed or as a burp cloth. 

Extra Clothes

Poop explosions happen to the best of us, and always at the worst times. Be prepared! 

Keep extra sets of vests, babygrows, and clothes packed in your diaper bag so that you’re ready for any pooping, dribbling, or puking accidents! 


Whether your baby uses a pacifier or has a different type of comforter, make sure you have it packed with you.

Sun Protection 

It may be shady when you leave the house, but our lovely unpredictable weather could catch you off guard.

Be prepared with a sun umbrella, sunscreen, and a hat to protect your baby from dangerous sun rays, should the sun decide on coming out to play.

Emergency Information 

As much as we dread to think about worst-case scenarios, it’s always best to be prepared for them just in case. 

Keep your doctor’s phone number and health insurance card with you at all times. 


Diaper Rash Cream

You never know when those pesky rashes are going to show up, so keep a tube of cream in your bag.


For those endless snotty noses—sorted! 


Precious moments can occur anywhere and at any time, and capturing them on camera makes perfect memories for many years to come.


It may be a squeaky teddy, a book, or a rattle, but pack something to keep your little one entertained while they’re wide awake.

Breast Pads

Perfect for nursing moms to prevent those dreaded wet marks showing through onto your shirt.

First-Aid Kit

You may want to keep a few plasters, bandaids, antibiotic cream, and pain reliever medication with you for any small emergencies you can deal with alone.

Nail Clippers

It’s not a bad idea to keep some nail clippers with you, particularly since they are pretty small.

Mom/Dad’s Necessities 

You can be so preoccupied with meeting your baby’s needs, that you forget yourself! If you’re going out, you may need to consider taking the following:

  • Purse or wallet. 
  • House keys and car keys. 
  • Sunglasses. 
  • Snacks—naughty ones or healthy ones are fine, we won’t tell! 
  • A bottle of water or juice to keep you hydrated.
  • Cell phone. 
  • Pen and paper.
  • A book—because you just might manage to get 20 peaceful minutes to yourself in the park.
  • New shirt in case of any spills or accidents.

All Packed and Ready to Go

So there you have it, a precise and comprehensive list of what to pack in a diaper bag. You’ll never be caught short again, providing you have your trusty diaper bag with you and its important contents packed safely inside.

Don’t be scared about venturing outside with your baby; it will do the both of you the world of good to get some fresh air. Plus, your baby will start to learn about lots of different noises, smells, and colors of the outside world.

Choose the perfect diaper bag that’s suitable for you, pack it full of vital equipment, and get yourselves going! 

Cristin is a co-founder of Smart Parent Advice, and the loving mother of two wonderful children. In her free time, she can often be found in a yoga studio or catching up on her favorite shows.