Prepping for your baby's arrival can be overwhelming at times. What items will you need? How much will you need? Should you pack the whole house in your diaper bag? We've curated a list of must-have items for your diaper bag. First-time moms rest assured, we've got you covered ;)
1) Bottles & Formula OR Nursing Gear
Newborns eat on average every 2-3 hours. This time is counted from the start of one feeding until the beginning of another feeding. If you're planning a 4-hour trip away from the house, we suggest prepping for 2 meals plus an extra (just in case!). Pack 3 bottles in your diaper bag plus individual formula pouches or formula dispensers that work with your bottles. If you're nursing, you may decide to carry a nursing cover or scarf with you. We suggest folding it and rolling into a compact roll that easily fits inside a diaper bag pocket.
2) Diapers & Wipes
Like feeding, your newborn will need a diaper change every 2-3 hours or more. Sometimes it can be every hour! For this 4 hour trip we suggest packing 5 diapers; one per hour plus an extra. Be sure to pack a full-size wipes pack. The small "travel" size packs look super cute and seem very practical, however, one poopy blow-out (yes that's a real thing) will use the whole pack, leaving you with none. Extra wipes always come in handy for cleaning hands, faces and spit up. Do pack a travel size tube of diaper cream. You never know when you'll need it.
3) Extra Set of Clothing
It's a good idea to carry a full extra set of clothing at all times, especially when it comes to newborns. Again, just one poopy blow-out can leave you needing a new onesie, pants, socks and even hat (yes I've seen it happen). Because newborn clothing is so small, it's easy to put together a full outfit (onesie, pants, socks, hat, and bib) and roll it together for easy storage. We've heard of some parents also packing a clean shirt for themselves. This will come in very handy if your infant is prone to spit up frequently.
4) Swaddle Blanket & Burp Cloths
We love the gauze swaddle blankets for many reasons. They are light an airy, yet still, provide warmth for your baby when swaddled. They're big enough to make the swaddling task easier. They make a great sun-shield for your infant when draped over your stroller or car seat. Lastly, the roll up easily making for more efficient storage. Be sure to pack one swaddle cloth (preferably gauze) in your diaper bag. Many parents like to pack separate burp cloths (we suggest 1-2). This ends up being a great idea because you have less of a chance of spit up landing on you or your clothing.
5) Pacifier & Soother
It's always a good idea to pack some sort of soothing device for your infant when on-the-go. Pacifiers work great. A teething toy like Sophie the Giraffe is also a great choice. Some parents will offer their finger instead of a pacifier. This option is the easiest of all to pack :) Real Mom Tip: If you heavily rely on a pacifier, be sure to pack it in a place that's easily accessible. There's nothing worse than digging through your diaper bag, while your infant is screaming, searching for the pacifier. If not placed strategically, it somehow always finds it's way to the absolute bottom of your bag!
Those are the basics and all that you really need for an outing. A good rule of thumb for adding extras to your diaper bag is this. If you know you'll need it within your outing timeframe, pack it. If you likely won't need it but are nervous about leaving it behind, either leave it home or leave in the car (if you're driving). Don't feel the need to pack the entire house when your newborn will likely be sleeping most of your time out.
If you love getting super organized or are looking for a diaper bag alternative, consider using a product like ToteSavvy paired with your favorite tote or diaper bag. Take a look at our photo diary of packing ToteSavvy for a newborn.