diaper bag essentials

14 Diaper Bag Essentials You Don’t Want to Leave the House Without + Free Checklist

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Have you ever reached into your diaper bag to grab something really quickly only to find what you’re looking for isn’t there?? I’m here to make sure that doesn’t happen! This post is all about the 14 diaper bag essentials you don’t want to leave the house without.

Diaper bags are such a beautiful and stressful thing. If done right, you can just grab that puppy and head out without a second thought! Done wrong and you can spend as much time packing it for a short trip as you do your suitcase. Trust when I say that I’ve spent far too long packing that sucker up to even count which is why I came up with this diaper bag essentials list to help you and I to spend less time packing it up and more time having fun! This post is all about the 14 diaper bag essentials you don’t want to leave the house without.


1. Diaper Bag

Too cheesy? Hear me out! If you don’t have a good diaper bag that will fit all of the essentials you need AND that will make it easy to grab and store items, you’re already setting yourself up for failure! The right diaper bag is super essential.

There are so many diaper bags out there that it seems super overwhelming. I am partial to two, but they are definitely an investment: Fawn Design and Freshly Picked. I love these because they are cute and functional. They both have a million pockets and are so insanely easy to clean. I’ve had mine for over 2 years, and the outsides don’t look at all dirty or used. It’s so great! If I had to pick my favorite, I would have to say the Fawn Design bag. I love it because it’s not as tall as the Freshly Picked bag (short torso over here) and the interior pockets are leather and feel sturdier.

2. Diapers (6) and Wipes

Diapers and wipes. Of all of the diaper bag items, this one seems like a no-brainer, right? Oh, I wish. I can’t tell you how many times I haven’t had enough though! As a rule of thumb now, I keep at least 6 DIAPERS in my bag at all times. It seems insane, especially now that Ollie’s getting older and his diapers are bigger, but I can’t tell you how many times I’ve reached in for a diaper only to find that I have one or two left. Of the six.

As for wipes, I’ve tried buying the little travel wipe bags for the diaper bag and that got expensive. I also used to use a Ziploc which was super inefficient when trying to do things one handed. I decided to invest in an actual, refillable travel case for wipes and it was a good investment for sure. You just slide them in through the top and pull them out through the dispenser. Super easy and super efficient.

3. Changing Pad

A diaper changing pad is key. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that you do not need this for quick diaper changes when you’re out and about. I know I did and I ended up with poop on the changing table in the airport bathroom that I had to try to scrub off. So here’s the thing with the changing pad. I have yet to find a good one that isn’t too big and bulky. However, I have been using this Gathre Micro + Mat as a changing pad and it’s worked marvelously! It’s easy to clean up and folds up super small.

4. Sustenance a.k.a. snacks and drinks for babe AND you

Whether you are in the baby stage or the toddler stage, having snacks in your diaper bag is so clutch. Snacks will vary by age, but individually packaged snacks for when they get older is best. We go for fruit snacks, fruit leather, gold fish, and other small snacks that they can eat on their own and that you can snack on if you need it. When they are tiny, snacks may include yogurt melts or puffs.

Now for drinks. I recommend having a sippy cup or a bottle (depending on the stage of your child) whose sole purpose is to live in the diaper bag. Of course you will need to wash it once it’s been used, but it goes right back in when it’s done. This will ensure that you never accidentally leave the house without one. In our experience, we could always find water, but trying to get a sippy cup or bottle was pretty impossible If you have a formula-fed baby, also keep a formula container in your diaper bag at all times.

Here are the best bottles, sippy cups (that actually don’t leak!), and formula dispensers.

5. Extra Outfit & Socks

This is super important whether you have a baby or a toddler. Something always happens. Just the other day, we were at the park and Oliver found a drinking fountain that was his height and before we could stop him, his shirt was soaked! Did I have an extra shirt? I did not. I thought he was past this! Don’t sweat what you put in though! This is the equivalent to your kid’s laundry outfit. It just has to keep them clothed until you get home.

Also socks. I don’t know what happens to these buggers, but look away for a second, and a sock will disappear. Having an extra pair of socks will help keep your little babe’s toes from getting too cold. Unless it’s the summer. Then disregard everything I just said.

6. Extra Pacifier & Strap

Similar to the bottles and sippy cups, I highly recommend having a pacifier that lives in the diaper bag. This will prevent you from ever having nothing to comfort a fussy baby. We have loved our Nuk pacifiers so much and highly recommend them.

As for a strap, we don’t really use them at home, but we live for them when we’re out and about. A strap has helped save many a pacifier from an untimely death off the side of a stroller or down the road.

7. Toy or Book

Now that Ollie is older, he is able to pack his little backpack with toys he wants to take in the car or wherever he’s going. However, when they are little, it’s always helpful to have some sort of little toy or book that you can have your child play with if they are extra fussy or anything. We had some board books in his diaper bag for a long time that Ollie still looks at to this day. If your child is teething, having some sort of teething toy in there can be helpful. I’ll link the best board book set for your diaper bag and Ollie’s favorite teething toy.

8. Burb Cloths or Bibs

The first key to keeping your baby clean while out and about is to always have something to protect their clothes. Too preachy? But in all seriousness, having a burp cloth when they are tiny and a bib when they get older will catch all the nasties that may have ended up on your sweet child and their cute clothes! For bibs, I highly recommend Saturday Baby. They have such cute little silicone bibs that clean so easily and catch all the messes. My brother calls it a feeding trough. I call it genius.

9. Nursing Cover 

If you are still nursing, this is one you do not want to forget! There are so many out there that double as car seat covers and are super easy to store. I didn’t nurse for very long, so I don’t have a lot of experience in which is the best. However, these two have super good Amazon reviews and may be worth checking out!

10. Diaper Trash Bags

Imagine changing a poopy diaper in the back of your car on a road trip and not having a trash can to put the diaper in. Girl, you do not want to be in a car for too long with that diaper! These SCENTED trash bags will keep the stench at bay until you can dispose of the culprit. In fact, you actually won’t be able to smell the diaper! They are glorious and are a diaper bag essential that will keep certain smells under control.

11. Disinfecting Wipes and Hand Sanitizer

Especially in this post-pandemic world, having disinfecting wipes and hand sanitizer as part of your diaper bag essentials is super important. Amazon sells this cute little ten-pack of disinfectant wipes that will last a while. Bonus – they smell so good. As for hand sanitizer, I recommend the little bottles that fit so well in your diaper bag. If you can get the ones from Bath and Body Works, I highly recommend those.

12. Medicine & Diaper Rash Cream & Lotion

Ever since Oliver started teething, we’ve always kept Tylenol and teething tablets in the diaper bag. We’ve gone a couple of times without them and poor baby had to wait until we got home to get medicine or relief for his teething little mouth. These bottles are pretty small and should easily fit in one of your diaper bag pockets.

As for diaper rash cream, you never know when you’re going to open up a diaper to find a red bum. Keep a little tub in the diaper bag and you will always be prepared to heal your little baby’s bum.

Lotion is life. Especially in the winter. For both of you. Help those little hands stay moisturized and keep them from getting too dry!

13. Tiny First Aid Kit

I didn’t need this so much when Ollie was younger, but now that he is older, this has been a lifesaver. Just the other day, we were heading into Cozy Earth to buy some bedding and he trips and skins his knee. Thank goodness for this! Also, how cute is this little kit?! Amazon does it again. Everything has it’s own little compartment and is so perfectly organized, just like your diaper bag will be!

14. Insurance Cards

I highly recommend always keeping a copy of your health insurance card in the diaper bag. If something were to happen, especially if you are not with your child, you always want to make sure that your baby can get the care he or she needs right away.

That’s it! There are definitely other things you will want to add to your own diaper bag, but this diaper bag checklist includes items that will save your bacon if you are in a pickle. Let me know what other diaper bag items you have in your diaper bag!

This post was all about diaper bag essentials that every mama needs.

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