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Guille Faingold/Stocksy United

Not sure what to pack in your diaper bag? No problem, we’ve got the scoop!

From diapers and wipes to ointment, nipple cream, and lip balm, the items you stash in this must-have bag can make or break a day out with your little one.

When it comes to packing, less is best. Some things you’ll be able to keep in the diaper bag at all times, like diapers and a change of clothes.

But others — like breast milk and snacks — should only get tossed in before you head out the door. Not only does this keep your bag from overflowing, but it also prevents spilled food from marinating for days on end.

While you can’t anticipate every need your baby may have, a well-stocked diaper bag gives you the freedom to be ready to go at a moment’s notice.

Here, we go over the items all parents must have in their diaper bag, plus a few unexpected items you might not have considered.

  • Diapers. Make sure to have at least five diapers packed — or calculate two for every hour you’re gone.
  • Disposable wipes. Try to pack a regular-size package of wipes, but travel-size works if space is an issue.
  • Diaper cream. You never know when diaper rash might set in.
  • Diaper disposal bags. You’ll want bags you can use for dirty diapers and wipes when a trash isn’t readily available.
  • Reusable wet bag. Use this for soiled clothes, so they don’t stink up the rest of your diaper bag.
  • Change of clothes. Two outfits should suffice, and don’t forget an extra onesie.
  • Burp cloth. Save your clothes: bring a burp cloth.
  • Hand sanitizer. Keep it in a plastic bag in case it leaks.
  • Light travel-size blanket. This can be used as a car seat cover when baby falls asleep on the go, a ground cover when playing at the park, or a breastfeeding cover if you want privacy when feeding in public.
  • Portable changing pad. Make sure it folds up and tucks easily in a pocket.
  • Pacifiers. If you use pacifiers, pack at least two, and carry them in a sealable bag.
  • Travel-size first aid kit. Kit essentials include bandages, first aid cream, sanitizing wipes, liquid Tylenol, and a digital thermometer.

If you’ll be out and about during mealtime, make sure to pack enough food. Depending on your baby’s age, what you pack will vary.

  • Formula. Pre-measure for each feeding and place it in a portable formula dispenser or bottle.
  • Water for formula. Bring bottled water to add to your formula when you’re ready to feed the baby.
  • Pumped breast milk. Pack bottles in a portable cooler (pumped breast milk is only good at room temperature for about 4 hours).

If your baby is already eating solid foods, you’ll also want to include:

  • bib and spoon
  • snack container with a lid
  • small snacks like puffs
  • baby food
  • sippy cup with water

  • Small soft toys. Include one that doubles as a teether.
  • Sunscreen. Consider a travel-size tube of sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher for babies 6 months and older.
  • Hat. Pack a sunhat for sure, and a warm hat if you think the temperature may drop.

We don’t always think to pack the diaper bag for ourselves, but when you get caught in an unplanned situation, here are some things you’ll be happy to have:

  • extra shirt (or two!)
  • hair ties or bobby pins
  • face mask/covering
  • lip balm
  • hand cream
  • small water bottle and snacks
  • tissues
  • gum or mints
  • cell phone charger
  • extra pair of sunglasses
  • emergency contact info written on an index card and kept in a plastic bag

If you’re breastfeeding, consider packing:

Don’t get too stressed about packing your diaper bag for the hospital. Most likely, your hospital or birthing center will provide you with diapers, wipes, and other items you’ll need for the first few days.

If this is your first go-around, there’s a good chance your bag (and baby’s) was packed and ready to go weeks before your due date. But you don’t need to bring everything with you for the 1 to 2 days you’ll be at the hospital.

Keep the bulk of your baby items at home, ready to go for when the real fun starts!

There’s no way to prepare for everything that may happen when you’re on the go with a baby. But with a little preparation, the right checklist, and some creative packing skills, your diaper bag will soon become your go-to resource for anything life might throw your way.