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20 Must-Have Diaper Bag Essentials

Before I had a child I thought that I carried a lot of useless stuff around in my purse. Then I had a baby and officially reached Mary-Poppins-bag potential. For such little people, babies need a lot of stuff, and leaving the house is no longer just a matter of hopping in the car and driving off. In an attempt to make leaving the house with the baby as easy as possible, I always have a diaper bag that is packed and ready to go for whenever I need it.

I wish someone would have told me what I needed in my diaper bag, so I decided to write this post for any mama out there who hasn’t the slightest idea what to throw in her diaper bag.

  1. Diapers (Obvi!)
    • This may seem super obvious, but trust me: when you’re running late, trying to pack the car, let the dog out, finish your coffee, make that last phone call to your mom about dinner plans, put the baby in the car seat, etc., anything can slip from your mind. And hey, that doesn’t make you a bad mom. One time I forgot my diaper bag completely on a day I had to drive into Manhattan with the baby and wound up stopping at a pharmacy for diapers and wipes. Although I understand now that sh*t happens (literally when it comes to babies!), in an effort to avoid these kinds of mishaps I always keep extra diapers in my car. Do yourself a favor, mama: keep extra diapers in your bag and in your car.
  2. Baby wipes
    • Okay, another obvious one. This is another item that I keep an extra package of in my car.
  3. Disposable changing pads
    • Disposable changing pads are one of my favorite inventions ever. We always try to stay as environmentally friendly as possible, but this one item I cannot give up because of how many germs are in bathrooms, on changing stations, etc. They are large enough to usually cover the entire surface of a changing station, have a soft cloth side, and are disposable for easy clean up. Done. I also love that they fold into thin squares. My diaper bag space is not being taken up by these things, and I love them.
  4. Diaper rash cream
    • I always keep a bottle of Aquaphor ointment in my bag. Besides diaper rashes, sometimes our baby develops a slight rash under his neck from sitting in the carseat for too long. I like to smear a little ointment under his neck to avoid rashes there.
  5. Travel baby lotion
    • Along with rash ointment, I like keeping some baby lotion in my bag. If our baby’s skin is ever dry I have it handy. I also think baby lotion smells amazing and I love that little baby scent!
  6. An extra change of clothes
    • As we have previously established, sh*t happens. Sometimes, it really happens. Or, perhaps your baby drooled all over himself and his chest is  soaking wet. Or, perhaps your baby decided that smearing baby food all over his shirt was funny. Whatever the reason for the soiled garments, keeping an extra set of clothes in the diaper bag is wise.
  7. Burp cloths and bibs
    • I like having extra burp cloths and bibs in my bag. Extra burp cloths and bibs are great for feeding. Further, our baby drools all over himself, especially when he is teething. I like being able to keep him as dry as possible, and avoiding wet clothes or rashes.
  8. Extra pacifiers
    • I genuinely fear for the day when we begin weening our baby off the pacifier! With that being said, I also have a fear of being caught without one now. I always keep 2-3 extra pacifiers in my bag/car/stroller at all times. If one drops on the floor, I have an extra. If he throws one from his seat, I have an extra. If it just magically vanishes and cannot be found anywhere, I have an extra.
  9. Pacifier and toy clips
    • As I hinted at above, our baby sometimes throws his pacifiers or toys. With that being said, I have resorted to clipping everything to him. If you catch him in his stroller, he straight up looks like he is going fly fishing. My favorite pacifier clips are the BooginHead pacifier clips because they strap to any pacifier, are cloth, are lightweight, and come in a variety of colors. My favorite toy clips are these Baby Buddy Secure-A-Toy straps. They have clips for different lengths and are very durable.
  10.  All-purpose wipes
    • Despite my best efforts with clipping everything to my kid, sometimes he still manages to throw things out of his stroller or hang them over the stroller exposing them to everything outside. Because things like this happen frequently, I like to keep all-purpose wipes in my bag. My all-time favorite are Dapple all-purpose wipes. Dapple wipes are non-toxic, cruelty-free, plant-based, and just all around awesome. Dapple, in general, is one of my favorite baby brands and we use a lot of their products.
  11. Pacifier wipes
    • If the baby ever manages to throw his pacifier, I like using these  pacifier wipes. They are also non-toxic and come in fruit flavor.
  12. Baby hand-sanitizing wipes
    • If you haven’t already noticed, I am slightly paranoid about keeping babies as germ-free as possible. I am a realist, too, and understand that babies sometimes decide to share their TOYS WITH THE FAMILY DOG… but I do try my best. I like keeping these Babyganics hand wipes handy. Not only are kid’s hands always sticky, but a lot of people have a bad habit of touching baby’s hands. (Side note: Rude! Ask the mama before touching their baby without permission!)
  13. Hand sanitizer
    • This one is for parents! I love baby-handsanitizing wipes for babies. However, I like to have a bottle of hand sanitizer that is for adults. We touch so many different surfaces and money, etc.
  14. Boogie Wipes
    • Okay, honestly I never understood the hype surrounding Boogie Wipes until our baby got his first cold. When his nose would run, the wipes soothed his nose and cleaned him up super well. I also like that they are non-scented.
  15. Bottles and formula packets
    • These are probably other obvious things to pack. I like to always have at least two bottles in my bag, and 6 to-go formula packets. I love the formula packets because they are convenient, pre-measured, and do not take up a lot of space in the bag.
  16. To-go fruit and veggie packets
    • Now that our child is a bit older and eating solids, I like to keep a few of these in my bag. Sometimes if I am going out for an entire day, I like to have more options besides bottles to feed him. These pouches are great, too, because he can self-feed himself right in the stroller. These organic Gerber pouches  are our favorites!
  17. Medicines
    • Okay, there are a few different sub-categories under this point. I always like to keep children’s Tylenol, Mylicon drops, children’s Benadryl, and an EpiPen Jr. in my bag. We recently learned that our son has a peanut allergy, and I am trying to be super diligent about keeping an eye on his allergies. You never really know what a baby/child needs until he needs it. It may look like I keep too many meds in my bag, but I like to be as prepared as possible!
  18. Rattle/toys
    • As previously mentioned, my kid sometimes throws his stuff out of his stroller or carseat. Now, while I do usually have toy wipes in my bag, sometimes it is just easier to hand him another toy.
  19. Shout wipes/ Tide To Go stick
    • Babies are messy sometimes. And sometimes they decide its funny to spit their peas out onto you while you’re wearing a white shirt. I always keep Shout wipes in my bag for times such as these! And let’s be honest: sometimes I drop something on my shirt, too. I can’t completely blame my kid. Sometimes my coffee spills. I kept Shout wipes in my bag longgggggg before I had a baby.
  20. A Mama Bag
    • A Mama Bag is basically a bag of items just for you. It is so hard to carry both a diaper bag and purse, so I usually just keep a Mama Bag in my diaper bag. I keep my license and money in the Mama Bag, along with things like tampons, Advil, etc.

I hope this list was helpful! It probably seems like I carry too much stuff with me, and that’s entirely possible. However, I’ve personally needed every one of these items at one point or another, or could foresee a situation where I would need one of these items. I always like being as prepared as possible.

What do you keep in your diaper bag? I am genuinely curious about what other mamas and papas are keeping in their bags!

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