How to Pack a Diaper Bag Like a Pro
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Nothing was more stressful to me as a new mom than leaving the house. The first time I left, I swear I packed the entire nursery, living room and kitchen. I had three bags. I roll my eyes at myself thinking back on it now. But, the entire time we were out, all I needed was a bottle and a diaper. I realized quickly that I was overpacking and stressing myself out over nothing! Now with a toddler and a newborn, I have twice as much to pack and I'll do my darnedest to make it all in one bag (yes, I'm the type of person who will only make one trip from the car to the kitchen with my groceries, too). Scroll down to download my free printable diaper bag checklist!
1. Assess the situation
I know, it sounds a little dramatic, but hear me out. Determine how long you'll be gone, where you'll be going, and the supplies they may or may not have there. If you are visiting family 2 hours away, you will need more diapers and bottles than you would if you were going out to get groceries. If you're formula feeding, will you need to bring water? How about bags to put dirty diapers in? These are all things to think about when packing your diaper bag.
2. Think small
You don't need to bring an entire package of diapers. Take out how many you think you'll need, and then two or three more. If you're formula feeding, scoop into a smaller container that will fit better into your bag (don't forget to pack the scoop, too). Pack an extra outfit. To save space, I always choose something that's one-piece so it can be folded up and not take up lots of room.
3. Don't forget the cords!
We brought a portable sound machine everywhere we went, and the first time it died, we felt lost! Don't forget to bring charging cords if necessary. Bring charging cords for your wearable pump, sound machines, and even a phone charger if necessary.
4. It's okay to be a little "extra"
I would always rather overpack than ever need something and not have it. Be sure to include Tylenol, an extra outfit in case of a blowout or spill, gas drops, medications, nursing pads, and even an extra shirt for you. I can't tell you how many times I've been out and accidentally leaked or gotten spit up on and wished I had something to change into. That problem can easily be solved by packing yourself an extra shirt in your diaper bag.
5.. Use your space wisely
Most diaper bags come with tons of pockets and compartments. Take advantage of them to help you organize. Nothing's worse than finding a pacifier covered in crumbs from your toddlers snack in the bottom of your diaper bag.
If you aren't using a traditional diaper bag and choose to go with another type of large bag (for example I used a beach bag for awhile), consider using makeup travel cases to help organize your little things like an infant pain reliever and syringe, nail clippers, chargers, bags for diapers, extra clothes, etc.
6. Don't forget about you!
I take a purse everywhere I go, but when I travel with our diaper bag, I try to consolidate if possible. That means it's not uncommon for my wallet, lipstick, tissues, hand sanitizer and car keys to find their way into the diaper bag. I also pack my wearable pump in the diaper bag along with a bottle for storage of pumped milk, too. This gives me one less bag to haul around.
Packing a diaper bag isn't rocket science, but it does take a few brain cells to make it all come together nicely. Before you leave, check your bag, then double check it, and maybe even give it a look a third time to make sure you have everything you could need.
Most importantly, don't stress. If you forget something, you and your little one will survive. Most stores (and even gas stations) carry anything you could ever need. Most moms are always happy to help or lend a hand, too. They've been in your shoes before, so don't be afraid to ask for help.