Diaper Bag Essentials

Ah, the good old days when you could grab your purse, hop into the car and take off for parts unknown. Now that a baby's part of the package, a trip to the mall or even a "spontaneous" outing to a neighborhood park feels like it requires a ten-point checklist and an hour's planning. But with a little bit of organization, you can get out and about quickly -- and leave the kitchen sink at home.

Once or twice a week, check your "supplies" and restock as needed. (Be sure to put a card or a luggage tag with your name and telephone number in your diaper bag in case you accidentally leave it at a park, restaurant or your pediatrician's office.)

In your diaper bag:

  • 6-10 diapers
  • 1 travel container full of baby wipes
  • a small plastic changing mat
  • several small plastic bags (i.e. sealable storage or grocery) for soiled diapers
  • diaper-rash ointment
  • 2 bibs
  • a spare pacifier if your baby uses one
  • acteaminophen or ibuprofen

In the trunk of your car:
  • an umbrella stroller or backpack
  • sand toys for trips to the park or beach
  • blanket or large towel for the park or beach
And in a small plastic box stored in your trunk, stash the following (you can put them into your diaper bag as needed):
  • a few small toys and books
  • change of clothes
  • sweater or jacket and hat (depending on the time of year)
  • blanket
  • sunscreen
  • first-aid kit
  • drinks (i.e. juice boxes, small bottles of water, single-serving packets of formula)
  • non-perishable snacks (i.e. fruit snacks, goldfish crackers, cheerios, teething crackers or other foods which you can store in a covered plastic tub for several days at a time)