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Top 5 Diaper Bag Essentials

It pains me to think that my sweet little newborn baby will be three months old come Wednesday of this week.  It really feels like we only just walked him home from the hospital as a brand new family of five.

Now that my oldest is five and our middle child is three, I had gotten so used to carrying around less kid-accoutrement. I ditched the “diaper bag” just about a year ago, right before Zoe decided she was ready to be totally diaper-free.  That was extremely liberating, as you can imagine. So liberating in fact, that I vowed to never own a diaper bag again.

Now that we’re three months into the new baby life once again, I can honestly say that diaper bags-whether or not they are specifically made to be diaper bags-are completely necessary.  There is a litany of STUFF that mothers need to care for their wee ones when they are on the go, and never more so than for city parents.  As a suburban momma, I kept a solitary bag in my vehicle that I never removed-only refilled it as necessary.  Here in the city where we don’t own a car/keeper of all things, I have a bag that I take with me when I leave the apartment in the company of my children.  The nice thing about being a seasoned parent is knowing what I absolutely MUST have with me, and things that aren’t totally necessary, i.e. stuff that will only weigh me down.

So, in no particular order of importance, here is my Top 5 List of Diaper Bag Essentials:

  1. Diapers
  2. Wipes. Bring a small case so that you don’t have to lug an entire stack.
  3. Nursing Cover-Because you just never know what situation you’ll be in when your baby needs to nurse.
  4. Hand Sanitizer. I travel with the all-natural brand and use it on all of us
  5. Plastic Bags. I’ve used these for soiled diapers, soiled clothing (which reminds me of the 6th thing you must have), and even bodily fluids for car sickness and times where there is no potty around.
  6. Extra clothing. Baby breast milk blowouts are epic and frequent.


I always seem to have a few extra items in the diaper bag along with those things, such as clean pacifiers, pacifier wipes, crayons, stray cheerios and other packaged snacks, a burp cloth, changing mat, and almost always a bottle of water. Since we’re generally traveling via foot, the bag that I carry must be lightweightand easy to sling over my shoulder since normally I am also wearing the baby. Depending on your lifestyle and the ages of your children, your essentials will change-sometimes weekly. 

I’ve found that if I go through my diaper bag once a week and remove everything that I either didn’t use or didn’t consider using the week prior, it’s easy to pare down to your absolute essentials. Babies actually don’t NEED much in the way of things, but it’s easy as a mother to stock up on the latest gadgets that claim to make parenting “easier”.  I have found in the past 5 years that I’ve been a mother that many of those fantastic inventions are just gimmicky and take up prime real estate in my diaper bag. Then again, if toting around everything in your child’s nursery feels better and safer to you, than go ahead and do it. I’m certain it’s the only way I survived my very first year as a parent.