How to pack a diaper bag…in just 9 simple steps!

So, you’ve decided you are brave enough to leave the house with your little munchkin! You’ve made your plans, have set up a time and now you are tackling the dreaded task: packing the diaper bag. To veteran moms, this is a breeze. You know exactly what to pack and can do it while nursing your newborn, entertaining your toddler and making a facebook post. But to us newbies, it doesn’t come as easily. Here is a simple (ha!) guide on how to pack your diaper bag.

Step 1: Find a bag big enough to hold everything. No matter how big your diaper bag is, I can guarantee that when you jam everything you need (or think you need) into it, it’s going to be bursting at the seams. That cute little diaper bag with the pink zebra stripes? That’s not going to cut it. The one that looks like a purse? Yeah, that isn’t either. Go for the big one ladies. In some cases, bigger really is better.

Step 2: Pack twice as many diapers as you think you will need. And I am so serious on this one. Your little darling will crap their pants at the most inopportune time. At the doctor’s office when they call your name, at your great aunt’s house when she holds your baby for the first time, in the line at the grocery store while you’re chatting to a friend you haven’t seen in 2 years. You know what sucks worse than a shitty baby? Not having a clean diaper to put on them. I was in Target once and my daughter managed to crap 3 times while we were there. Three freaking times!!! And we were only there a little over an hour.  On the third trip to the ladies room I was praying I had a clean diaper. I did and it was the last one in my bag. Lesson learned. Pack twice as many as you think you need.

Step 3: Wipes, Wipes, Wipes!!! Whoever invented these things is a genius. My parents love them because in their child-rearing days, wipes didn’t exist and they had to use damp facecloths and rags. And then wash them. I don’t need to emphasize that point any further for you to understand how gross that must have been. Anyway, wipes are awesome for a ton of different reasons. They do the job on a diaper change, are great for wiping down shopping carts, make a great way to quickly clean sticky hands and can even double up as make-up remover (though let’s be real, you probably don’t have time to do your make-up ). Pack tons of those bad boys in your diaper bag. You will be glad you did.

Step 4: T-O-Y-S, and lots of them. It doesn’t matter if you are making the world’s fastest trip to the grocery store. Your child needs to be entertained. At all times. And if they aren’t, be prepared for an epic meltdown. Basically pack every toy they own. Because chances are, if you forget Sophie the Giraffe, that’s the one toy that babe wanted to play with and nothing else will do. Just bring everything; even if that means that you’re going to have to listen to that damn toy remote play the same song over and over for the 15 minute drive.

Step 5: Food and drinks. If your little one isn’t eating yet then obviously you are going to need to bring bottles or your boobs. And since your boobs aren’t detachable (don’t you wish they were?) there’s no chance you can forget them. But if your babe is eating, bring snacks. Load up on mum mums, goldfish crackers, Gerber puffs and whatever other tasteless snacks kids seem to go crazy over.  Little one on the verge of throwing a tantrum because they can’t play with the laundry detergent you are buying? Pass them a mum mum. I don’t know what it is with those things, but they tend to occupy my daughter for 7 blissful minutes which buys me more time to browse the bakery section of the grocery store and figure out which brownies go best with my wine.

Step 6: A change of clothing, for both of you. Maybe you are lucky enough to have a baby that doesn’t spit up. I am not that lucky. My daughter spits up at least three times a day. I’ve given up on trying to wear clothes that don’t have spit up on them. Mostly I just try to make sure I don’t smell too bad and hope that it blends in with whatever I am wearing. But that aside, you should have a change of clothing for the two of you. You never know when your child might decide to projectile vomit or have explosive diarrhea. I’ve only experienced the former twice and the latter once, but having a change of clothing makes those situations so much more bearable.

Step 7: Comfort items. Your kid is going to have a meltdown in public. It is inevitable. This does not make you a bad parent. Being able to pass them a pacifier, a special blankie or a favourite teddy might save the day (and your sanity).  I’m not promising that having a comfort item will put the meltdown at bay, but it might be enough of a distraction to at least temporarily delay it. My daughter’s comfort item is something we call chewie-ooie. I don’t even really know what it is. Some kind of teething ring. She stopped using pacifiers at 10 weeks old and since then chewie has been our go-to guy.

Step 8: Receiving blankets. These things are awesome. You can use them to make shade, provide warmth, wipe up a milky mess, use it as a nursing cover or even as a make-shift change pad. I recommend having at least two during your outings. One that is always in your car and one that is always in the bag. That way, if you lose one, you have backup. And I don’t know about anyone else but I had about 20 receiving blankets when my daughter was born and now I’m down to 6. I’ve lost and left behind so many of those.

Step 9: Plastic bags. We have a rule in my house. Poopy diapers go to town. Literally. We only get garbage pickup once a week so I take her poopy diapers to a public (outdoor) garbage can. I know this might sound gross but it beats having the house smell like ass for 6 days. And before anyone suggests it, diaper genies do not cut it. I just take her dirty diaper, tie it up, and bring it to town. So when you are out visiting, remember this:  You don’t want to stick a dirty diaper in someone’s trash. Just bring a plastic bag and put it in there. Take it with you when you leave and drop it off at your nearest public trash can. Plastic bags are also great for clothes that are covered in spit-up or vomit. You’re welcome.

There you have it folks. Nine simple steps on how to pack a diaper bag. If anyone has anything that they think should be added to this list please let me know. Oh, and yeah, I do occasionally pack a bottle of wine for myself (kidding…maybe!!)  Remember, happy mommy=happy baby 🙂

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