Packing a diaper bag for the first time? The good news: it’s not rocket science. The bad news: there’s no one right way to do it. This guide can help. Learn what you’ll need for every outing, packing tips, and add-ons to make your diaper bag work best for you.
What to Pack in Your Diaper Bag
Diapers aren’t the only thing you’ll need in your new parenting staple. Figuring out what to stick in your bag for the car, baby’s first outing, or when adding a sibling to the mix can feel daunting. Here’s a simple checklist of what you can expect to have handy in your diaper bag:
Diaper Bag Essentials ChecklistDiapering:
- Diapers (one for every two hours you’ll be out)
- Hand sanitizer
- An extra outfit or two
- Diaper rash cream
- Changing pad
- Snacks and water
- Your water bottle
- Disposable placemats and bib
- Medications if needed
- Small toy or book
- Sunscreen/bug spray
- Cold-weather gear (jackets, mittens, etc.)
- Sunglasses or hat
- Swim diapers
Packing A Diaper Bag for Your Newborn
Remember that young babies need three things to thrive: food (breast milk/formula), diapers, and sleep. You're winning as long as you have what you need to make those possible!
Extras for your newborn bag:
- Breast milk/formula and bottles
- Pump supplies (electric or manual)
- Milk freezer bags and labels/a marker
- Breastfeeding cover
- Extra burp cloths
- A wrap for baby-wearing (e.g., the Solly Wrap)
- Portable sound machine
- Extra snacks and water for you, especially if you’re breastfeeding
Packing A Diaper Bag for Your Toddler or Older Kids
Most parents will carry a diaper bag for up to five years or until their children are in school. Even when diapers are a thing of the past, your older toddler or kid still depends on mom or dad to carry everything (sorry).
Extras for your toddler or kid bag:
- Extra underwear
- Backup outfit, bathing suit
- Nonperishable snacks (e.g., granola bars or raisins)
Packing A Diaper Bag for Two or More Kids
When each kiddo needs different essentials, shoot for optimal organization. Start with a comfortable compartmentalized bag. Pockets and storage pouches make it easy to find what you need (like size 5 vs. size 1 diapers).
For example, you can pack a large pouch with an extra outfit for your toddler and another for your baby. Use labels or stickers to mark which one’s which, especially if you’ll be sharing your bag with another caretaker.
Pouches make it easy to limit germ-spreading, too. There’s no need for the baby’s pacifier to touch your toddler’s half-eaten banana.
Bonus: Let the older sibling help pack the diaper bag before an outing to manage expectations, elicit excitement, and avoid meltdowns.
Diaper Bag Packing Tips
Avoid creating a black hole: When you pack your diaper bag vertically (e.g., layer the wipes pack on top of the burp clothes and ten other things thrown in), you’re setting yourself up for frustration when you really need the burp cloth. Ensure your diaper bag can accommodate separate items in sections, pockets, or pouches.
Use pouches for the main compartment: Loose smaller items (e.g., pacifiers) or essentials you’ll have to replace often (e.g., diapers) get lost in the shuffle. Pouches help keep things view-friendly.
Use outer pockets for your stuff: Keep your wallet, keys, phone, etc., in pockets that are easy to access.
Reset the balance after every outing: Keeping a diaper bag clean is a fool’s errand. To stay on top of your #OrganizedParentLife, take out food wrappers, dirty clothes, and drink cups after every outing. You don’t want a surprise smell two weeks later. Refill to replace diapers, clothes, etc.
Use internal pockets for misc. items: Inside pockets are great for what you won’t need every outing (e.g., trash bags, sunscreen, bandaids).
File, don’t stack: Here’s an example of how to organize a backpack diaper bag using the filing method:
Check out how we pack Huhu's Everyday Diaper Backpack for maximum organization:
What Not to Pack
Avoid these items for less mess and less stress.
- Open drink containers or empty snacks with crumbs
- Uninsulated perishable food or breast milk (follow CDC guidelines.)
- Markers or paint that could explode and create a laundry mess
- Cleaning supplies or anything with toxic chemicals that could spill on baby items
The beauty of parenthood is learning what works for you and your kid. These tips for packing a diaper bag like a pro can help you feel ready for what any outing throws your way. Huhu’s Everyday Diaper Backpack champions the organization game for parents with kids in any stage of “stuff-hood.” With magnetic closure and extra-long straps for swingable access, this bag makes packing a breeze.