Now that your new babe is here it’s time to adjust to the new way of life. You’ve brought him from the hospital and you’ve settled in at home. But you can’t stay home forever. At some point you’ll have to venture out to get some fresh air, to see other places, and to talk to other adults. If you’re a first-time mom, you’re used to carrying your little purse around, and this new way of going out and about might be a little challenging. Today we’ll talk about what to pack in a diaper bag for a newborn when you’re ready for an outing.
Heading to the hospital to have your baby? Read Hospital Bag Checklist for Mom and Baby – the Essentials.
What do you pack in your diaper bag so you don’t have to cut the trip short when your baby has a blowout or spits up all over you?
There is a joke going around that goes something like this: When you get out with your first baby, you pack half the house in your diaper bag. With your second babe and beyond, you grab a diaper and wipes, and you’re on your merry way.
While packing half the house is not true for all new moms, some do tend to take along more things than they need, and end up exhausted and frustrated because there’s so much stuff to lug around. On the other side of the spectrum, when you’re rushing out of the house, you don’t want to forget an essential item for you or your newborn.
Let’s talk about the essentials to have in your diaper bag.
What to pack in a diaper bag for a newborn
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Diapers – Newborn babies need diaper changes often. Pack 1-2 diapers for every hour you’ll be out. This post contains affiliate links. This means if you make a purchase after clicking a link, I will earn a small commission, but it won’t cost you a penny more. Click here to read my full disclosure policy.
Wipes – Get used to carrying a pack of these handy things around. You’ll use them for years to come, even after the kids are out of diapers. They’re versatile clean-up resource you can use on almost anything. You’re welcome.
Changing Pad – We got a changing pad as a gift when before I had my first two (twins), and used the same pad for all five kids. When looking for a changing pad, make sure it has pockets inside where you can stash all the diaper changing essentials, like diapers, wipes, diaper cream if you use it, hand sanitizer, and a receiving blanket. This way all you need for a diaper change is in one place. This changing pad has all you need. We used the receiving blanket right on top of the changing pad. If it was soiled, we simply replaced it with a new one. Receiving blankets are soft and cozy, and provide a comfy surface for tiny babies, which is so much better than the cold lining of the changing pad.
Diaper Cream – Pack it if you use it. We used Boudreaux’s Butt Paste and loved it. With the first three, we used it with every diaper change. With the last two, we used the diaper paste only when we saw beginning signs of skin irritation. What I learned for us is that it’s really not necessary to put the diaper cream on every time a diaper is changed, but every baby is different, and you as a mom know what’s best for your little one, so do what you know works for you.
Food – This will be different depending on if you breastfeed, express and bottle feed, or formula feed. If you breastfeed, all you need is a nursing cover and nursing pads. If you use a nipple cream, pack that too. If you express and bottle feed, you’ll need a breast pump and bottles. If you formula feed, you’ll need a thermos with warm water, powdered formula, and bottles. Make sure you have enough food for your baby to last the whole outing.
Receiving Blanket – This is an absolutely necessary, versatile diaper bag item. We love receiving blankets and used them daily with all of our babies. Pack a couple, they don’t take too much space and can play many roles.
- You can cover your sleeping babe with a receiving blanket if it gets just a little chilly. Think you don’t need it in the summer? Think again. If you’re inside a commercial building like a grocery store, the AC can be too cold for your newborn. Fold it in half and cover your baby with it, and it’ll keep him nice and comfortable.
- You can use it as a car seat cover. I never had one of these car seat covers that doubles as a nursing cover, so I used a receiving blanket to throw over the car seat to protect my baby from sun rays, drops of rain, or simply to create a tranquil space inside the car seat when he fell asleep.
- You can use it as a burp cloth. Fold it in half two or three times, throw it over your shoulder, and burp away.
- You can also use it to swaddle your baby if he likes being swaddled.
Pacifier and Clip – If your baby takes a pacifier, pack it, but don’t forget a pacifier clip too. When you’re out and about, it can be cumbersome to find a place to wash a pacifier that fell on a dirty public floor. But if it’s clipped on to his shirt or the car seat, it will dangle safely if it’s dropped. We used this pacifier clip with our last baby. It’s made with wooden beads that are polished smooth and have no paint or lacquer on them, which is great for the littles.
Gripe Water – We didn’t leave anywhere without Colic-Ease Gripe Water. Its formula is based on natural herbs and it works like magic to calm down upset babies. It’s used for colic, hiccups, gas pains, and many other baby-life issues. Our babies all loved the smell and taste of it, and after a dose of the gripe water, we usually gave them a pacifier, and they were much calmer. Now a little disclaimer, if your baby is hungry or her diaper is soiled, gripe water won’t help. When your baby is crying, make sure her needs are met before giving her gripe water.
Change of Clothes – Tiny babies are known for spitting up and blowouts. You don’t want to be caught in the middle of a family reunion with nothing to change your baby in. Pack two or three extra outfits for your baby – you may not use them all, but if you need that last one, you’ll be glad you brought it along.
Baby Hat – Keep one in your diaper bag no matter the season. You may need it if you’re in an air-conditioned store, or if you’re staying out until evening and it might get chilly outside. This baby bonnet is crocheted with 100% cotton yarn, which is breathable and super comfortable for babies. Newborn babies cannot regulate their body temperature well for about 2 or 3 months, so watch for signs that your baby is cold and have a hat or bonnet handy.
Warm Baby Blanket – Have one ready if your little one needs a little extra warmth.
Baby Carrier – I didn’t often wear my babies at home, but always packed a baby carrier for outings in case my baby wanted to hang out with mama or needed a change of scenery. Depending on the type of carrier you have and the size of your diaper bag, it may or may not fit in your diaper bag. We used several different carriers, and one of my favorites was a LILLEbaby carrier. It’s super comfortable, but it did not fit in our diaper bag, so we packed it in a separate backpack.
Now that you’ve packed the essentials for your baby, don’t forget about yourself.
What to pack in a diaper bag for mom
Extra Shirt – Take one along and you won’t have to hide in the bushes when your extended family gathers for a group photo because you’ve got a big spit-up splatter across your chest and shoulder.
Snack and Water – Pack a little something for yourself. You might be stuck in traffic on your way to the family reunion, and you might need a little boost and hydration. This is especially important if you breastfeed.
Sanitizing Wipes – They can be used to quickly clean your hands, or any surfaces the baby will be around.
Lip Moisturizer – I don’t know about you, but I have chapsticks and lip balms everywhere. There’s not much worse than dry lips and nothing to soothe them with. I’ve tried many types of lip moisturizers over the years, and this Baby Lips moisturizer is one of my absolute favorites.
First Aid Kit – A couple bandaids and disinfectant is all you need for a basic first aid kit. They don’t take much space, and you’ll be happy to have packed it when you need it.
As your baby grows, you may add things to your diaper bag, like a baby rattle, a teether, and baby sunscreen (for babies 6 months and older). But for now, this list of essentials for your newborn baby’s diaper bag will serve you well. Get out, enjoy your outing, and have fun!
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