With babies and young children, you always have to prepare for the unexpected. Your diaper bag can be a huge support if you’ve got it stocked with the proper tools.
You’re the happy parent of a newborn, meaning the list of things you’ll need to take care of your little bundle of joy seems to be growing by the minute. When you’re on the go with your new baby, a well-stocked diaper bag should be near the top of any must-have inventory you’ve planned out.
Keeping basic supplies nearby is a necessity for any parent and their infant, but you’ll also want to include more than the standard assortment of diapers and baby wipes if you’re out and about during a meal or naptime. Although personal experience can be the best teacher when it comes to the tricks of the parenting trade, read on for a checklist of useful items and modern-day conveniences that will keep you covered in almost any situation.
As a new parent, you’ll quickly learn to understand Murphy’s Law of Newborns: Potty time is guaranteed the moment you don’t have diapers on hand. The lesson? Always have diapers and wipes at the ready. Other items you’ll want to look into carrying are a diaper changing pad (you can buy either disposable ones or a vinyl reusable version, or just bring a small towel), plastic bags to hold the dirty diapers after changes, diaper cream and hand sanitizer.
Accommodating change (of clothing)
You should anticipate needing at least one complete change of clothing certainly for your newborn, but quite possibly for yourself as well. Blowouts, leaks and spills that don’t get contained by the diaper are much less of a catastrophe if you’ve planned ahead.
Food for thought
Another rule of thumb is that no matter how recently your newborn has been fed, as soon as you step out the door, the most carefully crafted feeding schedule you’ve established as your in-home routine could easily fly right out the window with you. In other words, make plans to be prepared to feed your baby on the go. Breast milk, formula, baby food, water (plus sippy cups) and snacks for both you and your baby (dry cereal, pretzels or crackers, fresh and dried fruit, string cheese) should make up your food items. Also think about keeping disposable bibs and place mats in your car at all times for use when you pop in somewhere to eat.
You never know how your day out with your newborn is going to unfold. Prepare for anything with sunscreen, a hat, sunglasses, baby pain relievers such as acetaminophen, hand lotion, age-appropriate toys, books and other distractions for your baby. And remember to bring a camera or smart phone to capture those sweet, special moments that can pop up out of nowhere.
Every day is a new adventure, so don’t forget to restock your diaper bag right away after returning from your outing. It will be ready and waiting for you the next time you head out.
Dr. Jennifer Shu, M.D., is a mother, author and board-certified pediatrician based in Atlanta, Ga. A frequent guest as a medical expert on national and local television and radio shows, she also serves as the medical editor-in-chief for the American Academy of Pediatrics consumer website, HealthyChildren.org.