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Diaper Bag Essentials (what you actually need)

As a new parent, you never know when your little one will need a diaper change or a quick snack. That is why having a well-stocked diaper bag is vital when you’re on the go. Whether you are heading out for a quick errand or a day trip, here’s a comprehensive diaper bag essentials list to ensure you have everything you actually need (without going completely overboard).

diaper bag checklist
Diaper Bag Essentials (what you actually need).

I laugh at my younger self when I think back on the “over-the-top” number of things that I used to carry around in my diaper bag when I had my first baby.

That poor diaper bag of mine had to have weighed at least twenty pounds at all times because I went that overboard when I was packing it.

Which, looking back now, is absolutely crazy…keep in mind that unless you have a special needs child, you probably don’t need that much stuff with you at all times.

As a now, well-seasoned, mom of four I decided that it was high time I shared with you all what you really need to have with you and handy at all times when you have a baby…the truly essential items that every parent should have with them when there is a baby on board.

I’m definitely not saying that you’re going to need every single one of these items in your bag at all times…but it is a good idea to look over these items, think about your outing, and pack accordingly for that day.

*For those of you emergency preparedness minded parents, make sure to also check out my Complete Guide For An Infant Emergency Go Bag, found here*

Diaper Bag Checklist

When you’re wondering what to put in the diaper bag…just remember that the bag got its name for a reason. The most important items in your diaper bag will be the ones you need to change your baby’s diaper…go figure…lol.

Here are some diaper bag essential items you should try to always carry in your diaper bag, and make sure to check before you head out the door that you have enough of these things (adjust your needs as necessary for your own situation of course):

Diapering Essentials

  • Diapers: Bring one diaper for every two hours you’ll be out, plus a few extras especially if your child is sick or there is a chance that you will be delayed in getting home.
  • Wipes: Pack a full package, or fill a travel container with wipes…you could also throw some in a sandwich bag (just make sure to remove all of the air) if you’re in a pinch.
  • Diaper rash cream or ointment/ Baby Powder: These items are especially important to have on hand if you’re going to be outside in the elements as that is when babies tend to chap more.
  • Changing Pad/ Blanket: Make sure that you have a sanitary way to change a diaper when out and about…you don’t want to have to lay your baby down on something dirty, or get poop everywhere.
  • Disposable bags (such as a gallon sized zipper bag): These are a good place to put dirty diapers if you can’t find a garbage can (or don’t want to stink up a particular place). It’s also good to have them in case your baby has a “blow-out” diaper, or spits up everywhere, and you don’t want to get the soiled outfit on everything else in your diaper bag.

Feeding Essentials

If you’re breastfeeding, you may not need to carry a lot of feeding supplies in your diaper bag beyond a nursing cover and a burp rag (there is one other item in the list below you will need though).

However, if you’re bottle-feeding, or if you’ll be out for several hours, you’ll need to pack some of these items:

  • Bottles and formula: Pack enough for one bottle for every two hours you’ll be out, plus a few extras in case of emergency. Make sure you have access to enough water at the right temperature too.
  • Burp cloths: One or two should be all you’re going to need, but if your child is sick or you will be out for a full day you may want to adjust as needed.
  • Bottle brush and tiny dish soap bottle: You’ll only need these if you’ll be washing bottles on the go.
  • Breast pump and milk storage bags: If you’re going to be pumping on the go…but even if you don’t have a baby with you and you are a nursing mom…you need to have access to at least a manual breast pump at all times in case of emergencies.
  • Snacks: Make sure you have age appropriate snacks handy for older babies and nursing moms should always make sure they’re getting enough calories (and water) in too.

Clothing Essentials

Babies can be SUPER messy, so it’s always a good idea to pack an extra outfit or two in your diaper bag, even if you’re only going out for a short while.

Here are some clothing items to include:

  • Onesies or bodysuits
  • Pants or shorts
  • Socks
  • Hat
  • Bib
  • Mittens: if your baby tends to scratch themselves.

Entertainment Essentials

When you’re out and about with your baby, it’s important to keep them entertained and distracted…especially if you’re in a crowded area or on an airplane.

Here are some items you can easily bring along to keep your baby happy:

  • Pacifier (if your baby uses one)
  • Small toys or teethers
  • Books or board books
  • Smartphone or tablet (with age-appropriate games or videos)

Health and Safety Essentials

Finally, don’t forget to pack some health and safety essentials in your diaper bag (if they apply to your particular situation of course. It could also just be a good idea to keep these items in your car (at all times) so that you’re not having to lug them around everywhere.

Here are a few items to consider:

  • Hand sanitizer
  • Tissues
  • Extra pacifier clips
  • First-aid kit (with bandages, antiseptic cream, and infant pain reliever)
  • Sunscreen (for babies over six months old)
  • Nursing bras and pads
  • Nipple cream (to soothe sore nipples)

What to Put In A Diaper Bag During Summer

In addition to the essential items listed above, there are a few extra diaper bag essentials you’ll want to pack during the summer/warmer months of the year.

Here are some items to consider:

Summer Clothing Essentials

In the summertime, it’s important to dress your baby in lightweight, breathable clothing to keep them cool and comfortable.

Here are some clothing items to include in your summer diaper bag:

  • Lightweight cotton onesies or bodysuits
  • Shorts or skirts
  • Sun hat or baseball cap
  • Sunglasses (when age appropriate)

Sun Protection Essentials

Protecting your baby from the sun’s harmful rays is essential during the summer months. Some of these items may not be handy to keep in your diaper bag, but try to at least have them in your car if you’ll be out in the sun.

Here are some items to pack to keep your baby safe:

  • Sunscreen (choose a baby-safe formula with at least SPF 30 or whatever your Pediatrician recommends)
  • Lightweight swaddle or blanket (to cover your baby’s legs or arms)
  • Umbrella or sunshade (if you’ll be outside for an extended period)

Summer Feeding Essentials

In addition to the feeding essentials listed above, here are some items to consider packing for feeding your baby in the summer:

  • Breathable nursing cover or muslin blanket (to protect your baby from the sun and keep them cool during feedings)
  • Insulated bottle carrier (to keep bottles cool during outings)
  • Ice pack (to keep food or breast milk cool during travel)

Summer Health and Safety Essentials

Here are some additional health and safety items to consider packing for your diaper bag in the summer:

  • Bug spray (choose a baby-safe formula)
  • Aloe vera gel (to soothe sunburns)
  • Handheld fan (to keep your baby cool)
  • Extra water bottles (to keep you and your baby hydrated)

Remember to always keep your baby’s safety and comfort in mind when packing your diaper bag, especially during the summer months.

With these additional essentials, you’ll be prepared for any summer adventure with your little one.

What To Pack In Winter Diaper Bag

During the colder fall and winter months, it’s important to pack a few extra items in your diaper bag to keep your baby warm and comfortable.

Here are some essential diaper bag items to consider for the chilly months of the year:

Winter Clothing Essentials

In the colder months, dressing your baby in warm layers is essential to protect them from the cold. Here are some clothing items to include in your diaper bag:

  • Warm onesies or bodysuits
  • Pants or leggings
  • Winter coat or snowsuit
  • Winter hat
  • Gloves or mittens
  • Winter boots or booties

Winter Feeding Essentials

In addition to the feeding essentials listed above, here are some items to pack for feeding your baby in the winter:

  • Breathable nursing cover or muslin blanket (to keep your baby warm during feedings)
  • Insulated bottle carrier (to keep bottles warm during outings)
  • Thermal bottle warmer (to warm bottles on the go)

Winter Health And Safety Essentials

  • Hand and face wipes (to clean up runny noses and drool)
  • Nasal aspirator (to clear congestion)
  • Extra pacifiers (cold weather can cause them to fall out more frequently)
  • Hand and foot warmers (for yourself and your baby)
  • Emergency blanket (to keep you and your baby warm in case of an emergency)
  • Seasonal Medication (if needed).

Remember to always keep your baby’s safety and comfort in mind when packing your diaper bag, especially during the winter months. With these additional essentials, you’ll be prepared for any winter adventure with your little one.

Tips For Packing Your Diaper Bag

Now that you know what to put in your diaper bag, here are some tips to help you pack it all together more efficiently:

Start with a good diaper bag

How do you pick the perfect diaper bag?

Invest in a quality, well-made diaper bag with plenty of pockets and compartments to keep everything organized.

Look for one with adjustable straps so you can wear it as a backpack or messenger bag…and remember, it doesn’t have to have been made specifically for diapers to be a good diaper bag.

Pre-pack your bag

Keep your diaper bag pre-packed with all the essentials so you can grab it and go when you’re in a rush…and make sure you are regularly restocking it.

Bring extras

If in doubt, always pack more diapers, wipes, and clothing than you think you’ll need. It’s better to have too much than not enough. After a while you’ll start to develop a flow with your baby and will know just the right amount that you will need.

Organize by category

Organize your diaper bag by category (diapering, feeding, clothing, entertainment, health, and safety) and keep the least used items on the bottom and the most-needed items on the top. This is so you can find what you need quickly and it will save you from needing to dig around.

Check your bag regularly

Check your diaper bag regularly to make sure you’re stocked up on essentials and to remove any items you no longer need. The more busy you are on your outings the more often you will need to check and restock your bag.


A well-stocked diaper bag is a parent’s best friend when you’re out and about with your baby. Use this diaper bag essentials checklist to make sure you have everything, and follow these tips for efficient packing. With the right diaper bag and supplies, you’ll be ready for anything your little one throws your way.

Just remember to keep your own particular situation in mind, as well as any special needs that you may have for your little one and add those items into your diaper bag too.

*I am human, so if you notice anything major that needs to be included in this post, please email me so that I can add it to help all the other parents out there too.*

Thanks so much for stopping by my blog and supporting my endeavors to make people’s lives a little easier/better/more affordable. If you liked this post, or found it helpful in any way, please make sure to share it with your family, friends, and co-workers via social media…or you could even send them the direct link via email. Whichever way you choose to spread the love, I super appreciate it! ~Sarah

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Other Helpful Resources On What To Put Into A Diaper Bag

Maybe you didn’t think I covered the subject enough, if so, here are some other reputable resources to look on the topic:

If you would like to check out my entire Homemaking section, go here.

Here are direct links to several of my other posts that you may also find helpful:

* Please note that this article was originally shared to this website on 05/03/2023, and has since been/will continue to be updated to improve user experience, remain relevant, as well as to be as shareable as possible across the social medias.