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Part of becoming a mom is trading in your purse for a diaper bag.
I’m all about gorgeous purses, but I knew there was no way I’d be bringing one home from the hospital along with a diaper bag. Carrying a purse, diaper bag, a kid, and everything they demand to hold is pretty much impossible.
If evolution is true, why don’t all moms have four arms?!?
Instead, we get to lug around a huge bag filled with every baby item imaginable, “just in case.”
Around my daughter’s first birthday I began to realize how little I was using the items in our diaper bag. I was also tired of constantly trying to find a free spot of my giant diaper bag, and it was hurting my shoulder.
Plus, as my title suggests, I consider myself pretty lazy, and even though I was regularly missing an item or two from my diaper bag, it never became a life or death situation. I’d stress about what was in the diaper bag, and then inevitably I’d be missing something anyway.
Once I figured out how to make my diaper bag work for me, it went from being a cumbersome annoyance to a necessity.
Let’s talk about what you actually need for your diaper bag:
Diaper Bag Diaper Backpack
I’m still mad at myself for carrying a diaper bag around for a year before making the switch to a backpack. I got sucked in by all the beautiful patterns and pockets, and I didn’t want a boring black backpack! I’ve always been one to compromise on comfort and functionality for aesthetics.
I was so, so wrong.
There are a handful of diaper backpacks out there in pretty colors and patterns, but at the moment, the majority come in gray and black. Apparently, moms don’t enjoy pretty things.
Whatever. I guess I can deal with it since it’s on my back and I’m not the one looking at it, right?
Anyway, this is the time to throw fashion out the window and order a black diaper backpack, because these things are THE BOMB.
This is the diaper backpack we’ve been using for over a year, and it looks the same as it did out of the box.
I love this bag.
It is so well designed, and we never leave the house without it. It’s easy to sling over a shoulder or carry one-handed, and my husband isn’t embarrassed to hold it. I can fit everything I need to into this (including my laptop!), and it actually holds its shape.
It even has a hidden pocket in the back, insulated spots up front for bottles of milk, and a zippered opening in the back designed for easy access to breast pumps.
All that and it’s under $40! And if you’re not digging this design, Amazon has tons of diaper backpacks with reviews, most around the $30 price point. #momwin
If for some reason you aren’t totally sold on the diaper backpack idea, Amazon has plenty of diaper bag options. There is something to be said for the amount of space a diaper bag can provide. But even if you have multiple kids or twins, I’d still recommend backpacks for ease and functionality.
Also, if you do find you carry quite a lot in your bag, consider keeping a car kit in the trunk with diapers, wipes, an outfit or two, emergency snacks, and a new toy. This can also come in handy if you ever get stranded somewhere or you decide on a whim to stay at your in-law’s home after a long day of travel.
I’m thrifty, and though I rarely indulge in extravagant purchases, I love designer purses. Not the tacky ones that have logos all over them, but the structured leather bags that catch your eye with their beautiful shape and color. Because of the durability of these bags, I consider them an investment, and I take good care of them.
But I’m not an idiot – there was no way I was spending over $100 on a designer diaper bag that had the potential to hold dirty diapers.
Ew. No way.
So I compromised. I lovingly stored my favorite Rebecca Minkoff bag and purchased a beautiful leather Kate Spade wristlet.
Now my wallet stays in my diaper backpack and is a high enough quality to hold up to my toddler playing with it. When I go out alone, I just grab my wallet from the backpack, no purse needed.
This is a major sanity saver because no one should be carrying around a purse and a diaper bag.
So get a plain backpack and then treat yo’ self to a beautiful new wallet/clutch. Then when you leave your home without the kids, you’ll feel more like an adult, even if you are rocking leggings and a messy bun.
Diapers and Wipes
Duh, right? But this is a list of essentials, so I kind of had to make sure these items were on the list.
Also, the amount of times I’ve looked in my bag and haven’t found a diaper or a package of wipes is pretty embarrassing. Just do yourself a favor: every time you leave the house, check that these two items are in the bag. I recommend 5 diapers and at least half a package of wipes at the minimum.
Diaper Rash Cream
My baby loves to get a diaper rash when I can’t find any cream and let me tell you, trying to cajole a screaming baby in pain is not fun. Always keep a tube of cream in the pocket of your diaper bag for everyone’s sanity.
Disposable Diaper Sacks
I absolutely love these baggies and it’s easy enough to keep a handful in the diaper bag. These little bags hold in the dirty diaper stink, which can really come in handy if you get stuck somewhere without immediate access to a trashcan. They’re also great if your kid has a blowout and you need a place to put the dirty clothes until you get home.
Seriously, there’s no reason not to have these.
Foldable Changing Pad
A changing pad with pockets and a wrist strap makes diaper changes in public so much easier. Rather than hauling the diaper backpack into a public restroom, you can take this pad, a diaper, and a pack of wipes all in one little foldable pouch. It’s also helpful for diaper changes on floors or in cars, and it’s easy to clean.
In a pinch, you can even just carry this with a few items packed tightly in it, if you’re somewhere you can’t take your entire diaper bag.
An Extra Outfit
I’ll be honest – this is another one I’ve forgotten a few times, and I’ve paid the price. Kids destroy, and it only takes a second to ruin an outfit.
Just put a basic shirt and pair of pants in the bottom of the diaper bag. And if you’re really on top of it, try to swap out sizes as your kid grows – it’s great to have extra clothes in an emergency unless they don’t fit.
- Sunscreen (I love this sunscreen, and it has an overall score of 1 from the EWG!)
- Extra Pacifier (Also, pacifier clips. If you only have one paci with you, you DON’T want to lose it!)
- Sippy Cup
- Special Toy or Book
- Hat (This is a great one that you can hopefully use for a few years.)
- Light Blanket
- Hand Sanitizer
Don’t stress about having everything in your diaper bag.
Do your best to have the essentials, and don’t stress about the rest. Even if you only have a diaper and some wipes in the trunk of the car, that’s better than nothing.
But instead of trying to make sure you have everything imaginable, focus on a few items, and check that you have them every time. If you’re a new mom and you can barely remember what you had for breakfast, there’s no shame in making a list of what goes in the diaper bag!
And remember: if you’re ever in a situation where you need something (diaper, clean outfit, etc), there’s probably a mom nearby who would be happy to lend a hand.
Tell me below what you need in your diaper bag, and please share this on Pinterest!
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