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How to Pack Your Newborn’s Diaper Bag

Heading out for even the shortest newborn excursion requires-at a bare minimum-having diaper-changing essentials on hand with you for at least two diaper changes.

So what are the must-have diaper bag items? What can you leave home? Here’s our diaper bag checklist with recommendations to keep you prepared—and your new baby comfy—on the go.

Bare essentials diaper bag checklist:

  • Weather-appropriate change of clothes
  • Bottles with either breast milk or formula
  • At least 2 diapers. If you’re going to be out of the house for more than two hours, consider bringing without 3 or 4 diapers. The younger the baby, the more unpredictable their diapers will be.
  • Diaper wipes or a washable soft cloth for wiping
  • 4-6 plastic bags for disposing of messy diapers and wrapping up soiled clothes
  • A change of baby clothes. Better yet, make it two.
  • Paper towels (or a soft cloth) to wipe your own hands before & after.
  • Diaper cream

The “good idea” diaper bag checklist:

  • Pacifiers (at least 2) if you use them
  • Hat (for sun protection on sunny days and heat retention on colder, cloudy days)
  • Socks (newborn socks have a habit of falling off & getting lost in the weirdest places. Good to have a backup pair.)
  • Lovie or soft snuggle toy that can be introduced during nursing when baby is about 6 weeks old to help provide comfort and familiarity during outings
  • Toys and board books. For toys, a single set rattle rings or a small multi-sensory object will do. Newborns won’t have much use for toys yet, but by 9-12 weeks, you might start to see some interest. And it’s never too early to read to your new baby!
  • Privacy shield, such as a muslin blanket by Swaddle Designs or Aden + Anais or a nursing cover, to be used for sun protection and for discreet breastfeeding
  • Newborn Diaper Change & Feeding Log, if you’re keeping track of your newborn’s input and output
  • Burp cloths. Be prepared for spit up wherever you go!
  • Nursing pads — because you never know when leaks will happen
  • A bottle of water for you. Nursing moms should drink 8 oz of water at each feeding to stay hydrated, so put a bottle in your baby’s diaper bag to be prepared.
  • Snack bar for you. Nursing moms need more calories and nutrients than pregnant women! You may find yourself out and about, stuck in traffic, or otherwise stranded and suddenly ravenously hungry as a mom of a newborn. Put some nutrition bars in your diaper bag to be prepared.

Things you don’t need to pack for your newborn’s diaper bag:

  • Nail clippers and other grooming tools. You’ll have your hands full with your newborn on-the-go. Don’t expect to be able to clip baby’s nails or brush hair while you’re out. Do it before you leave the house and call it good.
  • Sunblock. Not until baby is 1 year old should you use sunblock or sunscreen. Until then, keep baby’s head covered and face shielded from sun using hats and light blankets or shades.
  • Baby powder . It’s more mess than it’s worth. It just takes one time for the container to open in your diaper bag and it’s game over. Save it for home.
  • Body lotion or Vaseline. Save your baby lotion and oils for morning and evening routines. And Vaseline is a petroleum product. Don’t put it on your newborn, please.

When it comes to packing your newborn’s diaper bag, new moms soon discover that there’s no such thing anymore as “traveling light” with a new baby.

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