What You Need in Your Diaper Bag for a Newborn
After two kids, countless trips to the park, the store, and not to mention traveling – I finally feel like I’ve gotten the hang of packing a diaper bag! This post will cover allll of my essentials for your diaper bag when you’re out with your baby.
So, if you’re getting ready for baby’s arrival and getting yours together and organized, this diaper bag checklist will help you make sure you don’t miss any of the important items, and also hopefully make it easier for you to manage everything from carseat blowouts, to impromptu dinners out.
First up: wipes! You’ll want to have at least one pack of wipes on hand at all times. Wipes are almost like Windex – they can be used in a pinch to help clean off almost anything.
I prefer the pop-top kind, because the ones with a reusable sticky top almost always wear out and then don’t close properly, which will eventually dry out your wipes.
Bonus Mom Tip: If you need swim diapers, Huggies has a reusable wipes case that comes along as a freebie with their swim diapers. The case is awesome, and is now the one that I use everyday.
Related Reading: 10 Beach Essentials You’ll Want For Your Baby This Summer
This is kind of a no brainer, but it has to be on the list for newborn diaper bags, because sometimes the most obvious things are the things you forget (and trust me, I’ve forgotten to refill my diaper stash before).
I like to keep 2-3 diapers in my diaper bag for toddlers, and probably 4-6 for newborns, since the blowouts are much more frequent. Pampers Swaddlers are my favorites for the newborn stage.
3. Change of clothes (two or three sets)
Going along with the diapers and blowout theme, at least two changes of clothes are a must have in your diaper bag for a newborn.
If your baby is prone to blowouts like mine were, I would definitely pack three or four onesies and some extra shorts or pants as well.
4. Breast Pump Wipes
Even if you’re not pumping on the go, these wipes from Medela are incredibly useful to have and are a must. I still carry these in my diaper bag and my kids are well into the toddler phase!
These wipes are almost like soap and water, so besides using them for breast pump parts/accessories, you can use them to clean high chairs, changing tables, counters, toys, and more. So so useful, and they’re larger than most on-the-go wipes.
5. Pacifier Wipes
I loved these pacifier wipes for anything that went into my baby’s mouth and would inevitably fall on the floor.
Pacis, teething toys, bottles – these are perfect for cleaning those when you don’t have access to soap and water, and are made with natural ingredients to ensure they’re safe for baby. They also have a pop-top, which you know I love!
6. Boogie Wipes
If you haven’t heard about boogie wipes, you’ll definitely want to check them out and add them to your baby shopping list.
These are gentle, saline wipes that are perfect for you little one’s nose, but can be used on their hands and feet too. Always good to have for runny noses.
Mom Tip: If you have a blowout prone baby, piddle pads are a great way to save your carseat from getting dirty all the time, and are much easier to wash!
Related Reading: The Best Tips for Traveling with Kids
I didn’t do a ton of feedings on the go, but having a burp cloth in my diaper bag was still really helpful for those occasional bottle feedings or mall restroom nursing sessions.
8. Drool Bibs
Sometimes even better than a burpcloth, I really appreciated having drool bibs in my diaper bag during the newborn and infant stage. Perfect for a quick wipe post-feeding, and for the teething days.
The Copper Pearl drool bibs are my favorite, because they’re made of a super soft organic cotton and fleece, easy to wash and clean, and come in adorable patterns for boys and girls.
9. Nursing Cover
Nursing covers are nice to have and can be dual purpose – some are made to be carseat covers as well (to keep things dark and help your baby nap, or to keep them cool and out of the sun).
The Boppy cover is great because the top is a little more structured, making it easier to take a peek at baby while they’re feeding. It also has a small pocket and is machine washable.
The Milkmaid Goods ponchos are incredibly soft, come in the prettiest patterns, and can be used as a carseat cover as well.
I love how lightweight it is, but without any structure or frame at the top, it is a little hard to see baby while they’re under the poncho. Still a great option, and both easily fold to fit into your diaper bag.
10. Nursing Pads
If you’re breastfeeding, you’ll want to pack a handful of extra nursing pads along with you in case you miss a feeding or have to delay and find yourself leaking a bit!
Related Reading: The Breastfeeding Tips All New Moms Should Know
10. Ice Packs and Insulated Bag
If you’re planning to bottle feed – either formula or breastmilk – it’s a good idea to have an insulated bag and ice packs in your diaper bag to keep breastmilk or already mixed formula, cold.
My Skip Hop diaper bag, which is unfortunately no longer available, came with an insulated bag. The quality and size were perfect – this is a similar option.
Though we tried not to use a pacifier at home every day since it can easily become a sleep prop that’s hard to wean baby off of, we definitely used them while out and about to help calm our fussy newborns, or hold off a feeding for a few extra minutes.
If you haven’t heard of Wubbanubs, they are basically pacifiers with a stuffed animal attached. Babies love them – and toddlers do too! My son still sleeps with his, though we’ve long removed the pacifier portion.
Keep in mind that these are not safe to leave in the crib alone with a newborn because of the stuffed animal.
Good news is, there’s now a similar option to a Wubbanub that has a detachable pacifier. So you can either get that kind, the original where the pacifier is sewn to the animal, or just the pacifier alone (which is called a Soothie and is known for being one of the best pacis).
12. Teething Toy
Teething toys, or just a toy for baby to suck on, is great to have, especially if you’re trying to have a quick dinner out and just need them to stay occupied.
Fresh newborns may be a little young for this, since they can’t really grab onto much, but at about 3 months, you’ll definitely want to have a toy in your diaper bag. We liked the Nuby keys.
These rings were also a favorite, because they are easy to hold onto, and can be attached to things like carseats and baby carriers.
13. Diaper Bags
Diaper bags in a diaper bag essentials list? I thought these had some other name, but what I’m referring to here are the disposable plastic bags for dirty diapers.
These are another multi-use item that I love and have continued to use for the last three and a half years. I use them for any kind of trash – wipes, random trash in the car, and of course, for dirty diapers on the go from my youngest.
14. Changing Pad
Most diaper bags should already come with a changing pad, but if it doesn’t, make sure to purchase one separately!
Changing pads are essential for your diaper bag checklist. You definitely will not want to put your baby on a public changing station without an extra barrier (or without scrubbing it down with a lot of clorox wipes), and they’re useful in so many other situations.
15. Hand Sanitizer
I had hand sanitizer in my diaper bag even before the days of a global pandemic, so I consider this one a must-have diaper bag item for sure!
Since it’s not always possible to wash your (or your child’s’) hands, having a kid friendly hand sanitizer is a good idea. We’ve always liked and used Babyganics’ alcohol free hand sanitizer for our kids and ourselves.
It can be hard to come by these days, but as I’m writing this, there is some in stock!
Having an extra blanket is really helpful. Even if you live in a very hot climate like we did, having a blanket on hand for an air conditioned restaurant is a good idea.
I love pottery barn’s customizable blankets – they are so plush and comfortable. The only downside is they are thicker and bulkier, so they may be hard to actually fit into your diaper bag.
Our other favorites were these muslin swaddle blankets, which are thin, soft, and don’t take up a ton of room. These also work great when you’re in a pinch for something snuggly for baby.
17. Wet/Dry Bag
Ok, last on the list, and an important one that we still use with our toddlers, is a wet dry bag. These are perfect for putting dirty or wet clothing. I throw our wet/dry bag in the washing machine and leave it to air dry.
We have this style from Pottery Barn, (in a different pattern) and love it.
Best Diaper Bags for Newborns
If you’re wondering how or where you’re going to fit all of this stuff, surprisingly enough, it’s not as tough as you may think!
For my two toddlers, I use a backpack diaper bag from Jujube that looks very compact, but fits a surprisingly large amount of stuff.
I LOVE this bag. It’s held up incredibly well over the last three years, comes in a bunch of different designs/patterns, and is machine washable (among a ton of features).
I do think that a larger bag is helpful for a newborn though, especially if you are taking bottles and ice packs along with you.
I would normally put my insulated bag in the basket of my stroller, but if you are often traveling without a stroller, you may want a larger diaper bag.
So what’s a good, larger newborn diaper bag?
I originally purchased a Skip Hop shoulder diaper bag, which was huge and great for all of the newborn stuff I needed. It also came with an insulated bag for bottles, and a mesh packing cube for clothing, which is a permanent staple in my current diaper bag.
This Skip Hop bag is similar in size, and is a shoulder/messenger style like my first bag.
Once I started putting my baby in a carrier though, I realized a backpack diaper bag was a necessity and much more comfortable.
If you’re thinking you’ll use a carrier often, this backpack by Skiphop is very roomy, comes with a mesh bag and an insulated bag for bottles, and the price is great, especially compared to other backpack diaper bags on the market.
What are your must-haves for your diaper bag?
Related Newborn Posts:
- The Ultimate Guide to What Newborn Babies Actually Need
- How to Get Your Newborn to Sleep
- The Best New Mom Apps You’ll Want to Have
- What I Learned About Parenting Two Under Two
- 8 Must-Haves and Tips for Coping with a Toddler and Newborn