How Long Do You Use A Diaper Bag? (Packing For Newborns, Infants, & Toddlers)

A diaper bag comes off as a great help to all the parents out there. When the labor starts and the baby is born to being a newborn, infant, and toddler, the diaper bag is needed through it all. Some items that stay common and are must-have essentials in the bag include diapers, wipes, sanitizer, rash cream, changing mat, and extra clothes. But other items keep on changing as the baby grows to meet their needs. A diaper bag isn’t very useful for preemie babies as the hospital takes care of everything. The key to a great diaper bag is finding a backpack with lots of pockets to make things efficient. 

Traveling with your little munchkin is a literal goal, but only until you go for a diaper change only to realize that you forgot rash cream back home. With things becoming more manageable and compact, more and more new parents travel with their babies.

And if it’s anything, a diaper bag full of all the necessary things for your kid is the most important thing on your checklist. Whether a newborn, infant, or toddler, packing all the right things for the right age kid can turn a disastrous trip into a successful one.

Let’s see these items that are a must-have for a well-stocked diaper bag for every stress-free mom!

Diaper bag essentials 

A mom is packing a diaper bag with her baby's essential items like diapers and a bottle.

What differentiates an easy-breezy outing with your baby from a messed-up one is how well you’ve prepared and what’s in your diaper bag!

Diaper bag items differ from child to child based on their preferences and the place you’re going to. But there’re essential must-have items that every parent needs to make sure they have packed for their child, and extra diapers are not the only thing you need to keep in there. No matter the weather of the place you’re going to, these items will be required everywhere by your child. 

Here’s a list of these must-have diaper bag essentials:

Diapers

The most important thing that no one ever misses out on but forgets to check is if they still have plenty of them in their diaper bag. The number of diapers will differ depending on how old your baby is. Of course, newborns need more diapers as compared to older babies. 

We want to ensure that you keep enough diapers but not so many that you overpack. An estimation of your child’s current usage plus 2 extra diapers would be enough based on how long the journey is. 

Wipes

The next obvious thing that parents focus on is keeping baby wipes. Without them, you’ll be in so much trouble, and especially if they run out in mid wiping of your kid’s butt. 

Now the smaller pack of wipes is costlier, so what you can do is buy the bigger packs in bulk, and when you’re halfway done with one pack at home, you can keep the rest in the diaper bag. This way, you can budget on wipes more efficiently. 

Diaper rash cream

Babies are sensitive, and this rash ointment can be really helpful in making sure your little one’s thighs and sensitive area remain rash-free.

Now, since you’re outside, you can let them roam diaper-free but have to change them into a diaper. Rash cream works well in keeping the skin soft and, in turn, keeping your baby happy and not in an irritable mood. 

Changing mat

Often, when you’re traveling, you may not be able to find a changing mat where you can gently place your little one and comfortably change them. So, keeping one in your diaper bag can save you from a lot of hassle and make it easy for you to place it anywhere and change your baby.

If you’re doubtful about keeping a changing mat in your diaper bag, there are also portable changing mats. These come with 2-3 pockets, which you can fill with diapers, rash cream, and wipes, and they’re not that spacious and only meant for a small outing. 

Change of clothes

You wonder how easy could it be for the baby to ruin their clothes, it turns out very! Just because your baby isn’t in the toddler stage yet doesn’t mean they still can’t ruin their clothes. An infant baby can easily pee on their own clothes while mid diaper change or throw up and need a change. So, keeping an extra change of clothes is minimum. Some parents even keep two if they know they’ll be needing it. 

Sanitizer

This has recently become even more essential than we could have imagined it would. Sanitizer is necessary for the parents to use before and after they have changed their babies. But it also comes in handy when your baby is in the toddler stage. An age where their hands are somehow always dirty, and sanitizer comes to the rescue. 

Other items for diaper bag

Burp cloth

An essential for newborns and infants, a burp cloth is a must-have for children at this stage. You can choose to keep two burp cloths according to your needs. The burp cloth is a must-have for kids this age because when you decide to burp your child after feeding, there’s a high chance of them spitting. 

Pacifier

New parents think it’s okay to buy two pacifiers for their baby, one is for home, and the other will be kept safe in the diaper bag. You should have at least two pacifiers in the diaper bag alone. 

There’s a good chance your baby might drop the only pacifier you’ve kept in the bag. So, always be prepared with an extra one if your little one can’t live without it. 

Bottle formula

Of course, if you keep your little munchkin bottle-feeding or are in the weaning process, keeping the bottle in the bag is necessary. Even if you store your breast milk, keep a bottle of it always in the bag.

Sometimes, you might not be able to breastfeed them, and in that case, the bottle comes really handy; even your partner can take care of the hungry baby in such a case. There are also ways you can keep the bottle warm on the go too.

Snacks

When your toddler is trying new finger food, keeping snacks in the diaper bag is only understandable, and keep high-protein snacks that can be useful for you and your baby too. So, even if your baby doesn’t want to have milk, hand them the snacks. 

Toys

Always keep 3-4 toys in the bag so you can hand them over to your child whenever you need to occupy your child. Buy the ones which make noise and not the boring ones. Keep updating the toys as your child grows older. Don’t forget to keep their favorite toy in there. 

Diaper bag for all ages

Diaper bag for newborn

Even though the above list is what every mom needs in their diaper bag irrespective of the age of their little one, a diaper bag explicitly catering to your baby’s age is what you need. 

Depending on their age, they’ll need a few extra specific things that will change as they grow older, while the essential items will remain the same.

For a newborn, you would need a list of the following items in your diaper bag:

  • 5-6 diapers
  • Pack of wipes
  • Rash cream
  • Changing mat
  • Sanitiser
  • 2 extra outfits and socks
  • 2 burp cloths
  • A blanket and swaddling blanket
  • Nursing cover
  • Formula or breastmilk bottle
  • Pacifier
  • Bags for disposing of dirty diapers or keeping soiled clothes

Don’t keep toys at this stage of your baby, and they aren’t of the age where they can be amused by toys or play with them. Of course, you can’t carry a toy mobile with you when traveling and other kinds of toys won’t be helpful. 

Diaper bag for 2 to 3-month-old

Everything in the newborn section plus a couple more extra clothes and burp cloths. This is a stage when the spitting and spilling will start. 

By this time, people stop packing their swaddling blankets in there. Your baby doesn’t need it anymore, so remember to take it out. You don’t need to stuff the bag with unnecessary things. So, take out things that your baby doesn’t need. But if they still do, then do keep it in there. 

Diaper bag for 4 to 6-month-old

Things previously mentioned, plus a couple of more toys and a teether. Your baby will start holding onto things at this stage, so toys will be a great distraction and learning opportunity for your kid. 

Diaper bag for 7 to 12-month-old

Everything mentioned above plus the following items:

  • 2-3 baby food pouches and 1 container
  • 1 bib
  • 1 sippy cup
  • 1 book and a few toys

But there’re also items you don’t need anymore and will only be an extra in the diaper bag. Keeping everything in the bag will make finding the required things harder. 

This is the time to take out burp cloths as your baby won’t be spitting out by that age. Reduce the number of extra clothes you’ve put in the bag, as you won’t be spoiling too many clothes too. This will also reduce the number of diapers needed. In fact, by this time, many parents teach their kids to use the washroom at certain times. 

Diaper bag for toddler

When your kid comes in this stage, you need to take out almost everything and keep only a few things there. So, take out everything and look at the stuff you need to keep. Most probably, parents only focus on the following stuff:

  • Pull-ups or diapers
  • Change of clothes
  • Toys
  • Snacks
  • Sippy cup
  • Wipes

This is basically everything that you need. If you’ve potty trained your kid by this stage, you can significantly reduce the number of diapers needed. 

Diaper bag for preemie babies

A baby born prematurely needs to be handled with great care and attention. They still need to go through normal development like every baby does in the womb, but now they would be doing it in the outside world.

This development needs to be overlooked carefully, and every need of the premature baby should be tended to, which is why they are kept in the hospital and only allowed to leave once they reach their due date.

Depending on how early they’re born, different kinds of development will occur and need to be watched out for. Since they’re at the hospital, the nurse and doctor will take care of all of it. 

From time to time, you can hold your baby and start nursing when they’re closer to their due date to make them familiar with the concept. The people at the hospital will take the overall care, so there is no particular need for a diaper bag. 

When the time is right, as the premature baby reaches their due date, you can start stocking your diaper bag with the necessities of a one-month-old baby. 

Diaper bag for hospital

Packing a diaper bag for the hospital should be done a month before the due date. This bag will be the life-saver for your partner during the birth/labor and after it. Most importantly, this bag will also contain all the essentials needed for your baby after they’re born.

Making a list of all the essential items needed and packed in advance will be of immense help when rushing to the hospital. Since it’s only for a few days and needs to have stuff your partner needs, it’s essential to prepare a big bag for all the items required.

Below is a list of items your baby will need after the birth in hospital:

  • Bodysuits/onesies
  • Socks and booties
  • Blanket
  • Diapers/cloth nappies
  • Wipes
  • Bibs
  • Outfit for when going home
  • Soft towel
  • Bed protector mat
  • Mittens
  • Rash cream
  • Baby toiletries

These are about all the items needed for the baby. One thing you should do in advance for the baby is to install a car seat and make sure you install this too one month ago from when the baby is due. 

How to select a good diaper bag?

An essential step towards having an efficient life with your kid is getting a diaper bag that is easier to manage. First, you need to select a diaper bag that can be easily packed. 

A bag with lots of pockets is preferable since you can clearly see the content and fix pockets for things. One pocket will contain one item making it easier to take it out whenever you’re in a hurry. If you select a random bag with great depth but only one or two pockets, you’ll end up storing all the stuff in the bag, making it impossible to find things when needed. 

Also, it would help if you kept many other things that could make the whole thing more effective. Items such as Ziploc bags are handy when you can’t throw the diaper away but putting it inside the bag will ruin it. 

I think a backpack diaper bag is much better than a shoulder purse diaper bag, and this makes it easier to carry it around as anyone can carry backpacks. 

FAQs

At what age do you stop using a diaper bag?

It depends from kid to kid when they don’t need a diaper bag anymore. Although typically used for storing diapers, this bag can be of great help when your baby has grown out of the diaper stage.

It’s great for keeping your baby’s sippy cup, snacks, toys, and books. So, if it’s still in great shape, it’s only great for storing other stuff when your baby grows out of their diaper needs. 

Is a diaper bag really necessary?

You might not realize the importance of a diaper bag until you’ve your newborn in your arms and you can’t find the rash cream because you forgot to prepare a diaper bag for all your baby’s necessities. 

At first, some parents think they can handle everything perfectly and don’t need so many items and even buy a diaper bag. Only when they can’t find what they’re looking for at a particular time do they realize the need for it. 

A diaper bag keeps all the items your baby needs in one place and ready to go whenever and wherever you’re going to. You don’t need to struggle with remembering to take anything, just take the diaper bag with you, and you’re good to go. 

Can I use any bag as a diaper bag?

Of course, you can get any bag and fill it with stuff your little one would need at their age. The issue arises when it affects your efficiency. A diaper bag is designed in a particular way that has enough pockets to keep all the stuff you need in an organized way. 

It’s easier to carry such a bag designed to fulfill all your needs efficiently. So, whenever choosing a diaper bag, buy a backpack with lots of pockets. 

Do you need to bring diapers and wipes to the hospital?

The hospital usually provides everything that your baby will need after birth. Diapers, wipes, rash cream, utilities for your baby will all be there for you to use. Of course, a diaper bag is a must to bring to the hospital but not filled with extra items since everything else is available at the hospital. 

You should bring a bodysuit, mittens, socks, a soft towel, cloth nappies, clothes, and an outfit for when going home. This is usually what you should be bringing in the diaper bag. 

How do you store bottles in a diaper bag?

When storing a bottle in the diaper bag, always keep it in a snug pocket so it doesn’t roll away and spill. There’re specific pockets for bottles in the diaper bag these days. But also try to find bottles with a screw cap on, which will prevent further chances of leakage from the bottles. 

To summarize

A diaper bag is a must-have for all the parents out there with their infants. From the beginning, when their little one is one month old to when they turn an infant and even a toddler, this diaper bag comes as a blessing to all. 

Of course, as your kiddo grows older, you need to make some changes that cater to the specific needs of their age. This will also lighten your diaper bag and not let it overflow with stuff you don’t need anymore, keeping the rest of the baby items at home. 

The diaper bag is also necessary for the mother when going into labor. But you don’t need it so much if you have a preemie baby as the hospital takes care of everything. So make sure to buy a diaper bag with lots of pockets to store all the different things. 

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