What To Pack In A Diaper Bag

August 17, 2023

So, you’re a new parent, huh? Congratulations! Now that you have entered the world of parenthood, you’ll quickly realize that a diaper bag is like your new best friend. It’s always by your side, ready to tackle any baby-related emergency.

But what exactly should you pack in this magical bag? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. In this guide, we’ll explore the essential items that every parent should have in their diaper bag, ensuring you’re prepared for any situation that may arise while you’re out and about with your little one.

When it comes to taking care of your little one, being prepared is key. Whether you’re heading out for a quick trip to the grocery store or embarking on a day-long adventure, having the right essentials on hand can make all the difference.

We’ll cover everything you need to pack in your diaper bag to ensure you’re fully equipped for any situation that may arise.

What To Pack In A Diaper Bag

Looking for the best diaper bags currently on the market? Check our guide here.


Let’s start with the obvious – diapers. Whether you prefer disposable or cloth, having an ample supply of diapers is a must. Remember to pack more than you think you’ll need, as you never know when a blowout or unexpected diaper change might occur. It’s always better to be safe than sorry!


Alongside diapers, wipes are an essential item for any diaper bag. They come in handy for more than just diaper changes – you can use them to clean up spills, wipe down surfaces, and even freshen up yourself on-the-go. Opt for a travel-sized pack of wipes to save space in your bag.

Changing Pad

To make diaper changes a breeze no matter where you are, don’t forget to include a changing pad in your diaper bag. This portable, foldable pad provides a clean and comfortable surface for your little one during diaper changes, ensuring both convenience and hygiene.

Diaper Rash Cream

Prevention is key when it comes to diaper rash, but it’s always a good idea to have some diaper rash cream on hand just in case. Look for a travel-sized tube or opt for single-use packets to save space in your diaper bag.

Hand Sanitizer

Keeping your hands clean and germ-free is of utmost importance when handling your baby. Pack a travel-sized hand sanitizer in your diaper bag so you can easily sanitize your hands before and after diaper changes or any other baby-related tasks. It’s a quick and convenient way to keep germs at bay.

Now that we’ve covered the diapering essentials, let’s move on to the feeding supplies you should include in your diaper bag.


If you’re bottle-feeding your baby, packing a few bottles in your diaper bag is essential. Make sure they are clean and filled with formula or breast milk before leaving the house. Opt for bottles that are easy to clean and assemble, and consider packing a few extra nipple tops just in case.

Formula or Breast Milk

Alongside the bottles, don’t forget to include an adequate supply of formula or breast milk in your diaper bag. For formula, pack pre-measured powder in a separate container or opt for ready-to-feed formula bottles. If you’re breastfeeding, bringing a few expressed milk bottles will ensure you have a backup plan in case nursing isn’t feasible at the moment.


Spills and dribbles are a common occurrence during feeding time, so having a few bibs in your diaper bag can be a lifesaver. Look for bibs that are easy to clean and fasten securely to keep your baby’s clothes dry and clean.

Burp Cloths

Burping your baby is an essential part of feeding, and having burp cloths on hand can help protect your clothes from messes. These soft and absorbent cloths are perfect for throwing over your shoulder to catch any drool or spit-up during burping sessions.


As your little one grows, they may start showing interest in solid foods. Having some age-appropriate snacks in your diaper bag can be a great way to keep them satisfied while out and about. Pack a variety of easy-to-eat and mess-free snacks, such as baby puffs or fruit puree pouches, to keep hunger at bay.

Now that you’ve got the diapering and feeding essentials covered, let’s move on to the next section: clothing and accessories.

Extra Outfits

Babies are notorious for their ability to make a mess at any given moment, so packing a few extra outfits in your diaper bag is always a smart idea. Include a couple of onesies, pants, and socks to ensure you’re prepared for any spit-ups, diaper leaks, or messy mealtime incidents.


Protecting your baby’s delicate skin from the sun or harsh weather is crucial, so don’t forget to pack a hat or two in your diaper bag. Opt for hats with a wide brim to shield their face and neck from harmful UV rays during sunny days, or choose a warmer hat to keep them cozy during colder weather.


Even if you’re dressing your baby in shoes, it’s always a good idea to have a few pairs of socks in your diaper bag. Socks help keep those tiny toes warm and snug, and they’re also handy if you need to change your baby’s outfit or encounter unexpected weather changes.


Having a soft and lightweight blanket in your diaper bag is a versatile essential. It can be used to keep your baby warm, provide a clean and comfortable surface for them to lay on, or even serve as a makeshift privacy shield when breastfeeding in public.


If your baby relies on a pacifier for soothing and comfort, make sure to include a spare one or two in your diaper bag. Pacifiers have a tendency to get lost or fall on the ground, so having extras on hand can be a real lifesaver, especially during fussy moments or when trying to calm your baby on-the-go.

Now that you’re a pro at packing the essentials for diapering, feeding, and clothing, let’s move on to the hygiene items that should always have a spot in your diaper bag.

What To Pack In A Diaper Bag

Baby Wash

Whether you’re planning a long outing or a quick trip, having baby wash in your diaper bag is a smart move. Accidents happen, and having a small bottle or travel-sized packet of baby wash ensures that you can quickly and easily clean up messes on the go.

Hooded Towel

After bath time or a spontaneous splash in a puddle, a hooded towel becomes your go-to item for drying off and keeping your baby warm. Opt for a compact and lightweight hooded towel that won’t take up too much space in your diaper bag.

Brush or Comb

Even the tiniest babies can benefit from a gentle brush or comb to help tame their hair or deal with tangles. Include a soft-bristled brush or comb in your diaper bag to keep your little one looking neat and tidy, and of course, to capture those adorable photo moments.

Nail Clippers

Babies’ nails can grow surprisingly fast, and those tiny nails can cause unintentional scratches. Packing a pair of baby nail clippers in your diaper bag ensures that you can trim their nails when needed, preventing any accidental harm to their delicate skin.


From runny noses to small spills, having a pack of tissues in your diaper bag comes in handy more often than you might expect. Stay prepared for those unexpected messes or gentle wipes with a small travel-sized pack of tissues.

Now that you’ve got the diapering, feeding, clothing, and hygiene essentials covered, it’s essential to pack the items that can help ease any discomfort or address minor injuries.

Infant Pain Reliever

Every parent hopes their baby won’t experience pain or discomfort, but it’s always better to be prepared. Including a bottle or package of infant pain reliever in your diaper bag can provide quick relief for minor ailments, such as teething pain or a low-grade fever. Consult with your pediatrician before using any medication on your baby.


A reliable thermometer is an absolute must-have for any diaper bag. Whether you prefer a digital thermometer or a temporal artery thermometer, make sure you pack one that is accurate, easy to use, and takes up minimal space.


Bumps and bruises are bound to happen as your little one starts exploring the world. Packing a few adhesive band-aids in your diaper bag ensures that you’re ready to provide quick comfort when needed. Look for band-aids specifically designed for babies, as they are often gentler on their delicate skin.

Antiseptic Cream

Accidents can lead to minor cuts, scrapes, or scratches, and having a small tube of antiseptic cream in your diaper bag can help prevent infection and promote healing. Apply a small amount to any minor wounds to keep them clean and protected until you can properly tend to them.

Teething Gel

Teething can be a challenging time for both you and your baby. A small tube of teething gel in your diaper bag can provide temporary relief from the discomfort associated with teething. Check with your pediatrician for recommendations on teething gels that are safe for your baby to use.

Now that we’ve covered all the baby essentials, let’s not forget about the items that can help keep your little one entertained and engaged while you’re on the go.


Keeping your baby entertained is crucial, especially during long outings or moments when they need a distraction. Pack a few small, lightweight toys in your diaper bag to keep your little one engaged and happy. Look for toys that are easy to clean and don’t have small parts that could pose a choking hazard.


Reading to your baby is not only a great way to bond but also stimulates their developing brain. Include a couple of board books or small soft books in your diaper bag to entertain and engage your little one with colorful pictures and simple stories.

Teething Rings

If your baby is going through the teething phase, having a few teething rings in your diaper bag can be a real lifesaver. These rings provide relief and help soothe sore gums, giving your baby something safe and comforting to chew on.

Sippy Cup

As your baby grows older, introducing a sippy cup becomes an important milestone. Include a spill-proof sippy cup in your diaper bag so your little one can stay hydrated on the go. Look for cups that are easy to clean and manage independently.

Coloring Book and Crayons

If you have an older toddler or a preschooler, packing a small coloring book and washable crayons in your diaper bag can be a fun and educational activity to keep them occupied during outings. Coloring can help develop their fine motor skills and creativity, while also providing a moment of quiet relaxation.

While ensuring your baby has everything they need is essential, it’s also crucial not to forget about your own essentials as a parent.

What To Pack In A Diaper Bag


As a parent, it’s always necessary to have your wallet on hand. Pack your wallet in your diaper bag to ensure you have all the essentials, such as identification cards, payment methods, and emergency contact information readily available.


Don’t forget to bring your keys along when you head out with your little one. Keeping them in your diaper bag eliminates the risk of misplacing or forgetting them when you’re juggling multiple tasks and responsibilities.


In today’s connected world, it’s nearly impossible to leave the house without your phone. Pack your phone in your diaper bag so you can easily access important contacts, capture precious moments, or stay connected with family and friends.


Parenting can be exhausting, and it’s important to make sure you take care of yourself too. Including a few of your favorite snacks in your diaper bag can help keep hunger at bay and provide a quick pick-me-up when needed.

Water Bottle

Staying hydrated is essential for both you and your baby, so don’t forget to pack a water bottle in your diaper bag. Opt for a reusable, spill-proof bottle that you can easily refill throughout the day.

While focused on your baby’s needs, it’s crucial not to overlook emergency supplies that may come in handy during unexpected situations.

Extra Pacifier

As mentioned earlier, having a spare pacifier in your diaper bag can be a real lifesaver. Babies have a knack for losing or dropping their pacifiers at the most inconvenient times, so having a backup ready can help calm your baby and prevent meltdowns.

Extra Clothes for Parents

Accidents happen, and you might find yourself in need of a change of clothes too. Pack an extra set of clothes for yourself in your diaper bag to avoid any discomfort or embarrassment in case of spills, diaper leaks, or other unexpected messes.

Disposable Bags

Having a few disposable bags in your diaper bag can be a game-changer, especially when it comes to disposing of dirty diapers, soiled clothes, or any other unexpected messes. Opt for bags with a seal or tie closure to ensure maximum odor control.

Emergency Contact List

In case of an emergency, having a list of important phone numbers readily available is essential. Include a copy of your local emergency services, your pediatrician, and other important contacts in your diaper bag for quick reference when needed.


A flashlight may not be the first thing that comes to mind when packing your diaper bag, but it can be incredibly useful in unexpected situations. Whether you need to navigate through a dark area or find small items that have fallen under a seat, having a compact flashlight on hand is always a good idea.

Now that you’re well-prepared for everyday situations, let’s move on to the seasonal items that deserve a spot in your diaper bag based on the weather and time of year.


Protecting your baby’s delicate skin from the sun’s harmful rays is crucial, regardless of the season. Packing a travel-sized bottle of baby sunscreen in your diaper bag ensures you’re always prepared to apply sunscreen when needed, particularly during sunny days or when spending time outdoors.

Sun Hat

In addition to sunscreen, a sun hat is another essential item to have in your diaper bag during sunny weather. Opt for a hat with a wide brim to provide shade for your baby’s face and neck, and choose materials that are breathable and lightweight for maximum comfort.

Insect Repellent

During warmer months or when venturing into areas with a high bug population, having insect repellent in your diaper bag can help protect your baby from mosquito bites and other pesky insects. Look for repellents specially formulated for babies and avoid products with harmful chemicals.

Hand Fan

When temperatures soar, having a small hand fan in your diaper bag can provide quick relief for both you and your baby. Opt for a fan that is compact, battery-operated, and easy to use to keep you and your little one cool during hot weather.

Extra Layers

Weather can be unpredictable, regardless of the season. Packing an extra layer of clothing, such as a light sweater or jacket, in your diaper bag ensures that your baby stays comfortable and protected against unexpected temperature changes.

Finally, let’s not forget the travel must-haves that can make your adventures with your baby more enjoyable and stress-free.

Baby Carrier or Sling

When you’re on the move, a baby carrier or sling can be a lifesaver. Keeping your hands free while keeping your baby close provides convenience, comfort, and bonding time. Choose a carrier or sling that is comfortable for both you and your baby, and practice using it before heading out.


For longer outings or when you need a break from carrying your baby, having a lightweight and compact stroller can be a game-changer. Look for a stroller that is easy to fold and maneuver, and consider one with storage compartments for added convenience.

Travel-Size Toiletries

If you’re going on a longer trip or plan to be away from home during feeding or bedtime routines, packing travel-sized toiletries can help ensure your baby stays clean and comfortable. Include a travel-sized baby wash, lotion, and any other products you normally use as part of your baby’s routine.

Travel Changing Pad

While most diaper bags come with a changing pad, having an additional travel-sized changing pad can come in handy. It provides a clean and comfortable surface for diaper changes wherever you are, giving you peace of mind knowing that your baby is safe and clean.

Portable Crib or Playpen

If you’re planning an overnight trip or an extended stay away from home, a portable crib or playpen can provide a familiar and safe sleeping space for your baby. Look for a lightweight and easy-to-assemble option that can be easily packed into your diaper bag.

Now that you know what essentials to pack in your diaper bag, you can confidently tackle any adventure or outing with your little one. Remember to regularly check and replenish your supplies to ensure you’re always prepared for whatever comes your way. Happy parenting and happy travels!

Sandra McNeil, PhD.
Sandra McNeil, PhD.

Sandra has over 13 years of experience as a child psychologist, both as a practitioner and researcher. She has a Bachelor's in child psychology from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor and then she did her master's in Psychology in Education (focused on Children & Families) at Columbia University, NY. She has been writing for health and child-related publications for over 5 years now.

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