Whether you are a first time mother like me or you’ve got three little ones under your belt, we have something in common. The most common thing we share as mothers and women is the fact: our nappy bags are our go-to survival kit. Like any mother who spends a majority of her life on the go and longs for the day of taking her dust covered handbag out of storage, we tend to gravitate towards a few things when it comes to picking and choosing nappy bags. One being, they must be stylish (hello handbag!) and secondly, we need a bag that is versatile, spacious and comfortable to carry or wear all day, every day.
In my case, I opted to have spaciousness and comfort any day of the week because I experience lower back pain and a need to pack several outfits for Baby O’Chunky. Which has come in handy of late because Baby O has discovered he can do blow outs and there’s nothing quite like finding myself having to change his nappy in the back of my car while Mr. Darcy plays his hockey game.
A few months ago, I had no knowledge or faint idea as to what I needed to pack in a nappy bag for a newborn and myself. Through trial and error alongside a few spit and breastmilk covered shirts, I’ve somewhat discovered the perfect ratio as to what you need to pack for your nappy bag. Along with the recommended essentials as listed below, I recommend buying a little crate or storage bag for the car and stashing a few things in there as it’ll be beneficial in the long run.
Not only in the long run will it potentially save your sanity and you bursting into tears (this may have been me); but if you find yourself in the same shoes as me and having to change your baby completely from the shoulders downwards, everything will be within hands reach. With your baby changing on a daily basis and growing out of things quite rapidly, your car emergency baby stash is can be changed out regularly and adjusted to fit to your baby’s accommodations. Your baby’s needs will change regularly when they get older as well, so packing non-perishable foods, entertainment like soft toys and an additional blanket are things to highly consider as well.
Two things I have learnt with further trial and error include:
- Always keep your bag packed and waiting by the front door so it’s one less thing you have to worry about and run around the house trying to gather things.
- After going out for a quick errand run or spent all day out of the house, always unpack your nappy bag and repack it with new clothes (especially if you’ve had to use a whole new outfit) and replenish those nappies as babies can go through 7-10 nappies a day.
If you are still unsure as to what too pack, here are some of my tips on what you should keep packed in your nappy bag or if you’re like me, a back-up bag and adjust to your and baby’s specifications.
For a newborn:
Extra onesie/stretch and grow. I am a firm believer that you can never have too many outfits in your closet and therefore, should have 2-4 complete outfits for your newborn. Especially when it comes time to dealing with blow-outs in public and your baby is nearly covered head to toe in baby poop. Consider packing 2-4 singlets, sleeveless/short sleeved stretch and grows, button or zip onesies or shirt and pant set with sock.
Speaking of baby spit, I often tend to carry three burp cloths in my bag. Not only do I not know when I am going to need them but I’ve recently discovered they come in handy for burping and can be used to protect the bassinette/pram sheets from baby spit. The ones that I use can also be used as cloth nappies during summer.
Nappies and wipes. I often tend to pack 7-10 nappies in my nappy bag and in my storage container, I have 10-20 nappies in addition. Merely for the fact, I tend to pop into visit my parents and several hours later, I often decide to spend the night as the hour long drive is too dangerous. When packing the nappies, I always work on the concept of its better to have too many nappies than not enough and I only use my favourite brand and that being: Huggies Ultimatesand pure wipes.
Merely for the fact, Baby O hasn’t had any negative reactions towards them as compared to other brands and the nappies do not contain Aloe Vera, to which Baby O and I are allergic to. If you didn’t know, Aloe Vera is also a common ingredient used in nappies, wet wipes and feminine products these days; so I highly recommend reading or researching the information on the packets.
Having initially being against this item when I was pregnant, I have discovered how amazing it can be to have a dummy/pacifier on hand. I often find myself using a dummy when I cannot breastfeed Baby O’Chunky due to driving and there being limited or no safe designated areas on the side of the road, when travelling on the highway. If you do opt to use a dummy as a peacekeeper and pacifier, I’d recommend popping your dummies/pacifiers in a zip lock bag for sanitary purposes and keeping 1 or 2 in the nappy bag.
Pacifier clip as they keep the dummy attached to Baby’s clothes and makes it easier for them to not be thrown out of the pram.
Bandana bibs are cute little fashion accessories and they make your baby even more cuter than possible. I often tend to gravitate towards bandana bibs as they’re easier to fit around a newborn’s neck and under their chin without being too tight/loose. Secondly, these bibs are perfect accessories to catch baby drool when their saliva glands have kicked in and/or your baby is showing signs of teething due to the shape of them.
One very important item you cannot have missing from your nappy bag is a change mat. Most diaper/nappy orientated bags should come with one that matches or you can find them at Target, Kmart or Amazon. They come in handy as they protect your baby against bacteria and unknown substances on the public changing tablets in the parent’s room.
If using a public restroom’s changing table or even the one in the parents room, I also carry around a small pack of antibacterial wipes. Merely for the fact, I can count how many times there hasn’t been paper towel to put down on the change table and I don’t want bacteria to be spreading throughout my bag. So, when I’ve finished using the public change table and Baby O is safely in his pram, I give my change mat a quick wipe over the wipe before stashing it in the outside pocket of my bag.
Disposable nappy bags can be beneficial to you and your senses. Nappy bags are great as they help contain any smells of a really horrendous blow-out and they make things a little bit neater when having to dispose of them. They can be also used to pop your baby’s dirty clothes into if they’d had an explosion. Only downside for those who are self-conscious about the environment is that I haven’t come across any biodegradable ones.
A nappy barrier cream like Bepanthen is one of my must haves and a cream I’ve used religiously when required since birth. Even more so, this cream can provide extra relief for Baby when he/she is teething and the poor little thing may have diarrhoea or a sore bottom from nappy rash as a result.
Bottle and formula. If your baby is formula fed or requires a little bit of a top up because they’re going through a growth spurt, a bottle and formula can be essential in so many ways. Not only will it give baby a bit more of a fuller tummy; it will also help with the ‘Mum guilt’ and give you the knowledge of your little loved one being cared and provided for. The evening before you go out, I’d recommend measuring out how much formula you’ll need for the next day and pop these into the required bottle. It’ll be one less thing to do the next morning and all you’ll need to do is boil the kettle and pop in the required water into a flask.
On a side note for Australian based Mums: Kmart has some small containers with compartments built into them that can be used for formula storage. What’s amazing about them is they’re made out of plastic, can be re-usable which saves you money and there’s about five or six compartments so plenty of milk if your little one gets hungry.
For the times where I simply need to sit down, have something to eat and drink and simply not speak to anyone for a few minutes or for the times where I’m para-walking through a shopping centre, I tend to pull out a sensory/teething toy and clip it to the edge of the pram. This not only encourages Baby O’Chunky to stretch his arm muscles but it also allows for hand and eye coordination training to begin. I definitely recommend something that can be hooked onto the pram or above the car seat and bright as that’ll attract baby’s attention.
Last thing scrunched up and placed into one of the pockets of my nappy bag is a used fruits plastic bag. I often tend to reuse the plastic bags I pack my fruits and vegetables in from the grocery store as they’re the perfect length and height for soiled baby/mummy clothes. It also stops the baby poo and spit from getting all over the inside of the bag.
There has been plenty of times where I have arrived with a clean shirt and I have left with a baby spit covered shirt. As a result, I have learnt from my mistakes within the past and I now make sure to pack an extra shirt. During summer, I opt for a sleeveless and button down shirt as it makes it easier to breastfeed and for winter, I often tend to wear a breastfeeding singlet under a shirt with sleeves. Definitely pack for your climate and temperature and please remember to swap the shirt out when the seasons change.
One thing I would highly, highly recommend packing is feminine products and a fresh pair of underwear. After ten plus months of not having to deal with psycho Aunt Flo and her ill choice of timing, we will experience the dreaded arrival of our period and the realisation of not having a tampon and pad will have us going into death-con five mode. Hence why having a little stash of tampons/pads, a fresh pair of underwear and feminine hygiene towelette (if you use these) can make you feel protected and fresh.
One thing I have discovered whilst breastfeeding and I reckon all mothers can agree to this statement is how bloody thirsty we can get. Mainly for the fact, we have this mindset where our babies and their needs come first and foremost before eventually somewhere on the list, we think about ourselves and our needs. Due to this mindset for myself and my need/desire to exclusively breastfeed Baby O, I carry around a large 1.25L bottle of water. Although this water bottle doesn’t fit inside of my bag, I simply place it in the bottom of the pram (in the basket) and know it is within each reach when required. It is a definite recommendation for breastfeeding mothers.
Wallet and ID is a must have for any mothers on the go as you would expect. If I know I am going to be away for my home for a short time, I simply take out the cards that I need from my wallet and place them into a wristlet and place this into a zipped compartment within my nappy bag. However, if I have a feeling that I’m going to be gone for a couple of hours at least, I find it easier to simply carry my whole wallet.
One thing I cannot live without is the knowledge of not having a snack in my nappy bag. For the times where I run out of the house on an empty stomach for a doctor’s appointment or a Mum’s and Bubs meeting, I often reach into my bag and pull out the snack I’ve packed. When it comes to snacks, I opt for longline products like muesli bars, mixed nuts and fruits (like dried apricots and cashew nuts) and little packets of biscuits.
Lastly, each of these items are packed into large ziplock bags so they can be easily pulled out and I don’t have to go searching for the item required. Saves a lot of time and stress, especially if Baby O’Chunky is crying due to being uncomfortable.
Hopefully this has been helpful for you and any new mothers out there. If you think I’ve forgotten to pack anything into my nappy bag or you have some recommendations, leave them in a comment down below and I look forward to reading them and purchasing.
Until next time,