Unpacking the diaper bag – 5 Things you need and 5 you don’t

Babies need a lot of things and the diaper bag is a mom’s tool belt when she’s on the go. You might want to bring all the comforts of the nursery with you, but, with the bag overflowing with everything but the crib, it can be difficult to find what you need. To pack smart, here are five things you need and five things you don’t.

You will need:

1. Diapers and wipes – This might seem obvious, but it’s important to replenish your bag stash before you leave. I usually keep 5 diapers on hand. It’s also good to keep hand sanitizer and diaper cream in the bag to make sure you’re set up for a quick change.

2. Change of clothes – Babies can get messy so it’s important to have a complete set of clothes to switch out. It might be the pants, it might be the shirt, or you might lose a sock. Remember to change your spare clothes with the season and as baby outgrows a size.

3. Food, or milk – If you baby is eating solids or still on an all-liquid diet, it’s important to be prepared to give a quick meal. After a while, baby will establish a schedule, but a growth spurt or an erupting tooth may cause an unexpected meltdown. If you are just running to the store and your baby is old enough to drink water, bring a sippy cup to wet their whistle.

4. Pacifiers – New experiences are tiring for baby and they might start to get fussy after a while. Bring more than one because these can be easily dropped in the dirt or forgotten at a restaurant.

5. Light jacket or sweatshirt – Weather can be unpredictable and a friend’s house may be drafty. If you think the temperature will be questionable, bring along another layer. The rule is if you bring a jacket or sweater for yourself, don’t forget baby.

You really don’t need:

1. Shampoo – Unless you’re going on an overnight trip, there’s no need to bring baby shampoo. It’s unlikely that you’ll need to bathe your baby when you have a spare set of clothing on hand. Besides, where would you do it?

2. Thermometer – While essential to your nursery, this isn’t a critical on-the-go item. If your baby was feeling warm or sick, you’d be cutting your trip short and heading straight home.

3. Baby Lotion – Lotion, in general, is underused. Pediatricians say to limit the substances that come into contact with baby’s skin. If you don’t use the lotion frequently at home, you won’t need it in your diaper bag.

4. Hat – It’s one of those items parents think to grab to protect their baby from the sun or the cold, even if they don’t know they’ll be outside for long. Sunshine is good for baby, so if you find yourself outside, don’t linger too long in the direct rays. If it’s chilly outside, get moving and take baby indoors.

5. A lot of toys – One or two small rattles, books or toys are all that’s necessary to entertain baby. It’s more likely that your little one will enjoy taking in the sights and sounds.