Much to the chagrin of my husband I am sure, I realized after the birth of my second child that I really did need two diaper bags (or 3 or 4, but don’t tell him that).  And I also realized it is worth it to me to have duplicates of a lot of the contents of the diaper bags so that both bags are always almost packed.

Now, if you have been a mom for more than about five minutes, you’ve no doubt figured out what you need in your bag, but I love to have a list anyway.  So with my often-scattered new-mom brain, I can scan the list and make sure I don’t leave a key item out.  Also, my list helps jog my memory if something needs to be restocked.

The Contents of My Diaper Bag

  • Diapers: 3-4 for my infant daughter who needs more frequent diaper changes. We are currently potty training my son (post about this fun task to come)
  • Wipes-Travel size pack
  • Changing Pad– I like to carry a disposable one, so if it ends up disgusting, it doesn’t have to come home. Plus, it takes up less room in the bag than a padded one most bags come with.

(I keep the above 3 items in their own mesh bag, so I can grab it and head into the bathroom or better yet, hand the mesh bag and poopy kid to my husband!)

  • Empty plastic bags– These not only can contain dirty diapers if you aren’t near a trash can, but can also hold soiled clothes, trash from your picnic, or your toddler’s rock collection that he insists on bringing home with him.
  • Hats– Warm and Sun protection for the baby, Baseball hat for my son
  • Change of clothes: I usually keep a pair of light weight pjs for the baby in my bag.  If she has a blow out, pjs are a fine replacement outfit, and I don’t have to worry about keeping track of a top, pants and socks in my bag. And, because we are potty training the older one, I now have to carry a few extra pairs of Buzz Lightyear underwear and pants
  • Sunscreen– I just leave it in my bag all the time, especially in Northern California, you never know when the sun will come out, or when you’ll decide to stop at the park while out running errands.
  • Small Blanket:  I rolled a small flannel (carters, I think) blanket really tightly and put it in the very bottom of my bag.  This is the emergency blanket if you forget one, or the one you brought falls out of the stroller into a puddle and you run it over (done this!).  I am surprised how often I use my back up blanket.
  • Nursing Pads: I am forever leaving my nursing pad the last place I fed my daughter.  Have a few extra in your bag.  And while we’re at it, if you still need them, make sure you have a few pads or panty liners in your diaper bag too.
  • Nursing Cover: If you use one. I find them to be a bit cumbersome and usually fall into the “fine with nursing in public” camp.  If I feel the need to cover up, I use the blanket, one less thing to carry.
  • Bottle/Formula: I love the shelf stable on-the-go formula bottles.  I can just stick on in my bag and not worry about pouring, mixing, getting water etc.
  • Mom’s Supplies: A mesh bag with hair ties, emery board, hand lotion, chapstick, gum, advil, tums, colgate wisp disposable toothbrush (for those new-mom mornings when you just aren’t sure when you last brushed your teeth) and what ever else you might need to help you feel human.
  • Essential Make up: If your infant is screaming and you need to get the car nap started or if you preschooler constantly interrupts your morning routine, a few key make up pieces in your bag (mine is a powder compact, lip gloss and mascara) can help you feel a little more pulled together when you reach your destination.
  • A Luna Bar: Or meal replacement snack of choice.  Much like make up, I often run out the door to get everyone where they need to be with out eating (or eating enough).  Having a bar already stashed can be a lifesaver.
  •  A Few Bribes: Need to run to the bank or the post office after preschool pick up?  A bag of Annie’s Gummy Bunnies, and a Thomas the Train can be just enough to get in and out with out a melt down.
  • Hand Sanitizer gel or wipes: Put this is an outside pocket so you can grab it easily.  I like the wipes because they can sanitize hands as well as shopping cart handles and they are less likely to leak in your bag than the gel.
  • Pacifier:  Even if you don’t normally use one, you’d be surprised what you (and your baby) will try when the screaming just won’t stop.
  • Pack of Tissues: another mother staple, someone ALWAYS has a runny nose

Diaper Bag #2 : The All Day Family Affair

When I have both kids with me and we are going somewhere for most of the day, like the zoo or train town, we just need more stuff.  I have a larger diaper bag (actually a roxy tote bag I bought at a surf shop in Hawaii on our “babymoon”) that I keep packed with duplicates of every thing above.  Now, you absolutely can move everything from one bag to another, but really one quick trip to target and you’ll be one step closer to getting out the door in time to see the penguin feeding at 10:15.

Then, I add the following;

  • More Diapers
  • Extra clothing layers for each kid and mom
  • Lunch or more extensive snacks, including better adult snacks
  • Hat or visor for mom
  • Large water bottle with ice that we can refill all day
  • Camera

Diaper Bag #3: Formerly know as your purse

I keep the following things in a small purse all the time ready to go (small, because if you have to hoist around a piece of luggage most days, small is refreshing!).  If I have the chance to run to the grocery store by myself (ah, the luxury) or my preschooler and I are going to go get donuts one morning, I don’t have to bring my whole diaper bag and I don’t have to scramble around to put a purse together.  I just have to add my wallet and my phone and I’m out the door!

  • Travel Wipes: Because a mom always needs these
  • Diaper: One for each kid, just in case
  • A small notebook and a Pen: You may actually be able to jot down the next big idea if you are away from your constantly talking kids long enough to hear yourself think!
  • Duplicates of the “Moms Essentials and Make-up Essentials” above:
  • Your Wallet: Nothing like getting to the checkout line at the grocery store and realizing your wallet is in your diaper bag at home
  • Emergency $20: Because at some point you will leave your wallet in your diaper bag, and at least you can go buy yourself a latte and an Us Weekly.

    Brady on a donut date with mom

If I’ve learned one thing in the few month I’ve been a mom of two, its that the more prepared I am, the more smoothly things go, the faster we get out of the house, AND the fewer melt downs for everyone (mostly mom).