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The Diaper Bag Checklist

What to Pack in Your Diaper Bag for 5 Common Situations

Each time you go to pack the diaper bag, does it look a little different? That’s because not every place you’re going requires the same amount of stuff to stuff in the bag. With baby in tow, your load is heavy enough – so let’s lighten it with tips on how to pack the diaper bag for different types of situations.

1. Diaper Bag for Running Errands

When you’re going to be out for just a few hours running errands to the grocery store, department store, and the pharmacy, you don’t need to load down your bag with every tiny thing baby could possibly need. Keep it simple with the following items (if you have twins, double up!).

Start out with the Dr. Brown’s Breast Pump Carryall to put everything in. Functional, discreet, and classic, Dr. Brown’s Breast Pump Carryall bag is designed to fit your life and changing routines. The Carryall bag has space to fit most electric breast pumps and a bottle cooler bag, as well as pockets to organize everything you’ll need for a day away from home.

  1. Two diapers. You’ll use one for a typical change and have one extra just in case of a blowout.
  2. Extra change of clothes. This will change depending on the weather – see seasonal bag – but shorts and a shirt, or a onesie, will do the trick.
  3. One plastic bag or reusable wet bag. Because the only reason you’re changing baby’s clothes is bodily fluids or food – or both – ended up on them. Contain the mess by putting soiled clothes in here.
  4. One snack or bottle. Fresh breastmilk lasts 8-10 hours at room temperature. If you use formula, just don’t prepare it until it’s time to eat and make sure to pack a bottle of appropriate water. If baby is eating food, fill up a Snack-A-Pillar snack cup to save space.
  5. Storage for Formula. Who wants to bother portioning formula on the go? Dr. Brown’s Formula Dispenser holds up to three 9 oz/270 ml bottles in separate compartments so all you have to do is fill it up and use the easy-pour spout to pour the formula in the bottle.
  6. Just throw the travel pack in there, you honestly can never have enough.
  7. One disposable changing pad. This can be used in the car or the public restroom.
  8. One toy. For babies who are teething, bring a teether like the Dr. Brown’s™ Learning Loop that will double as a toy and a teether to keep them occupied.
  9. One book. Keep baby entertained while you’re carting them around the store with a little book their little hands can hold.
  10. One Burp Cloth and one bib. One of each should be more than enough for the time you’re out.
  11. One pacifier and pacifier wipes. Baby may need some soothing while you’re out – and when they chuck the pacifier down the aisle, you’ll be glad for those wipes.
  12. Clip-on travel-size hand sanitizer. No one knows the sheer amount of things baby touches but we do know how many times those hands end up in their mouths – or mom’s.
  13. Small first aid kit. For parents who are prepared for anything, it doesn’t hurt to have a kit that has band-aids and antibiotic cream.

2. Diaper Bag for Going to Grandma’s

This diaper bag applies to any situation where baby will be spending the night out at someone’s house who doesn’t have a baby of their own. It could be Aunt Alison’s house or a Godparent’s house. In this situation, you may or may not be staying there, too.

  1. One diaper for every 2-3 hours plus extras. How many extras is up to you, but it’s safe to say at least one extra for the day you drop baby off, that night, and the time they’ll be there before you pick them up again.
  2. Two empty bottles. While they’ll have to clean the bottles to reuse them, it keeps the bag lighter and if you leave them there, you won’t be out a ton of bottles. Make sure to bring caps, travel lids, and a bottle cleaning brush.
  3. Breastmilk or Formula. Mark the breastmilk bags by day for clarity. A formula dispenser would also be very helpful for others to use, along with appropriate water.
  4. Sterilizer bags. Make cleaning easier on them by giving them some Microwave Steam Sterilizer Bags that the bottles can be easily and quickly sterilized in – without filling up your diaper bag with a bulky sterilizer.
  5. Two extra change of clothes. They’ll be gone longer than just a few hours, so the odds of them getting through that time with only one extra set of clothes is slim to none.
  6. Two sets of pajamas. Let’s be honest, we all love babies in pajamas. Which means the set you brought may not make it to actual bedtime. Bring an extra just in case.
  7. One blanket. Blankets are great for floor playtime and for a little comfort from home.
  8. One pacifier. If baby is using a pacifier, Aunt Alison begs you not to forget this.
  9. Several bibs and burp cloths. If baby is teething, grab a bib like the Dr. Brown’s Bandana Bib that doubles as a teether or pacifier holder – plus, the teether or paci is removable.
  10. Sleep Sack or Swaddle. Make sure to ask if the person watching baby knows how to properly use these; it’s better to hurt feelings than improperly use a sleep sack or swaddle.
  11. Two Books. Bring the books baby is used to at nighttime to help them better settle in.
  12. Noise Machine. Baby may not be familiar with the noises in this new house, so give them comfort and help them sleep better with a noise machine that keeps sounds consistent.
  13. Baby Monitor. So they, too, can keep an eye on baby in bed.
  14. Two toys. You could go crazy with bringing toys, but odds are, they will have bought some of their own already. Plus, you won’t want to end up leaving a ton of stuff over there.
  15. Pack of Wipes. Bring a box – grandma will thank you.

3. Brunch or Lunch Bag

This one is pretty much the same as the Running Errands bag including your stylish Carryall, except for a couple of changes.

  1. Extra cute outfit. When you’re showing off baby to your friends or family, that cute outfit they’re wearing is going to suffer. Instead of just bringing an extra set of clothes, bring an extra set of their cute clothes.
  2. Extra burp cloths or bibs. Baby will probably be passed around a lot. And no one wants to use a burp cloth or bib that’s been recently, ahem, used.

4. Seasonal Bag

Again, the same as the running errands bag, except a few tweaks to fit the time of year. Here we’ll break it down by season.


  1. Lotion, spray, or stick – whichever you have found to cause the least meltdowns when applying. Babies and little kids seem to have strong opinions on this subject!
  2. Sun hat. Wide-brimmed to protect baby from the sun.
  3. Bug spray. Baby’s who are two months and older can use a DEET-based product but there are also a growing number of DEET-free options.


  1. Extra socks. The thicker, the better – preferably an organic fabric like wool to really keep in the warmth.
  2. Winter Hat. Not only will it keep their heads warm, but they’ll look super cute.
  3. Warm Sweater. The thick kind that keeps the wind out.

Fall and Spring:

  1. Jacket or Blanket. With the sudden changes in temperature from day to nit, bringing extra layers is important to keep baby warm.
  2. Waterproof shoes. There are a lot of cute waterproof shoe options for an older baby who wants to splash in some puddles.

5. Minimalist Bag

There’s a growing movement across the country to declutter and get rid of as much stuff as possible. The same mentality can be applied to the diaper bag. Here’s a list for those who want to bring as few things as possible.

  1. Two diapers. Because that extra diaper is worth bringing for the potential blowout.
  2. Changing pad. Public restrooms are just gross.
  3. Wipes & Hand Sanitizer. Never go anywhere without wipes. Just a couple in a ziplock bag are fine.
  4. Onesie in a ziplock bag. If they throw up all over their cute outfit, oh well.
  5. Burp cloth. Forget the bibs and just bring the cloth as it can be tucked in their shirt when needed.
  6. Bottle with breastmilk or water in it or a snack if baby is eating solids. Never mind the extra water bottle and just bring what you need in the bottle – unless the water bottle is for you.
  7. One pacifier. Forget the teether and just bring the pacifier so they can self soothe when you’re on the go.

Making sure you can travel light and stress-free feels so much better than being weighed down by the weight of your worry and the diaper bag. However you feel comfortable packing your baby’s diaper bag is perfect for you – so use what tips you want and get rid of the rest. For questions on any of the products mentioned in this article, feel free to reach out!

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