The Ultimate Diaper Bag
At 34 weeks pregnant, the side pocket of our current diaper bag gave out. We’d been talking about getting a better-quality diaper bag for a while, since with Little Fox we’d already been through three. To be fair, the first bag didn’t break, it just wasn’t convenient for me to lug around. Either way, with a second baby on the way, now is the time to do a diaper bag makeover. I’ve learned a lot about diaper bags in the last 20 months. And I’m excited to share all the details of how I’m putting together the ultimate diaper bag – a diaper bag for two children!
This week’s article is going to cover what your diaper bags, including a checklist by category and age for your children. Also, I’ll share my diaper bag hacks for messy situations. Finally, of course, I’m going to share the details of our new diaper bag. And I’ll emphasize how we are accommodating the bag for use with a baby and a toddler.
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What Diaper Bag?
What kind of diaper bag you want to get is going to depend a bit on your lifestyle. We started with a traditional diaper bag that was basically a pretty duffle bag. I hated it. Everything I put in the bag got jumbled together. Plus it was bulky to carry. So, I could never find what I needed quickly and it was difficult to carry around with a baby. We quickly switched to using a backpack as a diaper bag.
Using a backpack is a huge improvement. It leaves my arms free to hold Little Fox. The weight is distributed evenly on my back, and with many compartments organization is much easier. So whatever you think about the cuteness of “traditional” style diaper bags, I really recommend trying out a backpack first. They do make some “pretty” diaper bag backpacks. However, I went for a daypack because I liked the pocket options a lot better. We went to Canadian Tire to look at the backpacks, and I went with a Woods™ Edge Daypack 26-L. These aren’t on Amazon so besides the diaper bag backpacks I’ll put comparable daypacks below.
What I don’t recommend with backpacks is going cheap. I wore through the water bottle mesh on all three Walmart backpacks before we finally decided to get a good quality backpack. Not to mention the fabric tear on one of the Frozen backpacks we got. Unfortunately, Children’s backpacks are not durable enough to be diaper bags.
Even though I love the designs.
The Ultimate Diaper Bag Checklist
The first consideration for any diaper bag is what are you going to need for changing the baby. Let’s start with diapers. I would never go out with less than three diapers. If I know we are going to be longer than 2 hours, I add an extra diaper for each hour longer we expect to be out. This is definitely more important with a younger baby. Now that Little Fox is 20 months, I cut it down to an extra diaper for every three hours we are out.
The next diaper bag must-have is 2 puppy pads. These are way more convenient than a “portable changing pad.” They are disposable for messy situations, but can be reused over a long period of time. And whenever we are somewhere without a change table, the puppy pad keeps the little one off the floor.
Other items that are important to have on hand with changing include baby wipes, cream, hand sanitizer, and fresh clothes. Along that same line, it is good to have a large plastic bag to put soiled clothes into. We use a large freezer sized Ziploc bag for that. We also use a large Ziploc to hold all the medical supplies. I like this over the pretty bag we were using before because it is clear so I can see everything easily. We even keep some of the medicine in a small Ziploc inside the large Ziploc. This helps with sticky medicines so it doesn’t spread to the rest of the bag. (We’ve had that happen a few times).
Customize Your Diaper Bag
The rest of your diaper bag is going to vary based on your family. It is important to be able to feed your baby while on the go. But how that happens is going to depend on your child. With Little Fox I did nursing and pumping. I usually liked to save pumped milk for if I needed a nap or to sleep in. But sometimes I wanted to be sure Little Fox could eat while we were active (Zoo trip, at her baptism, etc). We got an insulated bottle holding bag that worked great for bringing breast milk on the go. We also had a disposable coffee cup in that bag, which we reused to warm the bottle by putting hot water in it. Sometimes we’d use hot water from the sink. Other times we’d bring a thermos of heated water with us to use to warm her bottle.
Regardless of if we brought a bottle or not, we also brought our nursing cover and nipple shield with us. Little Fox used the nipple shield with nursing until she was about 6 months old. Then she decided on her own that the thing was a waste of time and she nursed without it. But that devise saved our breastfeeding relationship when she had latching problems from birth.
If you are bottle feeding, I recommend pre-measuring the powder before leaving the house. You’ll probably also want to have some fresh water on hand in case you can’t get anywhere wherever you’re going.
Finally, you’ll want to consider some optional items for your diaper bag. I keep a bag of small toys and a board book in the car, rather than in the diaper bag. But often I’ll put an item or two into the diaper bag that I can hand to Little Fox if she’s particularly restless. Other things you might want on hand include notebooks, pen or pencils, a teether, a pacifier, and a swaddling cloth. Swaddling clothes are especially great to have on hand if your baby is under 3 months. You can also use it as car seat cover, something to do tummy time on, or even as an extra burping cloth.
Diaper Bag Hack
Really there is one main diaper bag hack that I cannot recommend highly enough. We call it a Poo-Splode Kit. This is a special prepacked bag that contains everything you need to deal with a messy baby without carting the whole diaper bag with you. In a large Ziploc we keep 1 puppy pad, one diaper, one change of clothes, a refillable travel bum wipe pack, and a mini tub of Vaseline or an almost out cream bottle. If we are out shopping, and the baby’s diaper fails us, one of us can grab the emergency pack and the messy baby and head to the nearest washroom.
This kit has been so amazing for us. The large Ziploc turns into a bag for the dirty laundry, and everything else is disposable or can be put in the travel bum wipe bag for carrying back. If you don’t have a travel bum wipe bag, a small Ziploc would also work to carry a few wipes and keep them moist.
Making Room for Two
There are a couple tricks we are using to keep the diaper bag organized for two babies. First of all, I chose a bag with many compartments. There are two large sections of the backpack. The section that is furthest back is the biggest, and we are using that section as the Mama/Newborn compartment. Right now it holds the nursing cover, a spare shirt for me, changes of baby clothes, extra newborn diapers, and the disposable bibs. The second large backpack compartment is for Little Fox. It holds the snacks, spare Ziploc bags for saving open food on the go, a few toys, a change of clothes for her, and a laundry Ziploc. We are also keeping the medicine bag in her compartment since she needs it the most often.
Clear bags and containers are a big part of our diaper bag organization. If we just tossed in all the diapers, changes of clothes, and so on without having it in separate bags/containers then we would never be able to find anything when we needed it. Our biggest mistake with our first diaper bag was I put everything in together. It would start out organized, with burping clothes on one side, then clothes, then diapers, then puppy pads. But after transport any facade of organization was gone. That problem was part of why I switched to a backpack. But adding the bags and containers within the diaper bag also helps a lot!
The Byzantine Life
Thank you for checking out this week’s article! If you enjoyed this article, you may also enjoy reading our article on preparing the home for a new baby. And if you are interested in saving space in your diaper pail, check out our article on conserving diaper pail space.
Be sure to share any of your own diaper bag hacks and experiences in the comments!
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