I feel like every girl has their ‘thing’. For some, it’s shoes, or makeup, or clothes. Me? My thing, without a doubt, is bags. I have a dedicated bag for all things in my life – gym bag, lunch bag, computer/work bag, pump bag and handbag. I just find a calm in the craziness of life when things are compartmentalized and in a dedicated spot. And unfortunately, with any girl’s thing, my taste in bags is not always the most…shall we say, economical? I am a self confessed bag snob so my additions to my ‘collection’ must be few & far between to spare my wallet a heart attack.
When it came time to pick out a diaper bag…well, let’s just say I wasn’t going to rest until I found the perfect one! There are so many options – backpacks, cross bodies, large ones, small ones…how was I going to choose? I read tons of reviews, read other moms’ blog posts on what they loved and why. I learned all the things I need to pack in my bag and tried to narrow down the list.
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So Many options
‘Tried’ being the operative word. I have to admit – I didn’t find the perfect bag. I have a few now. They’ve kind of taken over the mud room and I’ve had to hear ‘ugh. Why another one?’ From my husband and know that I really need to be careful to avoid a lecture from him in the near future. I told you – bags are my ‘thing’. And I have found that for diaper bags, it may not be a one size fits all situation. At least not for me. For a quick errand, like to the grocery store or Target (another weakness), when all I may need is a diaper change and a spare set of clothes, I can use a tote. If we’re going to spend the afternoon at grandma and grandpa’s, we’re going to need one that can fit some clothes, a few diapers, toys, an extra pacifier, etc. And if we’re taking an excursion to the zoo with lots of movement, I’m probably going to want a backpack so I can have as many free hands as possible.
I have also learned that, despite all my research and the lists that people suggest, everyone is different. Some moms and dads love to overpack and be prepared for any and all scenarios. Some parents include the bare minimum because the thought of carrying everything you’d need for ‘just in case’ causes them to feel a sharp pang behind the eyes! It also depends on the age of the baby and whether or not mom is breastfeeding. I believe that at first, when my daughter was brand spankin’ new, I did pack everything and the kitchen sink. Two extra pacifiers? Check. Two changes of clothes? Check. A few cloth diapers? Check. A toy, even though she’s too young to even know what it is let alone have any interest in it? Yup! Got that, too.
While she’s just 4 months old and I am learning something new every minute it seems, I have learned that I can loosen the reigns a little in what I pack for our adventures and that taking into account where we’re going and what we’ll be doing plays in role in what I pack and – which bag I pack!
Choosing the right brand, not bag
I’ve also learned that not all bags are created equal. There are some really great brands out there, like Skip Hop, that friends of mine love and have served them well over the years. There’s beautiful leather bags with wonderful divider inserts like Lily Jade (that turquoise lining has me like woah!) But I have definitely fallen in love with Ju-Ju-Be. They have some really fun patterns that are sure to suit everyone’s taste, are machine washable (hello!). They also have TONS of interior pockets for storage and organization. Plus, they are made well from great materials that repel water and resist stains. Note that this post is not sponsored or endorsed by Ju-Ju-Be, these are my own opinions. But, JJB, if you’re reading this – oh heeey!!!
I’ve also learned the handiness of bags in bags. I know, I know. It sounds like I’m getting a little out of hand here, but hear me out! When you’re wanting to find something small, like a pacifier, or the gas relief drops, you aren’t going to want to be swimming through the diapers and wipes and onesies. You’re going to want to go right to where it’s at. And if it’s in a specific ‘medicine’ bag, while everything else is in their own bags, you’ll be able to snag it in no time!
What I also love about the Ju-Ju-Be bags is their ‘mommy pocket’. A dedicated area of the bag where you can store all your necessities – wallet, keys, sunglasses, chapstick, a nail file or maybe a small journal to jot something down so you don’t forget (I know how that goes)! It’s nice to be remembered and have your ‘own’ spot for your things because in those early weeks it is allllll about baby! And you will revel in it and I wouldn’t have had it any other way. But you can’t forget about you, too. So – if that extra pink lipstick makes you feel a little more like you and forget about the spit up all over your right shoulder – pack it in that bag and wear it out when you run to the grocery store! These bags make it easy to incorporate those things into your everyday life again.
What’s all in the bag?
Again, that kind of depends where we’re going and how long we’ll be gone. But for any outing that has us away from the house for more than 2 hours, below is what I make sure to take with us:
- Diapers & Wipes – Well, this one is obvious! Depending on how long we’ll be gone, I pack anywhere from 1 to 3 changes of diapers & wipes, along with my wipe spray.
- Changing Pad Clutch – THIS my friends, is genius! We received this as a gift, and I had no idea something like this even existed, but it is amazing. There is a little pocket that allows you to store disposable wipes on one side & a few diapers tucked into a pocket on the other. So if you’re using disposable, are out to dinner and need to do a diaper change, all you need is this little guy! PLUS it has a nice wrist strap, making it super easy to carry when you’re corralling your little one! We use cloth diapers, so I keep a small travel bottle of our cleansing wipe spray in the little pocket. I keep my clean diapers & wipes along with a wet/dry bag that I bring separately…which leads me to my next item.
- Wet/Dry Bag – If you’re cloth diapering, this is a must because those dirty diapers have to go somewhere, right? I really love Skip Hop’s Wet/Dry bag with its mesh pocket in the front to store your clean diapers & wipes or clothes. It’s machine washable, too so you can just throw it in when you wash the rest of your diapers. If you’re of the disposable diaper/wipe mindset, then these bags come in handy if you’re going to the pool or your kid has a blowout and you need someplace to put wet/dirty clothes without ruining everything else that’s in your bag!
- A receiving blanket – This may be considered my Swiss Army Knife of the diaper bag. It can be used in so many ways. If baby needs to take a nap, you can easily swaddle little one with this. If you’re breastfeeding and need to nurse, it acts as a great cover and then can be used as a burp cloth afterwards. And if you need a spot to lay baby down really quick for whatever reason, you can easily spread this out on the floor to provide a soft & clean spot for them to rest! See! So many opportunities in one small item!
- Medicine Bag – I like to keep this on hand juuuust in case, though the only thing I’ve ever needed out of it so far is the gas drops. In here, I keep nail clippers, Infant Tylenol, Gas Drops & Hand Sanitizer.
- Clothes – Again, depending on how long we’ll be out, I bring along one to two changes of clothes.
- Sanitizing Wipes – The hospital had these packs of sanitizing wipes in our room. When we left the hospital, I snagged them not really knowing what I’d use them for but figured I was paying for them anyways – I might as well take them! They’ve come in handy – especially during this flu season where I’m more paranoid than ever! – to wipe down the grocery cart, the Koala Care changing station at Church, places like that. It’s just nice to have them and they take up such little space.
- Pacifier Cleaning Wipes – I always have a backup pacifier (or two) with me, but just in case, it’s nice to know I have these wipes to disinfect in a pinch.
- Some snacks – Obviously, being 4 months old, my baby hasn’t moved into solid foods yet. But this momma gets hungry! So I have a couple Lara Bars stashed away in here just in case.
- Boogie Wipes – As we are getting over our first cold (thank you, daycare), I have been using the heck out of these Boogie Wipes. They gently clean all the snot that has dried up around my child’s nose and are moistened with Saline so you don’t have to worry about any chemicals around their nose/mouth/eyes. Let’s face it – babies’ faces are so tiny that all these areas just kind of blend together!
- Kleenex – I always have a small travel pack of Kleenex with me wherever I go. You never know when you’ll need one! And you’ll be sorry if you don’t!
- Pacifiers – While we have a pacifier on a clip that we keep with the carrier or on her, if we need an extra or need a clean one for whatever reason, I keep a couple spares in these cute little Paci Pods. They fasten practically anywhere to any bag and keep the pacifiers secure & clean. No rummaging around at the bottom and finding one that’s questionable. Thanks, Ju-Ju-Be!
- Mom’s Stuff – I also pack some chapstick, my wallet, keys, sunglasses, a small journal & pen,some mints, a battery pack for my phone and USB cord just in case, and a small travel manicure pack with a file, tweezers & clippers. A little coin purse also comes in handy to hold hair ties (as my daughter loves to get her fingers wrapped around my long hair while she’s nursing) and bobby pins to pull my hair back.
This is in my diaper bag that I will take with us when we’re going to either the grandparents house, Church with dinner following afterwards, or when we’ll be running errands all afternoon.
For a quick errand, I use the Ju-Ju-Be Be Light tote. It is seriously a light bag, but this girl loves her organization and I was a little worried about the openness of the inside of the tote. Enter these amazing organizers from Target!
This organizer has so many pockets- including an insulated one for a bottle, sippy cup or a S’well bottle for momma! I’m able to have a receiving blanket, wet bag, diaper & wipe, water bottle, my wallet, a phone charger & cord, sunglasses and pen & notebook all organized in this tote that fits perfectly inside my Be Light Tote. I absolutely love it!
I feel like the more you live it, you will perfect your packing but this is a great list to start from!
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