Learn what the essentials are to keep in a diaper bag. Whether you’re a new mom or a seasoned mom––a minimalist or not, this post can help you decide what to put in your baby bag.
Are you a first time mom?
It can be a bit overwhelming in the beginning when you aren’t sure what all you will need on a trip to the grocery store or a fun littler outing with the family.
I can tell you after having three kids, having that stylish diaper bag with a large amount of stuff in them is just not necessary.
When I was a new mom, I was so unsure of how much to pack when we would go out of the house. I was that mom that had anything and everything in that bag! Even with a large diaper bag with a spacious main compartment, it was as if I still needed more room. The bag was heavy and bulgy too.
Not once did I consider what the actual diaper bag essentials were. I just assumed whatever baby needs (or could need) in a day must be what I need to pack.
Now in the beginning with a newborn I’ll admit sometimes you need an extra diaper than you normally would pack or possibly two onesies for those explosive breastfed poops, but since they are still so tiny at this age, the diapers and onesies take up about the same amount of room.
I would say though to do what I should’ve done and that is to actually sit down and think about essential items your baby needs on a 2-4 hour outing–––since that’s usually about the length of them.
I think you’ll be surprised to find that they really are minimal. And if you’re already a minimalist mom, you’ll be relieved to know that what you really need in a diaper bag can fit inside the size of a fanny pack!
So, let’s dig in.
Best minimalist diaper bag
First, let’s talk bags for a second. My favorite over the years has been a backpack style bag. Pause. I’m laughing just remembering the old style shoulder bags…our poor parents, huh? ok, resume. To me, a backpack style is the perfect diaper bag. It keeps both hands and arms completely free to carry your baby or hold your toddler’s hand.
I found a really great simple durable one on amazon that has lasted a long time and still has plenty of life left in it. It’s one that has top handles for hanging, outer side pockets, detachable changing pad, and in the main pocket there are several smaller pockets for little items. Instead of an outer front pocket, it has a small pocket in the back for putting your wallet or cell phone in which I like better.
I’ve owned two different diaper bag backpacks and this one held up the best. This style baby bag is great for a new mom who is still learning what all baby’s needs are when out on short trips. But if you are looking to stay as minimal as possible then a smaller diaper bag is the way to go.
A great option and probably the best minimalist diaper bag is the Kibou (Kee-boo) fanny pack.
These are as simple as a simple diaper bag can be and really forces you to keep your diaper bag contents minimal. They are vegan leather made and are designed for easy access. Organizing it is a breeze. All of them come with an attached changing pad and a waterproof pocket that holds wet wipes for up to one week.
These bags really are the best way to stay minimal. A plus side too is that it can be used later for you minimalist moms out there as a personal bag!
Speaking of minimal.
What do you really need in a diaper bag?
- Baby wipes
- Wet bag
- Changing pad
- Diaper cream
- Pacifier or soothing toy
- Bottle or light snack
- Burp cloth
- One onesie
- Personal items
How many is really needed?
Since each outing is rarely more than a couple hours, the amount of diaper changes is usually limited to one or two so two diapers is enough. This goes for disposable diapers as well as cloth diapers.
We did cloth diapering 90% of the time and since they take up more bulk, we typically got by with just packing one cloth diaper. If baby was poopy again it was usually near the time where we were heading home anyways so keeping them in it for a little bit wasn’t bad.
I recommend using a lightweight refillable dispenser case like this one or just purchasing smaller packages that you only keep in the diaper bag and use for traveling like these. That way you’re not hauling around a big 90 count package of wipes everywhere that takes up space and weight.
This can be an actual water proof bag (essential for cloth diapering) or a reused plastic bag. However, a wet bag does better at retaining the soiled smell. These really come in handy when you’ve had a major blow out and need to put those soiled clothes somewhere. You can even put disposable dirty diapers in them if you aren’t near a trash can.
Most diaper bags come with a changing pad but if yours didn’t, this is even something that you can get by without. Yeah it may not be ideal but changing your babe on a less than fitting surface won’t hurt them. I’ve changed countless diapers on floors and even public changing tables without one and we’ve survived just fine!
Our babies very rarely had a diaper rash so this wasn’t even something we carried around. But for a diaper bag you can get travel size tubes.
It’s tempting with your first child to pack five different baby toys in attempt to avoid baby getting fussy. What we found out though was that just being out of the house was distraction enough for them. While in the car, if you have older children they are great distractors for baby!
Bottle or light snack
If you’re an exclusive breastfeeding mom then the great news is that you can leave this one out. But if your babe uses a bottle then one bottle with breast milk or formula and filtered water is all you need. For older littles a travel size light snack like these fruit bars are great or your own little snack bag from home will do.
This one is probably the most forgotten item I pack in my diaper bag but always hate when I don’t have one. I love using prefold cloth diapers as burp clothes because they are so so absorbing and when you have a babe with some reflux it can be so handy. Whichever kind you have, one though is plenty.
As your babe gets older and spits up less and less, you can ditch this all together.
You can never plan for a diaper blowout so having an extra change of clothes is a must! But before you pack an extra outfit, consider just packing a onesie. That is usually all that is needed to get baby back home comfortably.
This is pretty self explanatory. the necessary personal items can include ID, credit cards or debit cards, cash, insurance cards and car key.
What about all the extra items in a diaper bag?
They aren’t essential on a 2-4 hour outing. After having three kids I can tell you that the ones listed were the ones that were truly used. Everything else could wait until we got home.
Things like first-aid kit, lip balm, nursing cover, receiving blanket, breast pumps, water bottles, change of clothing for yourself, car seat cover…these are all just additional items that quickly amount to too much stuff and really weigh down your bag.
If you’re a first-time mom simply ask other seasoned moms and they will tell you the same thing.
If you’re worried you’ll need extra clothes for you or your babe, you can always leave an extra shirt or bodysuit in the car. Most of the time, even in the newborn stage with all the spit up, making it home to change is manageable.
What are the benefits of having a minimalist diaper bag?
- Less weight
- Easier to organize
- Fewer things to remember
- Highly accessible items
- Simpler to clean
So whether you like to have large diaper bags or not, you can keep it simple by only packing the diaper bag essentials.
Speaking of simple, are you someone who enjoys having simplicity in your home? You’re not alone! Join me on my journey as I share great ideas on natural living, simple lifestyle and getting back to our ancestral roots.
What minimalist diaper bag do you have that you love? Or do you want to become a minimalist diaper bag mom?
Share with me where you’re at!
Check out my other post on how to cloth diaper over night as a minimalist on a budget!