As someone who prefers to be a minimalist when packing, but also wants to be prepared for anything this list is most definitely toeing the line between the two contradictory ideas. I am sure that my checklist is far from revolutionary and maybe there are a few things that you would add / remove that will make it work better for your lifestyle, but I felt that sharing my list of favorite diaper bag products might be helpful for other new mamas (plus, how I pack my bag organizer)!
In addition to sharing my list of essentials (and my reasoning behind all of the items) I am also including a [free!] printable list at the end of the post!
A few years ago, I bought a ToteSavvy bag insert (I have the Deluxe in Almond) that fits in both my LV Neverfull MM and GM totes to help organize all of my things. I love my totes, but by nature a tote is without structure and the lack of storage compartments can be frustrating. When I first learned about ToteSavvy, I knew buying one of their inserts would be an investment in my sanity, especially when I became a mama, which has held true!
I’d like to mention that ToteSavvy has put together a list of their favorite tote bags to utilize their product in, which I thought was super helpful for anyone looking for a good “mama tote” or anyone just looking for size comparison to relate to a bag that you already own that would help you to determine which size ToteSavvy would best fit your needs.
ToteSavvy also just launched a new color (Toffee) and it looks delicious! 😂 I absolutely adore the color!
This diaper bag option is perfect for me for many reasons, but my favorite function is the ability to switch between bags — the ToteSavvy makes it easy because everything is self-contained… just lift it out of one tote and plop it into the other.
What I Keep Stocked In My Diaper Bag:
Because you just never know when -literal- shit is going to hit the fan — even if you just use gallon Ziploc bags… just be prepared for the event of a blowout. I can’t think of anything worse than having poop-covered clothes with nothing to contain them until you can get home to do laundry. 😖
I use these for wiping down changing surfaces; you never know what bacteria is lingering from the last person who did a diaper change at that station. And just in case your baby is the one that makes the mess (😬) you can clean up after yourself!
You never want to get caught away from home without a good stock of diapers! As a general rule of thumb: pack at least 1 diaper per hour away from home.
When we’re going to be away from the house for an extended period of time I just throw a whole pack of baby wipes into my bag, but for short trips that only requires the necessities, I love this travel holder!
DIAPER RASH CREAM
There are so many diaper cream options on the market! This one and this one are the most popular and what we could likely use if we ever switched, but this jelly is what our hospital used and it’s worked so well for us that we have just stuck with it.
These dog poop bags are great at containing odors when you have to dispose of soiled diapers in public spaces. I personally like to keep them in this holder to prevent the roll from unraveling in my bag.
While these are affordable and easy to find at just about any pharmacy, I wanted to make sure I had one for the plane / on-the-go, just in case… plus, I like the fact that this style is clear because I can see if I was able to retrieve anything and it disassembles for easy cleaning.
If you aren’t breastfeeding, you have three formula options: pre-mixed liquid, loose powder, and powder packets. I take the loose powder with us on longer trips (more details on that in my Baby Packing List), but for shorter excursions out of the house I prefer either the liquid option or the packets!
Sophie loves these bottles and so do we. They’re easy to clean (love the flexible silicone), the slow flow nipple keeps Sophie from getting gassy, and the lids make them ideal for travel! When we travel we bring three to rotate between, but I normally just keep one bottle in my bag for day-to-day use. We just switched to the larger size as Sophie is now taking 5oz per feeding.
If you’re breastfeeding, this cover is great for modesty when hunger strikes. It can also be used as carseat cover / germ protection / sun shield — just be careful that your little one doesn’t overheat. This is a more fashion-forward cover that can also be worn as a wrap, a poncho OR even a scarf!
I keep a few of these in my bag because you never know when you’re going to need one. They’re so useful and it can’t hurt to have more than one available.
I always keep an extra paci (or two!) on clips in my tote. To prevent them from getting grimy, because let’s be real — they’d find their way to bottom of the bag and collect any crumbs / hair / dust 😬, so I keep them in this container.
I always have a few extra baby outfits on hand, even if they’re just onesies (blowouts happen, ladies). *Top Tip: Be sure to remember to replace them with larger sizes as your baby grows!
You never know when the sun is going to pop out (especially here in Seattle; the clouds have a mind of their own!) so having a sun hat and / or baby sunglasses available is ideal for protecting baby’s sensitive skin and eyes from those sunny rays.
Sophie isn’t quite old enough to play with toys yet, but once she is, we’ll be sure to keep a spare toy / rattle / teether in the bag as well. Hopefully, it will help to entertain and / or soothe our baby if she gets fussy while we’re out and about!
I have used this specific type of sanitizer for years, even before the pandemic, because I love the no-leak pump / cap on them! No more spills! Plus, one pump is all I need; I’m not great at gauging the amount that I need from the ones that you can squeeze… I always end up with too much and making a mess.
I keep a spare tee in my bag just in case of a spit up or blowout emergency (along with this stain remover). These shirts are not particularly fashionable, but they’d get me by until I could get home.
If you have long hair like I do, trust me, you’re gonna want to keep your hair out of the way for feedings and diaper changes.
In addition to all of baby’s things, I still have room for my keys, card wallet, sunglasses, and small makeup pouch. You know, mommy’s essentials. 😉
(You can get a discount on your first purchase with Truffle by clicking here!)
How I Pack My ToteSavvy:
It’s amazing to me that all of this can fit into the organizer!
This is how I organize everything in the interior pockets of the ToteSavvy. I had my bag packed for travel when I took these images; for daily use I would have bottles of liquid formula in the zippered pouch.
In the exterior pockets I have: our spare clothes / baby sunglasses + wet bag, two pairs of baby socks, and the bulb aspirator.
I also like to replenish my diaper bag as soon as is reasonable when we return home so it’s always ready to go when we are (this is also true for my personal travel toiletries so I don’t have to waste time refilling everything when I am in the middle of packing for a trip).
A few of my mom friends have told me that I’m crazy for not having a backpack-style bag as my diaper bag to give myself free range of motion. I’m certainly not opposed and I may change to a backpack style at some point when I have a walking / running toddler and need both hands, but for now the organizer-in-my-tote thing is working just fine. I have my eye on this one and this one if I ever decide to make the switch to a backpack style. Additionally, my friend Jess (in photo above — HOW CUTE is she with her baby bump?!) wrote this detailed blog post about her awesome diaper bag backpack if you’re interested in that alternative!
Lastly, if you’re a minimalist mama or your kiddos are older and don’t require quite so much when leaving the house, this fanny pack style bag, this crossbody bag, and this clutch all look like great options for holding the essentials!
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What are some essentials in your diaper bag? Did I miss anything? Please feel free to share your tips in the Comments to help any other mamas!
Sending hugs —