Striped diaper bag for toddler, mom supplies for being on the go with everything your child needs from snacks and diapers to toys and first aid.

Diaper Bag Checklist


The digital age has unburdened us from the physical heft of books, stereos and cameras. But for new moms, there is no clever device or app that can replace the diaper bag. Until someone figures that out, consider your diaper bag to be your parenting comrade-in-arms. Think Gary Walsh’s “Leviathan” briefcase in “Veep:” a vessel amply stocked with supplies for every contingency. Your diaper bag checklist should include everything you might need while on the go for: 1) your baby; 2) your toddler (if applicable); and 3) mom/dad.

Diaper Bag Essentials for Baby

The best place to start with packing your diaper bag is to gather all essentials for diapering. These include:

  • Diapers,
  • Wipes,
  • Diaper cream,
  • A changing pad,
  • A couple of back-up outfits,
  • Extra socks,
  • A receiving blanket,
  • A cloth diaper or towel (to absorb baby-boy’s mid-change accidents),
  • Antibacterial gel,
  • A toy to distract baby while changing, and
  • A plastic bag to contain and easily dispose of dirty diapers and wipes.

Other baby necessities to include in your mommy-go bag include:

  • A nursing cover,
  • Clean empty bottles and formula packets,
  • Bottled water,
  • Pacifier and clip to attach to baby,
  • Sunhat,
  • ID for baby with health/physician/family information,
  • Medicines,
  • Lotions and sunscreen (for babies over 12 months),
  • Nasal aspirator,
  • Burp cloths,
  • Blanket,
  • Hair ties/clips,
  • Small toys/lovey, and
  • A board book.

Diaper Bag Essentials for Your Toddler

If you also have a toddler, be sure to pack enough supplies for her, too. Some of these items might include:

  • Diapers/spare underwear,
  • Wipes,
  • Spare clothes,
  • Sunhat and sunglasses,
  • Favorite, non-perishable snacks like squeeze applesauce packs and crackers,
  • Water bottle,
  • Medicines,
  • Lotion/sunscreen (if different than your newborn),
  • A book or two, or on-the-go activity, and
  • A surprise toy or treat to stave off a tantrum in public.

Diaper Bag Essentials for Mom

You never know what surprises might come your way when on the go, so be sure and pack your own necessities. Some good items to have available, even if just in your car, include:

  • A back-up outfit and flats,
  • Hand sanitizer,
  • Hair ties,
  • A comb,
  • Lip balm,
  • Bottled water,
  • Medicine,
  • Feminine supplies,
  • Breastfeeding supplies,
  • A small first aid kit,
  • A phone charger,
  • Change for parking meters,
  • Sunglasses and sunscreen,
  • Some granola bars or snacks (especially if breastfeeding), and
  • A book/notebook.

Other Diaper Bag Details to Consider

You might be wondering at this point if all of it will fit into one bag. Yes, so long as it’s Leviathan-like, with plenty of room and cozy compartments. If the assemblage of family essentials proves too cumbersome, though, limit the diaper bag’s contents to gear for baby (and sibling). Mom’s items can reside in a duffel in the trunk, with a few must-have items in an over-the-shoulder bag/FannyPack.

How to carry the diaper bag is another thing to consider. It will need to work with your baby-carrier of choice (since babies need to be held or worn for much of their first year). If you prefer a front-baby carrier like the Baby Bjorn or a sling, then opt for a tote or backpack diaper bag. Just make sure the baby carrier goes on first, so the straps won’t conflict and for baby’s safety. Backpacks are also a good choice if you mostly use a stroller when you’re out. However, if baby likes to ride in a back-carrier, totes and shoulder bags work well.

As always, be prepared, and be undaunted! Happy outings with your new baby. Enjoy even more parenting articles on our site, including ones specific to the topics of Health, Education, Family Fun and Food & Home. For other New Mom content, see the most recent issue of CharlottesvilleFamily.

WHITNEY WOOLLERTON MORRILL is an architect who designs and writes for families. Her writing can be seen in many issues of CharlottesvilleFamily., a collection of local resources including a popular calendar of events, family services guides and features on education, health and family day trips for parents and teachers in Charlottesville, as well as Virginia Wine & Country Life, a semi-annual life & style magazine, and Wine & Country Weddings, an annual art book celebrating elegant Virginia weddings.