9 Diaper Bag Essentials + a PacaPod Review
When I got pregnant and was registering I was overwhelmed by the amount of diaper bags on the market as well as what I really needed to put in it. At first with a newborn I was a complete mess with my bag full of everything under the sun. Now that I am a seasoned mom, I’ve hashed through the clutter and compiled a list of diaper bag essentials which will hopefully help keep all of your organized as well. I also provided a review on the attractive and functional PacaPod below.
Here are my top diaper bag essentials. Hopefully it will help you with some ideas. Obviously, the contents of the bag change and evolve with your child’s age (for example, when I had a newborn, I packed 3 changes of clothes, and now I just pack one). It also evolves with the season. I always throw in a winter hat now, but will be ready to throw in some sunscreen when it starts getting nice out. Side note: We got a lot of compliments on these photographs, if you’re interested in learning how to take great pictures yourself, here are some great basic photog tips.
Here you can see the contents of my typical diaper bag:
Now, so you can follow along, I will be sharing the different diaper bag essentials I typically carry by category. Let’s start with keeping your little loves dressed and clean with some clothing and diapering essentials.
1) Diapers: Depending on the day and how long we will be away, I usually pack 2-6 diapers on average. We have been using both Pampers Sensitive and Costco diapers and have been very happy with both (although we did have some leakage with Costco diapers overnight). Don’t forget to check out our post on how to get the best deal on diapers!
2) Wipes: Wipes can be used for everything we realized (not only diaper changes, but for cleaning little faces and high chairs too!). The Costco ones have become a quick favorite of ours and these nice diaper bag friendly sized come in the bulk box of wipes (with the large size packs too).
3) Changing Pad: Every diaper bag we’ve tried has come with its own changing pad, which has been more than sufficient for us. We didn’t see the need to purchase an additional one. Let’s face it, you become such a pro at changing diapers, that you eventually get to the point where you can change a diaper anywhere.
4) Hand sanitizer, Lubriderm, Aquaphor, Dreft Stick + “Poop Bags”: Some major “little” essentials. Hand sanitizer for after diaper changes and also for hand cleaning before touching baby (when out to eat, etc.), Aquaphor (a miracle for baby’s bottom, face, and parents’ hands), and lotion if you are feeling extra dry in the cold of winter. These are great for when you have a dirty diaper but nowhere to throw it. The Arm & Hammer brand have a deodorizing element, which can be very useful. However, we also get the dog waste bags bulk (for Alexa and Logan) on Amazon, and they are incredibly inexpensive.
5) Extra Set of Clothes: You never know when your little love will surprise you with a blowout diaper or a food spill. It’s so important to have extra clothes on hand. And often, an extra outfit needs a bow (or bow tie) too! (Heart onesie pictured is from Crewcuts.) Some of our newborn essentials are here.
6) Socks: Socks can get messy too (or go missing). Always good to have an extra pair in case. (Socks pictured are Trumpette)
7) Pajamas: I love having PJs on hand in case we stay out longer than expected. It’s always nice to change Alexa into her comfy clothes before we head back in the car. (PJs pictured are Carter’s)
8) Winter Hat or weather appropriate accessories: I always pack a hat this time of year (love the pictured Old Navy one), and likely will start including a sun hat and Babiators sunglasses this Spring.
9) Blanket and/or swaddle blanket: Again, it depends on where you are going and the weather. A swaddle blanket (this one by Aden + Anais) is great for many purposes: a burp cloth, a nursing cover, somewhere to lay baby, a sun shield, or a blanket. You may need a heavier blanket, and it may or may not go into your bag (it may go right on your baby!)
And here is my little list of feeding essentials that I am currently toting in my diaper bag:
1) Bib: I’ve forgotten a bib too many times. Luckily, a napkin can usually do the trick if you are in a bind. This OXO Tot bib has been a godsend for Alexa as she starts to feed herself. It catches food and makes for a clean baby once mealtime is done.
2) Snack bags with snack: We love using the Itzy Ritzy snack bags to throw some yogurt melts or cereal in for a quick snack. We usually keep on empty too in case we need a safe place for something (they are water resistant, machine washable, AND adorable).
3) I also throw in a couple Ziplock bags: you never know when you might need these!
4) Food pouch: We always have a food pouch in the bag in the case that we are out during a meal time and can’t find appropriate food for Alexa. Although she loves eating them right out of the pouch, a spoon is always helpful to have on hand.
5) Sippy cup (formula or milk): Alexa loves water, and it’s great to have this Pacific Baby bottle to throw in the bag. It converts from a baby bottle to sippy cup to straw cup and I love that the straw is protected when it’s closed (keeps it clean and also avoids leaks). It’s also thermal so it keeps liquids hot or cold for a very long time (and dishwasher safe). A must for those who are on the road with their bebe.
6&7) Nursing essentials: I am still nursing, so I always throw in a nursing cover in my bag. I have a few, as I like to have one on-the-go and also at my home (for when I have guests over). And sometimes I even like to wear my nursing cover (more about that later!) Also pictured are Bamboobies, which helped, um leakage, especially during those first few months of nursing… and they’re machine washable too!
8) Pack for mom: I love having a small bag that I can put my essentials (keys, lipgloss, a comb, pen, iPhone charger, etc.) and move it between my regular purse and my diaper bag. Sometimes I will carry both, but sometimes it’s one or the other. In that case, it’s nice to have all my essentials in one place for a quick grab. Mine is from GiGi New York (similar one here).
And finally, don’t forget those toys! It’s an easy thing to forget, but they are so critical for keeping your little one entertained.
1) Sophie the Giraffe: Sophie is great for on-the-go and Alexa loves chewing on her (as she’s teething) in the car. I love carrying toys that are easily cleaned, as often they can end up on the ground (or on not clean surfaces) while traveling.
2) Comotomo teether: This teether was highly recommended to me by a pediatric dentist and it’s a big hit with Alexa. It’s a great size to throw in your bag, and you don’t need to keep it cold either. It’s a good non-noisy toy, too.
3) Finger Puppet: Again, small toys are perfect for the bag, and ones like these are great for a distraction (i.e. while getting his or her diaper changed) or for getting your baby to smile for the camera.
4) Electronic Toy: This B Kids ABC touch tablet is very interactive and keeps Alexa entertained and laughing for awhile… it also distracts her when she is fussy. This is a great sized toy to have in the bag, but it may not be suitable for all environments (it could get annoying to people around you!)
I was able to fit everything (with the exception of the blanket) into the PacaPod, and Alexa and I are ready to go out on an adventure. Highlighting some top pros of this bag and the PacaPod line:
- There are many styles and price points to choose from everything from luxe leather bags to travel lite bags with prices ranging $120-$520. The Firenze is super luxe and cool.. we are totally crushing on it. There are also some great styles for dads (I know my husband would feel totally comfortable carrying this bag and the size is good for him too).
- The bags fit laptops, tablets, etc. (when you take the pods out), so they can be used beyond baby, for traveling, for work bags, etc. Many definitely have a professional look to them.
- I love how it helps you organize (even if it doesn’t come naturally to you) and keeps things hygienic. The strap is also a great length and distributes the weight nicely.
Now let’s talk about a fun new diaper bag. At first, I opted for a designer bag (on sale, obviously!) and have been thrilled with its appearance. It’s really cute and I get compliments on it all the time. Well, except from my husband: the disorganization of my ‘catch-all’ bag stresses him out a bit to say the least. Although I’m very organized by nature (or maybe I should say before coming a mom I was very organized), my diaper bag tends to be sort of a mosh-tosh for everything happening that day. It is very common for my diaper bag to be on the chair looking like this:
So, when I had the opportunity to review the PacaPod bag (specifically the Coromandel in tan), which is designed to keep you organized, I was excited to try it out (but not as excited as my husband was). On more occasions than I’d care to admit, I’ve forgotten key diaper bag essentials. Read: diapers, wipes, extra clothes, or a sippy cup. Oops (thank God for CVS and for friends that have the same aged babies).
The PacaPod’s 3-in-1 organizing system seemed like it could really help organize my life and increase my efficiency. The bag has three compartments: a parent bag (to store things for mom and/or dad), a removable changer pod (for all diapering and clothing needs, as well as a trash section), and a removable feeder pod (also can be used as a mini backpack, and is insulated for keeping food and drink fresh). I especially love that it helps keep things hygienically separated and organized.
To truly assess this diaper bag and its effectiveness, I am going to take everything out of my existing packed diaper bag and move it in to the new PacaPod.
Some considerations to note:
- The Coromandel bag was a bit big for my size, as I’m petite. It might be better fit for someone taller than me.
- The pods are a truly awesome idea. Keep in mind that they do take up space, so there isn’t a ton of room for big items that do not fit in the pod or in the parent section.
Overall, a great, stylish bag that will keep me more organized and efficient in my travel with baby Alexa. What are your must-haves for your diaper bags? What did we miss?