In the early days, it may feel like you need a 40’ container truck to transport everything you need when leaving the house with a newborn or toddler. How can someone so small require so much? I know, right! But don’t worry, we promise it gets easier and before you know it, you will be packing all the essentials at lightning speed! Plus, the changing bag requirements gets less as your little one grows, therefore we’ve compiled a list of everything you need to know at each stage in their development.
The Newborn Bag Essentials
This is the biggy, the “what if” phase where it feels like you need to pack one of everything just incase. This will be the largest of the changing bags, so choosing one with compartments will help you keep track of what you’ve got and what you need to re-stock. Here goes:
- Nappies - Disposable or cloth nappies depending on preference.
- Nappy liners (if using cloth)
- Nappy bags
- Changing mat
- Baby milk and bottle - formula, expressed or pre-mixed bottles
- Travel bottle warmer if baby likes warm milk
- Muslin cloths - great for spills, a nursing cover if breastfeeding or a makeshift changing mat
- Dribble bibs
- Breast pads if nursing.
- Clothes - a full change of clothes is always handy to have, never underestimate the amount of times a newborn may need changing!
- Comforter or dummy if your baby has one.
The Non Essential Newborn Items
- Hand sanitiser - for nappy changes on the go!
- Medicine such as Calpol
- Finger foods if your baby is at the weaning stage
- Sippy cup or separate baby bottle with cooled boiled water. Ideal to keep baby hydrated on hot days or to help with baby constipation.
- Spare change - handy for parking or shopping trolleys
- Sun hat
- Spare blanket
- Nappy rash cream if needed.
- Teething bibs, rings, gel to soothe babies gums.
The Toddler Bag
This is where the pressure is off. By the time you reach toddler stage, your confidence has grown, meaning its OK if you forget something. You can either call at a nearby shop or quickly learn to improvise with what you do have. You also don’t need to carry such a large changing bag around anymore, hoorah! Toddler essentials are:
- Nappies, nappy bags and a changing mat if your tot isn’t potty trained yet.
- Change of underwear, bottoms and socks if they are, or are mid potty training.
- Wipes - great for sticky fingers and wiping surfaces down.
- Drink (in their favourite cup, of course).
- Small toy, book or colouring items for entertainment.
Non essential toddler items
- How you potty train your toddler is entirely up to you, some go straight to the toilet some prefer the potty to begin with therefore a travel potty may be worth purchasing, or a training seat for the toilet if you'd prefer.
- Toddler feeding bibs - these tend to be larger than a dribble bib, ideal for toddlers that are learning to eat themselves. You may prefer a long sleeve coverall, one with a crumb catcher or disposable bibs.
- Travel highchair - OK not one for the bag as such, but handy to keep in the car if you are planning on eating out.
- Medicine such as Calpol
Top Tips When Packing a Changing Bag
Be organised - When possible, pack bags the night before. It may seem like yet another task to add to the never ending to do list, but I guarantee you’ll thank me for it in the morning. That way you can give the bags a quick once over before leaving the house rather than running around trying to find everything.
Don't forget your own things too - As mentioned earlier, the changing bag tends to double up as your only bag for a while, so make sure you have everything you need including purse, phone, hair bobbles, grips, pen.
Keep a checklist in one of the compartments to ensure anyone who uses the bag knows what they need to take (I’m talking to you, other halves).
If you have siblings to pack for then it’s best to pack a bag for each, you don’t want to be lugging a heavy, overflowing bag around, it’s a recipe for disaster when you need to find something quickly.
Remember to update the spare clothes in your changing bag as and when your baby grows. You don’t want to be caught out with a 0-3 months sleepsuit if your baby is now 9 months.