What to pack in your diaper bag

Believe it or not, there is an art to packing the perfect diaper bag. When your first baby is born, getting out of the house can be challenging and the fear that you left something important behind can really stress you out. While medical school and residency did not train me in the fine art of diaper bag prep, hanging out with lots of very experienced parents taught me a trick or two.

First, you need to follow your own style. If you are the kind of person that hates to carry stuff with you, then you’ll want a lean bag with only the essentials. If you have everything but the kitchen sink with you on a daily basis, then your diaper bag might look much the same. Take into account the weight of your bag and consider one that you can wear multiple ways (across your body; backpack-style) so you don’t hurt yourself carrying a heavy bag.

If you drive a lot, consider packing a full bag for the trunk and carrying a smaller bag into each location. You can stuff the “car” bag full of clothes, extra layers, wipes, diapers, a first aid kit, sunscreen and non-perishable snacks and pull out what you need when necessary. Your smaller bag will then contain only what you know you will need and can make you feel less like a sherpa. It’s also nice to include a few things for yourself in a bag left in the car for those times when you need a clean shirt or a sweater.

Today’s families are so fortunate in that there are so many travel-sized items made just for babies. Wipes, diaper cases, changing pads and disposable covers for restaurant tables and foreign bathrooms are easy to find. A diaper bag with lots of pockets, and possibly water-resistant, is a great way to keep organized. Taking inventory of your bag once a week on a particular night keeps you from being out of essential items when you least expect them. Being prepared will keep you calm and help you enjoy getting out of the house with your little ones.

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About Dr. Sara Connolly, Board Certified Pediatrician

Dr. Sara Connolly practices in Palm Beach County, Fla.


  1. Having a bag with all the essentials in the trunk is such a good idea! I hate having to carry everything but the kitchen sink everywhere I go.

    1. Yes! Now that my kids are older I have a similar bag in the trunk but with big kid stuff like sunscreen, a change of clothes, a swimsuit and a mini first aid kit.

  2. I wish I would have followed some of this advice when I had my first newborn. My diaper bag was huge and was such a pain to carry around, especially when my second child was born. I like the idea of packing a full bag for the trunk of the car and only carrying the necessities in public. This would have saved me a lot of back ache!


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