Diaper Bag Essentials For The First Year

Isn’t it funny how the smaller the human the more stuff they need? Babies need SO much stuff – it’s no wonder parents have a hard time getting out the door on time! My diaper bag essentials have changed since I’ve had T. What I needed to carry when he was a newborn is vastly different from what I carry around now.

Diaper Bag Essentials | Elaine Loves
Diaper Bag Essentials For The Newborn Stage

{Diaper Bag Essentials – The First Year}

Diaper Bag Essentials with a Newborn

When T was a newborn, I didn’t carry a wide variety of items; however my diaper bag was still overflowing! Here’s a list of what I carried with me everywhere.

Change Pad

A good change pad is essential when out with a newborn. I found out the hard way that sometimes you had to be ready anytime, anywhere to change a dirty diaper. When you’re caught off guard it’s important to have a clean surface to lay the baby on. And remember that a good change pad should be easy to wipe clean! I received my “deluxe” change pad as a gift and I love it! It holds all my diapering essentials and folds up into a little clutch so that I can pull the whole thing out of my diaper bag quickly.

Wipes and Diapers

Wipes and diapers are tied for #1 in my diaper bag. Always have more than you think you’ll need handy and when you get home after an outing be sure to refill your bag right away so you don’t forget them! 

From day one I’ve been using Huggies® Natural Care® Baby Wipes. They are fragrance and alcohol free so they are gentle on T’s most sensitive parts; plus they clean up all his messes easily! There’s nothing worse than wipes that fall apart in the middle of a clean up. Also, since they are infused with aloe and Vitamin E I know that they are keeping his delicate skin nice and healthy. I use these wipes at home but for on the go I love the convenience and style of the Clutch N’ Clean pack!

Since T was born early, venturing out into the world required a diaper bag full of Preemie sized Huggies® Little Snugglers diapers for the first few weeks. He soon graduated to newborn diapers but at the early stages of life we went through so many diapers that I easily lost count.  As he’s grown and thrived it’s been Huggies® Little Snugglers Diapers since the start. The pocketed waistband keeps messes where they belong – inside the diapers! The wetness indicator also allows me to do a quick check to see if T’s diapers need changing.

Hand Sanitizer

Again, you may have to change a diaper on the go. If you can’t get to a bathroom or somewhere with running water, hand sanitizer is essential so you can clean your hands before and after cleaning up the baby’s mess!

Diaper Ointment

I always carry a travel sized bottle of diaper ointment in my diaper bag just in case. Applying a diaper ointment will help prevent rashes and keep baby’s sensitive areas healthy. Luckily we haven’t had to deal with diaper rash so far.

Wash Cloths

If you have a son then you’ll know EXACTLY what the wash cloth is used for when it comes to diapering 😉 Wash cloths are also great for wiping up spit up. T never took a soother and for some reason loved to suck on wash cloths, so I carried many of these with me.

Wipes for Toys

A friend of mine gifted me some of her diaper bag essentials: pacifier & toy wipes – and now they’re essentials in my bag! The pacifier & toy wipes are required since inevitably your baby’s favourite toy or soother will end up on the floor. They’re great for wiping surfaces quickly to in case your baby decides to lick something that he shouldn’t (oh…does your baby not do this?).

Toys (Aka Distractions)

Newborns don’t really play with toys – in fact they don’t really do anything at first! But I found that bringing just a few simple toys with us would help distract him when we were at the mall while I needed to pay for something or take a much needed sip of coffee 😉

A Change of Clothes

ALWAYS pack a change of clothes for your baby. Throw up, spit up or poop explosions are bound to happen. My friends have told me stories of them having to buy an outfit for the baby on the spot since they forgot to pack extra clothes! While you’re at it, you may want to consider packing yourself some extra clothes too. Baby accidents have a way of getting on you as well.

Blankets, blankets and more blankets

Blankets took up the bulk of my diaper bag in the newborn stages. I used blankets in multiple ways:

  • They were perfect to keep the baby warm since many places had really drafty air conditioning.
  • They were great to throw over the stroller so the baby could have a nap.
  • I rolled one up to prop my arm and support it when I was nursing T.
  • Blankets can be used as a nursing cover.

Other Items

Other items I personally didn’t have in my diaper bag but you may have a need for in the newborn stages:

  • Bottles of milk (breast milk or formula)
  • Emergency bottles of ready to go formula or powder
  • Ice pack (to keep bottles cool)
  • Hand pump (if you’re breastfeeding you may need to pump on the go depending on how long you’re out)
  • Soothers
  • breastfeeding pillow (especially when you’re first getting used to nursing)

Diaper Bag Essentials – Beyond The Newborn Stage

Believe it or not, as T got older, the more stuff I needed to carry! Most of the things I listed above are still currently included in my diaper bag along with some extra items. I don’t bring any blankets with me as right now it’s warmer weather but I also found that the more mobile T got the more blankets would just end up on the ground anyway!

Diaper Bag Essentials | Elaine Loves
Diaper Bag Essentials For Beyond the Newborn Stage

I’ve obviously switched to using larger sized Huggies® Little Snugglers Diapers and since he no longer has poop explosions (thank goodness!) I don’t have to carry as many around with me. I also keep one pair of Huggies® Little Swimmers ® Disposable Swimpants handy too just in case there’s the opportunity to head to a wading pool or splash pad.

Food and Drink Items

T LOVES to eat and when we’re on the go I make sure to pack him healthy foods and ensure he drinks plenty of water. He seems to be a baby foodie already; just take a look at these photos of him eyeing and grabbing for my food!

I love introducing him to new foods while we’re out, but I try to make sure he eats what I pack him first! I always carry his cup of water and containers of finger foods for him to eat. On the odd occasion where he isn’t really into food I also keep an emergency puree pouch in my bag. And, to keep him occupied if he’s getting fussy I always keep rice crackers on hand. These are a lifesaver! I also pack a wipeable bib so he doesn’t ruin his clothes while eating. Babies are REALLY messy!

Outdoor Items

Since we’re in the middle of summer I carry a hat, sunscreen and sunglasses for T so that we’re always prepared to be outdoors. Now that he’s crawling everywhere and trying to stand up I keep a pair of shoes with me too so I can keep his feet safe on harder surfaces.

Teething Items

Teething is an ongoing issue and will be until T is a toddler! I always carry a clip on teether in case he needs something to gnaw on and also carry teething drops to help ease some of the irritation.

More Toys

I keep a set of “special” toys in my diaper bag to keep T busy while we’re out at a restaurant, a picnic or just waiting at the doctor’s office. Since he only gets to play with them when we’re out it’s like they’re brand new toys!

Tip: I found that using packing cubes in my diaper bag is super helpful for keeping everything organized. I have one for food items, one for extra clothes/occasional items and one for toys. This makes is easy to pull out exactly what I need quickly. 

I’m sure my diaper bag essentials will change as T gets older and as the weather gets colder, but for now this system seems to be working really well for us! I’d love to know what your diaper bag essentials are!


This post was sponsored by Huggies® Canada and inspired by the #NoBabyUnhugged program. As always, all opinions are my own.


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