Diaper Bag Essentials Every Parent Needs On the Go

Make sure that you're ready for anything by having these diaper bag essentials on hand!

Published April 5, 2023
Diaper bag essentials

Everyone knows that diapers and wipes are the top two diaper bag essentials. However, many new parents may find that they're missing some other key items. Don't get stuck in a bind. We've made a diaper bag checklist to ensure that you're prepared for anything! Here are the top items to pack.

What to Pack in a Diaper Bag That You Actually Need

Babies need a lot of stuff - but over packing can also make it harder to find the necessities you'll actually need when out and about with your little one. Make it easier by turning to this list of essentials. You can also use the printable diaper bag checklists for babies and toddlers. Then you'll be prepared - with less stress and less fuss.

Changing Pads

Some type of changing pad is a must! A reusable changing pad works for many parents, but you can also think about reusable changing pads. After a few big messes, many parents feel a disposable option is best when on the go and away from the washing machine. You can try regular disposable baby changing pads, or use puppy pads - which are super absorbant, lightweight, and large in size. This makes them a great choice for both babies and toddlers.

Ziploc Bags

After you change that big poopy diaper, you need a place to stash it. While a regular grocery bag can do the trick, the Ziploc ensures that the mess inside the diaper, as well as the smells that accompany it, stays securely sealed away.

Disposable Gloves

Diaper blowouts happen to the best of us, and they seem to occur in the least convenient moments. When they do, you'll want a pair of disposable gloves. This can make your cleanup much easier.

Hand Sanitizer & Various Wipes

Keeping clean after diaper changes, and before meal times, is always easier when you have the right supplies. Hand sanitizer is great for moms, dads, and older kids, and antibacterial wipes like Wet Ones will keep smaller hands clean, without the worry of chemicals and alcohols entering their little mouths.

Also, don't forget Clorox Wipes for bigger messes and Boogie Wipes for cleaning faces and snotty noses. (Your baby's regular wipes are gentle enough to use if you run out of Boogie Wipes too).

Change of Clothes

Blowouts and spit up happen, but so do big weather changes. Having a change of clothes for both you and baby is key to keeping everyone comfortable in these moments! Top items to pack include:

  • An extra long-sleeve and short-sleeve onesie
  • A zip-up jacket for baby
  • A hat, spare pair of socks, and mittens
  • A shirt for mom or dad
  • Extra bra or nursing pads for breastfeeding moms

Feeding Supplies

Even if you time out your feedings perfectly, you never know when errands or appointments will take longer than expected or when your baby's growth spurt will bring a sudden desire to cluster feed! Other big diaper bag essentials include:

  • Spare bottles (having two is ideal)
  • Bottled water
  • Formula
  • Sippy cups (for older kids)
  • Individually packed snacks (for older babies and toddlers)
  • Snack cups (for messier kids)

Cling Wrap

Planning to eat out? No worries! If you're introducing new foods, or just planning to let your baby play at the table while in your lap, ensure that their table space is clean with Cling Wrap! Simply adhere it to the table surface when you arrive and then peel it away when you're done.

Burp Cloths

It doesn't matter if your baby is five days old or five years old; having a clean cloth to wipe away messes and spills is ideal. We recommend have at least three tucked away in your diaper bag.

Carrier Cover / Nursing Cover

This dual purpose item is important. First, it guarantees that you can feed your baby at any time. Second, when you get in line at the bank or post office and find that the person behind you in coughing away, a cover is a great option to throw over their car seat to help keep germs at bay!


When your baby seems inconsolable, having a pacifier at the ready is a big relief to parents. This can help them to self-soothe and give you some time to get home without non-stop tears.


For babies older than six months, having sunscreen handy is imperative for protecting their skin. We always think of this lotion in the summer, but the sun comes out every single day and your baby's skin is much more sensitive than your own.

Having both lotion, stick, and spray options can make application much easier process. Also, don't forget that leaks happen. Slip these items in a Ziploc bag to prevent accidental spills and sprays.

First Aid Kit

Kids are accident prone, especially when they start moving. Having bandages, antibiotic ointment, Tylenol, and Benadryl on hand can keep you prepared for falls, allergic reactions, and surprising fever spikes.

Play Items

Again, that simple trip to the bank can sometimes bring quite the wait. While pacifiers will work for younger babies, sometimes it's best to keep some teether toys and rattles at the ready just in case your baby is extra fussy.

For toddlers, we also recommend having a small notebook, crayons, 3D stickers, a small book, and mini Play Doh tubs stocked in one of the pockets. These can ensure that they stay amused and you stay sane while you wait to complete your errand.

What to Pack in a Diaper Bag Will Change Over Time

Once you stock up on these diaper bag essentials, it can be easy to forget that your baby's needs will change over time. We recommend going through your bag once a month to make sure that your supplies are up to date. Diaper bag maintenance includes:

  • Restocking dry goods - puppy pads or changing pads, gloves, disinfectant products, wipes, Band-Aids, etc.
  • Cleaning toys and pacifiers
  • If needed, changing out diapers for the baby's current size
  • Swapping out clothing sizes and replacing items that were used
  • Loading up on new feeding supplies

Don't Forget to Stock Up For Yourself

Many parents find that with the introduction of a diaper bag, carrying a purse or satchel can become a bit bulky. Thus, make sure you have room for your most important essentials as well. Having a designated pocket for your wallet, keys, phone, sunglasses, chapstick, and charging cord can help you to quickly grab what you need without having to dig.

Diaper Bag Essentials Every Parent Needs On the Go