How To Become A Better Prepared Parent

How many times have you seen a new mom or dad struggling with the contents of their baby’s diaper bag, only to have the contents spill out or cause stress because it’s so full they can’t find what they need? And throughout all of this, the baby does nothing but fret, cry or scream. It’s enough to drive someone mad. To avoid crazy moments like this, here are the basic essentials for any diaper bag.

An actual diaper bag: Let’s start with the maybe not so obvious. It may be tempting to save by using a large tote or existing bag versus investing in a proper diaper one; however, the comfort, durability, overall size, and convenience will be well worth the extra money for a good diaper bag considering you’ll be hauling a lot in this on a daily basis.

Diapers, changing pads and rash cream: A good rule of thumb is to pack one diaper for each hour you plan to be away from home. Plus five. You never know when accidents will happen. Changing pads don’t have to be fancy, even a soft cloth remnant that’s big enough to protect your baby from contact with foreign surfaces is sufficient. A trial-size tube of diaper rash cream is useful for those emergency rash flare-ups.

Wipes and hand sanitizer: Buy the smallest hard shell case of wipes you can find, then refill it with bulk wipes from the big box store. The same with non-alcohol hand sanitizer. Buy a smaller size bottle and refill it from a larger bulk-size version.

Formula, breast milk, or food: If you’re breastfeeding, keep milk safe by packing it with a gel ice pack. Pack a few jars of baby food in separate zip-top bags in case of breakage.

Extra clothes: You never know when an accident will happen. Keep the clothes in a plastic zip-top bag, then if soiling, spills or drools happen, you can change baby’s attire and put the dirty clothes in the bag. Some diaper bags already come equipped with built-in compartments like this.

Extra plastic bags: Emergencies happen in the blink of an eye. Keep a few plastic bags in a secure place within the diaper bag – in a place secure enough that they don’t pose a choking or suffocation risk for baby.

Pacifiers, teething rings, and toys: They’ll keep baby pacified. That’s the whole point.

Sunscreen: For you and for baby. Even driving around in the car can result in a sunburn.

Breast pads, a breastfeeding/nursing cover and a change of clothes: Not for baby, but for you! For that extra blouse or sweater, consider one with a medium to small print as opposed to a solid color. They’ll work better to conceal stains, spills and spit-ups.

Emergency information: Type your emergency contacts’ names and numbers onto a card and laminate it. Request a copy of your health insurance card and laminate it; punch holes in both and attach them with a paper clip or metal ring. This is an important backup in case you lose your phone or it becomes inoperable.

First-aid kit: In its basic form, a first-aid kit should include bandages, gauze, antibiotic cream, a thermometer, any prescription meds, baby aspirin or acetaminophen or ibuprofen, tweezers, a cold pack and baby “Gatorade” as well as baby “Benadryl.”