Curiosity Question

Though I’m not a parent yet, I’m hoping to be in the next few years. I’m looking at things both online and in my area (US), such as parents I see out and about and friends.

I took care of my niece for the first year of her life and remember that the amount of stuff her mom carried was extreme. I’m not that way… I’m quite minimalist in what I carry and am currently working to pare down my possessions. I’m somewhat freaking out viewing the lists I’m seeing and watching local parents to see what they carry (quantity, not specifics).

[name_f]My[/name_f] question is What do you carry in your diaper bag and what kind and size of bag do you use? I’m especially interested in what Berries from outside the US have to say, but I would also love to find out what I’m not hearing/seeing in US based parents as well.

Haha, it can seem like a lot! I think it kind of depends on how many kids you have and how old they are, really. I’ve witnessed and experienced people saying first time moms, like myself, are silly and over do it. I hate that. I like to be prepared and kids…you just never know! It’s like packing a suitcase for a vacation. You pack for what you’re doing and also some things for just in case.

I (ftm of 2YO) have a backpack diaper bag that I got from Walmart. It was affordable and practical. It even has a side pocket with a cut out for wipes! Genius! It is an average-sized bag, I guess.

[name_f]My[/name_f] son was a pandemic baby, so we didn’t go out often at all. Wipes, diapers, extra onesies, a change mat, wash cloths in case he spit up, that sort of thing.

Now that he is older, we have:

*a dry/wet bag. We do cloth diapers part time and got it for them but it is SO useful! There are two compartments. One we put spare diapers, a swim diaper and spare clothes. The other has a waterproof lining and that’s where we can put soiled or wet items until we get home. 100% recommend them to any parent or care giver.

*a first aid kit. Things happen. I’d rather have it than not.
*wipes and diapers
*usually a full sippy cup and a juice box in the insulated pouch.
*sunblock, bug spray
*a few pads for myself, just in case (I don’t carry a purse when I lug the backpack around)
*change mat. Very useful. Ours is the size of a small blanket.
*toys and often random junk that gets tossed in lol

It sounds like a lot but I find it manageable. It allows me to be prepared while also being practical and efficient. I know some parents who don’t take any sort of bag. I know some moms who pack a full stroller or wagon. Everything in between. I found those lists exhausting, too. With everything going on, it has taken us awhile to figure out what works for our family. When your time comes, you’ll find out what works for you. It is trial and error :slight_smile: but don’t feel like you have to conform to any certain way :slight_smile:

[name_f]Edit[/name_f]: I’m from the US, by the way.


Thank you, @namergirl3, for the perspective. I hope I get to do soon. You mentioned my one big fear as many of the lists and people I’ve seen pack like they’re going on vacation for a week or two when they go out for the day… and it takes longer to unload the stroller than it does the grocery buggy when making a run to the store. I’m glad to hear that it is possible to get by with much less while having what you need. :blush:

[name_f]My[/name_f] son’s 2 and I don’t use a changing bag right now, he just has his own little backpack. There’s 2 changes of clothes, 5 nappies, a pack of wipes, nappy bags, nappy cream, sun cream, sun hat, his water bottle and then my purse. But I am 20 weeks pregnant so I have bought a backpack changing bag to use when baby’s here. That’ll hold the above (for days my 2yo isn’t at nursery with his own bag), plus a handful of newborn nappies, medicine if necessary, breast pads, blanket, dummy and [name_m]Milton[/name_m] wipes. Plus teething toys to be added when necessary and a few toys for my 2yo if the day out will be long.

I’m in the UK, hence the different words for things lol but hope this makes sense!

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I’ve noticed I’m super casual compared to my friends or others around me when it comes to this topic. I’m in Australia.

I hate plastic. I refuse to use powders, lotions and fancy little baby products. Soap and water, good food and love is all a child needs. :grin:

I have two kids, 2 and 4 years old. When they were babies I carried nappies and wipes and a premade bottle (once finished breastfeeding) in my handbag and as they grew, I got a small backpack and they carried around their own nappies and water bottle. This eventually turned into spare underwear and water bottle and now we only use one bag between two kids.

I’m not against having a messy face or wet, sandy feet or cleaning the car seat cover once in a while. I see a parent that picks up a bag full of rocks and slams it on the table and rummages for 5 minutes just to find a wet wipe to get a tiny speck of food of their child’s face.

Dirt will wash off in the bath. People are going to understand that kids make a mess. It’s okay to change in the back seat and use the last nappy and smile about how “that was a close one” on the way home. It’s okay to vacuum half the beach out of your car once a month. It’s not going to make them sick, or slobs when they’re grown, or make others think you’re a bad parent if you child isn’t immediately cleaned and changed and brushed and shiny.

A full day is different obviously (mainly adding a hat, blanket and bug spray) but I’m one for last minute trips and small, fun outings.

I think we put too much pressure on parents, especially mothers, to keep their kids and cars and bags and LIFE in perfect, clean order. A bit of dirt is good for your kids.

Parenting is all about winging it anyway, and I find so much fun and joy in messy parenting.

Don’t stress, you’ll find the balance of what you want to carry and figure it out as you go but I really have found that less stuff equals more mess and more mess equals more fun! Not to mention, your back will thank you and your pram won’t tip over from the bag of rocks your carrying :rofl:


I have a simple Kanken backpack that we have used since birth as our diaper / nappy bag (i’m in the UK).

Our essentials for the first year:

•Changing mat ( A fold up travel one that slots into the hard inside pocket of the bag)
•Pack of wipes and 3-4 nappies
•1-2 change of clothes (depending on how long we will be out)
•Rattle/teething toy
•A large muslin cloth that I could use as a little beach blanket or cover from the sun.
•Small muslin cloth/ spare bib for spit ups.

I breastfed so didn’t need formula / bottles so that of course left more room.

We were never out for very long so very rarely did I have to change him out and about (covid lockdown mama also), but I am pregnant again so will be adding disposable bags to it for dirty nappies / clothes.

Now that he’s older I don’t need rattles or bibs but have added
• Water bottle
• Snacks / food
• Suncream
• [name_f]Hat[/name_f]
• 1-2 small toys / book

This still has room for my keys and essentials in the small front pocket and a drink bottle for me.

[name_f]Hope[/name_f] that’s helpful!


Honestly I take everything but the kitchen sink out with me as I always feel like something terrible like a poo explosion and will not have enough stuff to handle the situation. Also there’s snacks, zippy cups, milk, pacifiers, sunscreen, various different creams, changing matt, Muslin clothes, hat, toys, anti bacterial wipes and hand sanitiser it’s just a lot of stuff babies need. So I take a large nappy bag plus a little lunch box but I think it does depend on the parent.


This is what we pack for our 5 month old now, plus nappy cream and a wet bag for dirty wipes and nappies because we use cloth nappies and reusable wipes. I also use a Fjällräven Kånken backpack that I’ve had since I was in school - fits everything nicely. Our changing mat is a soft one that rolls up. Our boy also spits up a lot so it’s more like 4 large muslins per trip haha. (We also got a nappy backpack on sale from Tesco - it’s been our one useless impulse buy, a regular backpack has worked so much better. :woman_facepalming:)

We don’t have a car so like to pack as light as possible because anything we bring out with us we have to carry constantly!


I use one regular size ultralight hiking backpack for all 3 kids (5 and under).
I cloth diaper exclusively, plus I have done EC with all 3 kids. So we carry:
-pottette plus mini potty (usable as a seat reducer or a standalone potty) with a collapsible rubber liner insert. If we are indoors, I use the insert, if we are outdoors, I leave the bottom open
-dog poo bags (our dog is with us 95% of the time). I use these to wrap up the poo as I would for my dog and throw away unless there is running water… then I dump pottette insert in the toilet and rinse out with soapy water
-wet/dry bag… agree these things are amazing
-8 or so diaper liners
-2-3 diaper covers
-2 cloth wipes (we barely ever use them. Most often they wind up as a handkerchief)
-2 pairs of undies for my youngest (10MO)
-2 pairs of undies for my middle (2YO)
-1 full change of clothes between the younger two (in a pinch they can share clothes and it’s not a big deal. I choose something that fits moderately well - a bit too big for the little, a smidge too small for the elder – for both of them to keep in the bag at all times)
-1 pair of undies and a pair of pants for my oldest… though he hasn’t had an accident while out and about in over a year…
-bug stick
-tick spray
-mini first aid kid
-hats for the younger 2
-giant water bottle (1/2 gallon)
-smaller water bottle (16oz)
-small spritz hand sanitizer
-my wallet

That bag just exists as it is. I do a refresh on the bag the second I get home so it’s ready by the door whenever I need it. The only thing I add in on a daily basis is the readaloud book du jour. If we get stuck someplace or if the kids need downtime between active activities, I pop it out and read wherever we are.

When we go out, we are generally out for the whole day. I go on big adventures and outings and never have a problem with the above list (winter is a different set with extra layers, etc). I have never used a changing pad and change babies most often folded over my lap. I have never used regular wipes and never had an issue. Because we EC, poo goes in the potty 90% of the time and since I’m good about pottying everyone at transitions, at this point my youngest most often comes home in the same diaper liner we left in; the elder 2 are completely potty independent.

I also do 3 meals a day with my kids, no snacks. That makes it MUCH easier on me to get out and about. They can nurse as often as they want to, have access to water throughout the day, and because they are accustomed to our mealtimes it is NEVER an issue of them complaining they’re hungry except right before a mealtime. So, either I pack our meals out in a separate picnic bag, or I take nothing with me. It wouldn’t work for all families, but this decision early on with my first has saved my sanity so often now that I have 3.

We also share the same water bottle (open lid, no sippy nozzle). I keep the level low in it in case of backwash so I just empty it and swish it out with fresh water as need be. I just figure it is inevitable that we all get the same illnesses… however my kids are fit as racehorses so it has yet to be an issue.

I agree with @berry-tea. Kids can be dirty and those who think otherwise have unrealistic expectations that are not age appropriate. A good bath at the end of the day is a must. We generally need an immediate change for everyone in the house when we come home, but I love the freedom of being anle to just get out and go and have it not be a big to-do.

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It really depends on the age of your child and their needs. Obviously you can prepare as much as you want and then end up having a baby with specific medical needs or something and you need to lug a ton of stuff with you everywhere you go no matter how minimal you want to try to be. Also obviously newborns need a lot more diapers and bottles and essentials than an older baby. We don’t even use a “diaper bag” because we couldn’t find one we actually really liked for a decent price, so we just use a normal backpack as a diaper bag and it works well for us. A quick rundown of what we keep in the diaper bag is:
Diapers (obviously)
Wet bag (we cloth diaper, but they are nice for changes of clothes as well)
[name_u]Baby[/name_u] Tylenol (just in case)
A change of clothes
Extra drool bibs (or else he’d be soaking wet all the time)
A few small toys
A few things for us like tampons, pads, chapstick, hair ties

But like I said, it’ll really depend a lot based on your child’s age, needs, and where you’re going/when/how long.

For example, my son takes daily meditation so if we’ll be gone during the time when he needs to take it then we obviously have to pack it. Also I was always the type of person to say “I won’t bring food for my kids, they’ll just eat whatever we eat!” And he does a lot of the time, but my baby ended up with a severe milk allergy, so depending on where we’re going we usually have to pack snacks for him just in case there is nothing available that he can eat.
And obviously a day at the beach would require way different things than just going to the grocery store or something.

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