While I was expecting, I, like many other mommas had planned on breastfeeding my new baby. I loved the health benefits and my husband loved the idea of the money we could save on formula. However, once my baby was born I found breastfeeding to be extremely challenging. My baby had a great latch but did not know how to actually suck, she had a condition known as tongue thrust.
Through valiant efforts, I decided to exclusively pump and feed her my breast milk through a bottle, which then caused my milk supply to eventually dry up. So, after two long months of struggling to feed my baby breast milk, I am now a bottle-feeding momma, and I am here to help other mommas who also bottle-feed, pack their diaper bag.
One perk that breastfeeding mommas have over us, is the fact that they can just latch their child onto them when they’re on the go and problem solved. They don’t have to worry about all the items that go into feeding your child in public, so as always, I have compiled a list to condense your load and make public outings with your bottle-fed baby lighter and easier.
Besides the obvious, diapers and wipes, I have put together a list of my favorite items that I make sure to pack, when leaving the house with my baby. For most of their first year, babies pretty much just sleep, eat, and poop. So in order to be prepared for all of these, this diaper bag checklist allows me to meet my baby’s needs whenever and wherever.
#1 – Thermos
This is by far the most brilliant idea I had ever heard of, although I can’t take credit for it. My sister-in-law is a veteran momma of three, and has bottle-fed all of her babies. So, when it comes to packing a diaper bag, she knows what’s up. Anyways, it had been about 3 weeks since I had given birth to my daughter, Hayvn, and I was in transition from exclusive pumping, to exclusive formula feeding.
My husband and I, took Hayvn out to dinner with his family, when we quickly realized we had come unprepared. I had no breast milk and no water to make a bottle. She was getting fussier as the seconds passed, and tensions between my husband and I were rising. The bathroom at the restaurant had sinks, but to be honest, they were pretty gross, and the water didn’t even reach lukewarm temperatures.
In the midst of chaos, my sister-in-law stepped in to save the day. She had brought a thermos full of warm water for her own baby, and offered us some water to make a bottle. My eyes had been opened. Once I saw this genius trick, I decided I would never leave the house without a thermos again.
This life-saving diaper bag hack, is cheap and convenient. The thermos I have was less than $20 and stays warm for a 12-hour period. Seeing as both my husband’s family and my family live out-of-state, we drive a lot. I have used this thermos on countless road trips and can verify the water stays warm and it holds enough water to make several bottles.
I am always careful to make sure I have my thermos filled and packed in the diaper bag before I leave the house. I never go anywhere without it.
#2 – Bottles & Formula Dispenser
What is a thermos full of water good for, if there is no bottle or formula to feed your baby? When I leave the house, I am sure to pack at least two bottles. Something I have learned since being a mom, is to always have a back up. Motherhood is unpredictable and being prepared always pays off.
I also pack a formula dispenser with enough formula to make three bottles. No matter how long I think I will be gone I make sure the canister is full. The best part of these dispensers, is that they are compact, and eliminate the hassle of scooping formula on the go.
Each dispenser comes with a divider which can be removed for washing. The divider forms three separate compartments that holds up to 9 oz of formula, each. These are great for when you’re in a pinch. Your baby is screaming, you’re out in public, and you need to act fast. Just fill the bottle with water, pop open the dispenser, pour and shake. It’s really that simple.
#3 – An Extra Outfit & A Ziploc Bag
Poop happens, and when you have a baby, poop happens a lot. In my diaper bag, I always pack an extra outfit, because something about being out in public, magically inspires my child to blow-out. Now, if my husband made this list, he would also recommend bringing a pair of scissors for when this occurs (to cut the poop-filled clothes off the baby’s body).
I have lost track of how many times an extra outfit has saved me when I am out and about. Despite the brand of diaper or the size of the diaper, my child has an uncanny knack for blowing out. By packing the extra outfit in a gallon-sized Ziploc bag, I not only save space in the diaper bag, but it really comes in handy when you have a pile of poopy clothes.
I would recommend being prepared with an extra set of clothes regardless of, if your baby tends to blow out or not. Children are messy in general, and it’s a good idea to have a backup, especially if you live somewhere that the weather gets cold. There is nothing worse than being away from home, with a naked baby, and the forecast is calling for snow.
#4 – Comfort Items
Early on, my daughter formed a peculiar habit of gently placing a swaddle over half of her face to fall asleep (leaving her mouth and nose uncovered), and for a period of time, it became the only way we could soothe her from a crying fit. My husband and I would call this “the parakeet trick” because much like covering a bird’s cage for sleep, she covered her face to fall asleep.
Due to this, swaddles became a lifeline for us when our daughter would get tired or have a crying spell. On the go, they were even more important, because sometimes they were the only thing that could soothe her in the car. Although she doesn’t need her face covered anymore, having a swaddle still soothes her.
To this day, when I leave the house, I typically give my daughter a swaddle while she’s in her car seat because she loves to snuggle it, and it keeps her calm and warm. Aside from this swaddle, I also pack another one in her diaper bag. I cannot stress it enough, always bring back up. It only took one time of a swaddle falling on the floor, for me to learn to bring more than one.
As mommas, we know our baby best. For Hayvn, we learned that swaddles were a comfort item for her, along with a pacifier. These two things are always in my diaper bag when I leave my house. Making sure I have the necessary items to help soothe my baby, or get her to sleep on the go is of upmost importance.
It won’t take long for you to realize the thing your baby declares as their comfort item. Just be sure to always have that item on hand for when you’re out with your baby, and you’ll be thankful you came prepared.
#5 – Shopping Cart Cover
For all my germaphobic mommas out there, you will love this one! If you’re a germ freak like me, this is by far, the best thing you could ever buy.
Did you know, that in the sample of 85 random shopping carts, a whopping 50% were found to carry E. coli? And 72% contained coliform bacteria! This level of coliform suggests that fecal matter is involved in the contamination of most shopping carts.
Grossed out yet? As moms, we already deal with enough fecal matter, we don’t need our children placing their tiny hands on shopping carts covered in it. That’s where the shopping cart cover comes into play.
I will say, this is for baby’s that are 6 months or older, or are at least sitting up unsupported, nevertheless, it’s a great item to have for when they are old enough. It’s designed with holes that line up with (most) shopping carts, to place your baby’s legs through. The excess fabric then wraps around the front and back of the entire seat portion of the cart. This keeps your baby’s skin from ever touching any part of the cart. Plus, you don’t have to touch the cart either, it’s a win-win!
The cover I have, folds up and attaches to itself by a Velcro connection, making it light and compact enough to fit in my diaper bag. I absolutely love mine and bring it with me whenever I leave the house, regardless of where I’m going. You never know if you’ll end up stopping by the grocery store while you’re out, and it’s definitely better to have it with you just in case.
Be Prepared & Bring Back Up
A momma’s first outing with their new baby can be overwhelming to say the least. There were many learning curves life threw at me while navigating the first time away from home. I have made this list in hopes of helping other new moms to feel confident and prepared for not only their first, but every time they leave the house with their little one.
Through trial and error, and many hard lessons learned through leaving the house without these items, I have picked my favorite diaper bag essentials. With these five items you will never find yourself scrambling around or racing home. Ladies, with this diaper bag checklist, you will be the most prepared momma out there!
As always, I love hearing from my Mommas, please leave any suggestions in the comments! Let me know the items you are sure to never leave the house without. Or better yet, I love a good story! Share a time you left the house unprepared and how you improvised.