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13 Diaper Bag Essentials To Have On Hand

A woman packing a small diaper bag with baby stuff
Africa Studio/Shutterstock.com

Diaper bags are generally pretty large for a reason: they’re meant to hold all of the items you need to keep your baby happy and healthy no matter where you are, and that’s a whole lot of stuff. Aside from the absolute basics, you should have a few other items on hand that will make your life a lot easier, even when you’re going to be out with baby all day. Here’s the full list of what you’ll probably want in your diaper bag.

What To Know When Packing Your Diaper Bag

Before you start packing up, make sure you have a great diaper bag. Backpacks are a perfect option because they’re so easy to carry around. You’ll also want your bag to have plenty of pockets for storage and organization, and enough room to comfortably fit everything without feeling like it’s totally stuffed.

  • Always keep it packed and ready to go. The best way to make sure you never forget anything, even when you’re in a rush, is always to keep the diaper bag packed. If you use up all the diapers, come home and immediately restock. If you run out of wipes while you’re out, add more the moment you can instead of waiting. Keep the bag ready so that you can grab it and go when needed.
  • Make sure the basics are all in there. The below items are super convenient to have in your diaper bag, but the absolute basics that should always be in there include diapers, wipes, a change of clothes, and bottles/formula. You should have the bare minimum you need to change baby’s diaper, clean clothes in case they have an accident, and, if you aren’t breastfeeding, an extra bottle of formula and a bottle just in case. Always make sure those items are in there no matter what.
  • Clean it out often. Between dirty diapers, wipes, pacifiers that fall on the floor, used bottles, and soiled clothes, diaper bags get filthy fast. Make sure to clean yours out at least once a week if not after every use so that you’re not accumulating things you don’t need that are just taking up space. Plus, you want this to be a hygienic environment for baby’s stuff, not a bag full of dirty things.
  • Consider where you’re going. Again, the bare minimum and below basics will work for pretty much any situation, but specific outings require different items. If it’s summer and you’re going outside, for example, you’ll want to pack sunscreen and a sun hat. If it’s winter and cold, you’ll want to pack a warm hat and an extra blanket. Just think about your destination and add as needed.

To Keep Baby Clean: Babyganics Face, Hand & Baby Wipes

Babyganics Face, Hand & Baby Wipes

In a pinch, certain baby wipes (for changing) will do to clean the baby’s hands if they get dirty, but they’re not really recommended for use on their face. But for all of the other times, baby needs to be cleaned up (which is the majority of the time), you’ll want wipes that you can use all over. Babyganics Face, Hand & Baby Wipes are great for exactly that.

Made with plant-derived ingredients and without parabens, sulfates, phthalates, artificial dyes, or fragrances, you can feel good about using these to clean the baby’s sensitive skin. They’re gentle and non-allergenic, and help you get the baby cleaned up when there’s no sink in sight.

To Keep Baby Clean

Babyganics Face, Hand & Baby Wipes, Fragrance Free, 240 Count (Contains Six 40-Count Packs)

These Babyganics wipes are meant to be used to keep baby's hands and face clean no matter where you are.

A Changing Station: Skip Hop Pronto Signature Portable Changing Mat

Skip Hop Pronto Signature Portable Changing Mat
Skip Hop

A changing station is honestly one of the basics you should always keep in your diaper bag so that you always have a clean surface to change your baby on. The Skip Hop Pronto Signature Portable Changing Mat is a terrific option. The changing pad itself is super easy to wipe clean and detaches from the pocketed section, which can be used as a pouch you can carry around separately. There’s a built-in cushioned pillow to keep baby’s head comfy even on a hard surface, and it’s nice and wide for when they start moving around a lot.

The large pocket on this changing pad can hold up to four diapers, as well as other diaper-changing necessities, and there’s a zippered pocket for small personal items. It also comes with a small container for wipes if needed.

A Changing Station

Skip Hop Portable Baby Changing Pad, Pronto, Chevron

Always change baby on a clean surface with this Skip Hop Changing Mat that has plenty of storage space.

For Extra Diaper Storage: Baby Bumco Diaper Clutch Bag

Baby Bumco Diaper Clutch Bag
Baby Bumco

If you want to have lots of diapers on hand always (which is never a bad idea), keep this Baby Bumco Diaper Clutch Bag on stocked and ready to go in your bag. It holds plenty of diapers and has a super convenient refillable pocket for wipes that is so much better (and lighter) than carrying around a separate package of wipes.

The loop on this little bag means you can throw it in your diaper bag, keep it out and use it as a wristlet, or even secure it to your stroller. It’s ideal for carrying the essentials for diaper changing without always keeping the bulky diaper bag on hand. And, on top of that, it’s easy to clean (it can be thrown into the washing machine), water-resistant, and wipeable.

For Extra Diaper Storage

Baby Bum Brush Bumco Diaper Clutch Bag - Water Resistant; Lightweight; Refillable Wipes Dispenser; Portable Changing Kit (Classic Gray)

The Baby Bumco Diaper Clutch Bag makes it so much easier to store and carry around diapers and wipes.

For A Runny Nose: Boogie Wipes

Boogie Wipes
Boogie Wipes

When your baby has a runny nose, even a standard tissue might be too rough for their sensitive skin, especially if they have a cold, and the area is already a little dry. Boogie Wipes are perfect for wiping away snot, and they’re made with vitamin E, chamomile, and aloe to make them super gentle, hydrating, and ideal for sensitive skin.

These also come in packages with a super tight snap closure to keep them from drying out. The fresh scent smells great (although there are unscented options available), and the package is small enough to throw in your bag without taking up too much room.

To Keep The Pacifier Safe: Jj Cole Pacifier Pod

Jj Cole Pacifier Pod
Jj Cole

If your baby uses a pacifier, then you should always have an extra on hand just in case the one they’re using gets lost. Having a specific place to put the paci whenever it’s not in use is also really important. You want it to be kept safe and clean, not just thrown in a random dirty pocket. This Jj Cole Pacifier Pod is great because it keeps the pacifier safe and sanitary.

The easy snap handle means you can attach it to anything from the outside of a diaper bag zipper to a stroller to a car seat. It can also obviously be thrown in a diaper bag if needed. And since it’s machine washable, it couldn’t be easier to keep clean.

To Keep The Pacifier Safe

JJ Cole Pacifier Pod, Stone Arbor

This Jj Cole Pacifier Pod keeps the pacifier sanitary and in a safe spot.

To Keep The Pacifier Clean: Munchkin Arm and Hammer Pacifier Wipes

Munchkin 36 Pack Arm and Hammer Pacifier Wipes

No matter how careful you are with the pacifier, it will fall on the floor and get filthy all the time. And since you can’t always get to a sink, these Munchkin Arm and Hammer Pacifier Wipes really come in handy. Made of 100% food-grade ingredients, these are made to be used to clean off dirty pacifiers, teething toys, and bottle nipples. You’ll go through them much faster than you think.

To Keep The Pacifier Clean

Munchkin Arm & Hammer Pacifier Wipes - Safely Cleans Baby and Toddler Essentials, 1 Pack, 36 Wipes

The Munchkin Arm and Hammer Pacifier Wipes are safe to use to keep pacifiers, bottle nipples, and teething toys clean and sanitary.

To Warm Bottles On The Go: Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature Portable Travel Baby Bottle Warmer

Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature Portable Travel Baby Bottle Warmer
Tommee Tippee

Whether you’re feeding baby formula or express breastmilk, they probably like their bottle a bit warmed up. This Tommee Tippee Portable Travel Baby Bottle Warmer will be one of the most useful things you own for feeding baby on the go. The thermal flask stores hot water so that you can warm up the bottles anywhere, no electricity needed. The lid is super secure to prevent leaks, and it’s small enough to fit in a diaper bag. Any standard size bottle can fit in this one too.

To Warm Bottles On The Go

Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature Portable Travel Baby Bottle Warmer - Multi Function -  BPA Free

The Tommee Tippee Portable Travel Baby Bottle Warmer allows you to warm up baby bottles with no electricity needed.

For Everything Baby Touches: Babyganics Toy, Table & Highchair Wipes

Babyganics Toy, Table & Highchair Wipes

When you take the baby out, you probably want to err on the side of caution and clean the surfaces that they’re bound to touch (right before they stick their tiny hands in their mouths). Babyganics Toy, Table, and Highchair wipes are made of plant-derived ingredients so you can quickly wipe down any tables, high chairs, toys, and other surfaces. They make it easy to keep baby sanitary everywhere, and they don’t leave behind a sticky residue or weird smell.

For Everything Baby Touches

Babyganics Toy, Table & Highchair Wipes, 25 Count, 4 Pack

Babyganics Table, Highchair, and Toy Wipes make it easy to keep everything around baby clean.

When You Can’t Wash Your Hands: Purell Hand Sanitizer with Aloe

Purell Hand Sanitizer with Aloe

Your baby might not be able to use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, but that doesn’t mean you can’t. For those moments when you have to change their diaper with no sink around, having Purell Hand Sanitizer in the diaper bag is clutch. You need some way to keep your hands clean when you can’t wash them! This stuff is also great to have when you take the baby to the store, or you’re around other people who want to hold your little one. As a bonus, the aloe in this one makes it a bit less drying than other hand sanitizers.

When You Can't Wash Your Hands

Purell Hand Sanitizer with Aloe, 2 Fl Oz (Pack of 6)

Purell Hand Sanitizer with Aloe comes in clutch when you need to wash your hands, and there's no sink around.

To Keep Diaper Rash At Bay: Desitin Diaper Rash Cream Rapid Relief

Desitin Diaper Rash Cream Rapid Relief

You probably don’t want to change your baby without using some cream to keep them safe from diaper rash. Desitin Diaper Rash Cream Rapid Relief is dermatologist and pediatrician recommended to keep diaper rash at bay and relieve any irritated skin. It works like a charm: a small amount of this stuff goes a long way, meaning it will last a while.

Made of zinc oxide, which is clinically proven to provide relief from diaper rash, this cream is a hypoallergenic formula that seals out wetness to treat diaper rash right away and to prevent it from happening.

To Keep Diaper Rash At Bay

For Your Own Hands: Neutrogena Norwegian Formula Moisturizing Hand Cream

Neutrogena Norwegian Formula Moisturizing Hand Cream

Hand cream isn’t a necessity. But it is nice to have in your diaper bag when your hands feel super dry, which is bound to happen with the amount of hand washing and sanitizing you do whenever you’re near a baby. Neutrogena Norwegian Formula Moisturizing Hand Cream is incredibly hydrating to keep hands from getting overly dry. It’s one of the best hand creams out there and is small enough to be stuffed in a pocket.

For Your Own Hands

Just In Case: Infants’ Tylenol

Infants' Tylenol

It’s not a bad idea to carry around a bottle of Infants’ Tylenol—you never know when the baby will spike a fever or not feel well. You might never use this stuff, but it’s better to be prepared and safe rather than to have to run around and try to find medicine if needed. This Tylenol can start to relieve a fever within 15 minutes and can ease baby pains like aches from teething as well.

Just In Case

Tylenol Infants Acetaminophen Liquid Medicine, Pain & Fever Relief, Grape, 2 fl. oz

Having Infant's Tylenol on hand means you're prepared just in case baby doesn't feel well.

For Dirty Diapers: Sassy Baby Disposable Diaper Sacks

Sassy Baby Disposable Diaper Sacks
Sassy Baby

As unpleasant as it may sound, there’s going to be times when you change baby’s diaper and don’t have a garbage pail nearby where you can throw the soiled diaper away. In that case, you’ll need to transport the diaper—and while doing that, you probably don’t want to smell it or risk having it leak. Sassy Baby Disposable Diaper Sacks are ideal for sealing up that dirty diaper, and they have a fresh scent to keep the smell away. You can keep the box in your bag, or you can pull a few out at a time and stuff them in a pocket.

For Dirty Diapers

Sassy Baby Disposable Diaper Sacks, 200 Count, Packaging may vary

Keep dirty diapers from leaking or smelling with the Sassy Baby Disposable Diaper Bags.

Jessica Booth Jessica Booth
Jessica Booth is a freelance writer for Review Geek. She has been working in the editorial world as a freelance writer for over two years and previously worked as an editor for over eight years.  Jessica writes about travel, beauty, wellness, health, food, home decor, and parenting, and has reviewed and tested out products for all of those verticals over the course of her career. Read Full Bio »