Top 25 Diaper Bag Essentials For Baby & Toddlers

Are you planning to leave the house for an extended period with your baby, such as a day trip or a long outing? You’ve probably figured out that having a diaper bag with you is essential. However, it’s always a good idea to pack your bag with some diaper bag essentials.

diaper bag essentials for baby and toddler

Although you may not use some of these ‘essentials’ often, having them handy is prudent especially if you want to have a stress free outing.

This post is all about diaper bag essentials for dads. It may contain affiliate links, which means I’ll receive a commission if you purchase through my link, at no extra cost to you. Please read full disclosure for more details.

The Bare Necessities

01. Diapers – No parent of a baby or toddler is ever leaving home without one. What they might get wrong is how many to pack in the diaper bag. A good rule thumb is to change your baby’s diaper every 2.5 to 3 hours. which means packing about 6 diapers is ideal. This covers you for the entire day and offers some protection in case your kiddo has a blowout or two. (Noticed the dad puns?)

02. Baby Wipes – The second most popular item among everyone’s diaper bag essentials. Most diaper bags now have a dedicated pouch for baby wipes. So pack an entire pouch – they last a while.

03. Changing Pad – While you could get by with disposable changing pads, it’ll be better to get a packable changing pad. They usually are very slim and come with their own diaper disposal bag which comes in handy if you’re on a long road trip or out camping.

04. Diaper Rash Cream – Both my kids have responded well with Boudreaux’s rash cream. If your kids have sensitive skin, then other brands like Desitin or Aquaphor may work well.

05. Clothes – Have at least two change of clothes handy in your diaper bag. Instead of full outfits, I like to pack basic neutral onesies because they take less space and are comfy enough during hot summer days.

06. Milk Bottles – Even with your best calculations, there may be chances that your kiddo goes through a feeding frenzy just when you’re out. Most diaper bags come with insulated pouches so it doesn’t hurt to pack an extra bottle or two.

07. Formula – It might work out fine if mom is breastfeeding but having a spare formula tin is definitely easier when she is tired and the baby is wailing. I like to buy the smaller tin and then just refill it with formula as needed. This saves me some space in the diaper bag but also keeps me prepared for emergencies.

08. Pacifier – Both my babies never really took to pacifiers. However, I did find them useful to distract them when they got extremely fussy. If your kiddos are pacifier friendly, then you may also consider buying a pacifier case.

09. Burp Cloth – Burp Cloths are pretty versatile. You could use it as a burp cloth, impromptu blanket, nursing cover, sunshade or even as a makeshift neck bandanna.

10. Snacks – The best kind of snack are the little pouches you can get from a wholesale store. Chances are your toddler will want something from a food stall or concession stand more but its always good to keep their favorite snacks handy.

Safety Essentials

01. First Aid Kit – You don’t need a full on emergency kit but one of those travel sized first aid kits are great to stash in the diaper bag. They’re also a great spot to store loose cash or valuables. Not many people out there stealing first aid kits right? 😉

02. Sanitizer – Ever heard of Shigella? Or had your toddler projectile vomit? The risk of that can be drastically reduced by just washing and sanitizing your hands. Now some times, the wash room may not be close by while a pocket sanitizer can be.

03. Bucket Hat – A great one to keep with you especially during summer. I also use it as a makeshift bowl to place snacks in while the kids are in their stroller. As a pro tip, buy a bucket hat in a wacky print or with ears because it’s a great way to pick out your kids in a crowd.

04. Sunscreen – Most kids generally don’t like the feeling of thick (and sometimes greasy) sunscreen on their skin. Ironically, those are the ones that offer most protection from the sun. I’ve tried a few brands and my kids seem to tolerate Baby Bum Sunscreen SPF50 the most.

05. Mittens – Primarily for toddlers who live in the northern states or are exposed more to wintry cold weather. I like to keep a pair made of cotton – they’re easy on the skin and don’t take up much space in the diaper bag.

Hygiene Essentials

01. Camping Spork – What’s a camping spork doing in a diaper bag? Depending on which country you are, disposable silverware may not be a thing or may cost extra. It’s a lot easier to pack a spork which your toddler can reuse.

02. Baby Comb – I like to keep a small comb in my diaper bag. Way less risk of getting lice from another kid. Enough said. Don’t splurge on the comb though. Just any basic multipack offering from Amazon would suffice.

03. Pacifier Clip – A must have diaper bag essential if you want to reduce your kid’s exposure to germs. I’ve used the clip to hang their toys, bibs and other stuff. They’re pretty multipurpose if you get innovative with it. Try to get the kind that are washable if you can.

04. Paper Tissues – To wipe your kid’s snotty nose. It’s either that or your shirt that’s going to have to take the snot hit. Sounds funny until it happens to you.

Essentials for Dad

01. Slim Wallet – Not your daily wallet but one of those wallets that are slim enough to fit in a small sleeve. They’re great to keep a few credit cards, some cash and your hotel key card or a parking stub. This saves you from carrying multiple things especially while you’re at an amusement park.

02. Water Bottle – Instead of traditional water bottle, I like to keep a collapsible water bottle. They hold a decent amount of fluids when used but can be folded down to a small size when you’re not. Another easy way to maximize space in your diaper bag.

03. Water Flavoring – Just pack a small 1oz squirt bottle of your favorite flavor and now you’ve got a refreshing beverage on the go.

04. Sunglasses – Just any basic sunglasses that you could use if you forgot your favorite Ray Bans in the car or at home. I like to pack a toddler pair too in case the day gets unexpectedly sunny.

05. Carabiner – Another great candidate for the diaper bag essentials. They’re great as fidget toys for my kids, hang something from he stroller or just hang a bunch of bags or bottles.

06. Face Masks – Imagine you finally got a seat at the restaurant of an amusement park but then the lady next to you starts coughing repeatedly. Keep those face masks, they’ll come in handy when you least expect it.

Packing your diaper bag isn’t a stressful process. Just include the diaper bag essentials and you’ll do just fine. Just don’t forget the kid after packing all this stuff.

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