Have you ever wondered what other mums carry in their nappy bags? Or why some people practically cart around a suitcase, while others seem to be able to make do with just a small handbag? We have, so we asked mums to tell us their must-have nappy baby bag items.
Nappies and wipes
Sounds obvious, right? Nappies in a nappy bag. But take it from one mum: forgetting can be hazardous. "The first time I took my baby out I forgot my nappy bag. I just took the baby and grabbed my wallet and keys. I learned quickly to never do that again," Michelle Dean says.
If nothing else, nappies and wipes are the absolute essentials. Many mums say for first baby, they carried items for every possibility, but by baby two, three or four, they are down to just these two things. "First baby I packed everything. Second one I downsized, third one – what nappy bag? I use my purse. A few nappies and wipes with an extra set of clothes and we're good," says Michelle Gomez.
Many nappy bags come with a change mat, or you can buy disposables, or very thin, foldable mats. You could also use a terry towelling or flannelette square nappy, or check out something like the Jellybones neoprene change mat. Public change tables are pretty gross, so a change mat is definitely on my priority list.
Spare change of clothes
Definitely for baby, probably for a toddler and maybe a spare top for mum too. And underpants for children who are toilet training! "If I know I'm going to be out all day I take spare change of clothes and my nappy mat," says Chloe Mills.
Nappy disposal bags
These scented bags are really handy for dirty nappies, especially if you're nowhere near a bin when nature calls.
First aid kit
Band-aids, tissues, nappy rash cream, baby powder, nail scissors and antiseptic cream may all feature here. "I carry first aid supplies ... you never know, right?" says mum Donna Kaz. Keep the kit together in a ziplock bag or pouch, or try one of these handy, compact I'm OK! first aid sets (below).
Muesli bars, squeezable fruit packs, sultana boxes – it helps to have a few non-perishables in your bag to keep hunger at bay. There is no greater torture, for mum or child, than being stuck somewhere with a ravenous tot.
A blankie, favourite toy or dummy are a must for some kids, especially if you're likely to be out when they are due for a nap. Even better, keep a duplicate of your child's favourite comforter in your nappy bag – if it gets left behind somewhere, you'll still have the original at home. Disaster averted!
You can also combine both dummy and comfort toy with the multi-tasking Goolie Goolie.
Sippy cup/water bottle
Many parents tell us water is a must – even for those who say they are very light packers. Alternatively, or as well, you could pack a SipSnap, a nifty drinking lid that turns any cup into a spill-proof cup for kids.
Keep it clean
Some mums swear by hand steriliser for those times you can't get near a tap to wash your hands after a nappy change. Others also say they pack dummy steriliser. Some mums carry antibacterial wipes to clean surfaces, such as high-rotation cafe highchairs.
If you're uncomfortable nursing in public, take a lightweight muslin wrap, shawl or breastfeeding cover. You could also try something like the multifunctional Topszy breastfeeding garment.
You'll probably be needing a couple of these for a while, particularly if your baby is a dribbler or learning to eat. They're also handy for mopping up little spills. Check out stylish bibs in the Babyology archives.
Bottles and formula
Some nappy bags come with an insulated cooler section that can be used for made-up bottles or bottles of breastmilk; other parents prefer to take water and add the formula from a dispenser as they go.
You've got everything you need for bub, but don't forget about you! Reader Deanna recommends a small perfume. "You never know what baby yuk might land on you, use that parfum to mask it," she says. And make sure you have your purse, phone and keys!
And if you think this all sounds like a lot to carry around, don't worry – you won't be the only one with a nappy bag bursting at the seams. "I try not to take too much but end up taking everything but the kitchen sink. I can't live without nappies, wipes, a spare outfit and plastic bags. My husband moans all the time about how I over pack," Leanne Johnston-Trotsenko tells us. And Angel Elizabeth Johnson says: "I pack everything! I think the bag weighs more than my son does!"
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