Hands up if you thought the hardest part was choosing a nappy bag! Well, you were wrong! The trickiest bit is not choosing the bag, but choosing what goes into it. So whether you’re toting the latest luxurious designer nappy bag as you trot around town with your tot, or your style sways more towards something practical rather than pretty, here’s our guide to what every hard-working nappy bag should contain.
Of course, spare nappies are an essential. I cheated and went with the disposable option for my three kids, but there are a plethora of cute modern cloth options too for baby bottoms. Always pack more than you think you’ll need! Then throw in a change mat, wipes, wipes and more wipes, plus some nappy cream – we like Verite Bebe’s Calendula Bum-Bum Balm – to keep those bottoms sweet and nappy sacks for any soiled items.
It goes without saying that you should always pack a change of baby clothes. Babies may be little but they sure can make a mess – from both ends! Onesies don’t take up much space and are perfect for changes on the go. Throw in a short and long-sleeved version so you’re always prepared, whatever the weather. A light cardigan is another good idea for layering, even in summer, along with a spare pair of socks. I can’t tell you how many times my babies made a mess of their socks during nappy changes. A spare top for you is always wise too. Then if your baby is making the move to solids, or is very, very dribbly, you’ll want some bibs. And don’t forget a sunhat or beanie!
Toys are an essential, whether running errands or visiting friends. Throw in your own favourites – we recommend a teether, a soft toy for naptime cuddles, a favourite rattle and a few easy-to-carry board or cloth books. Or do it the easy way and grab a pre-packed bag of all these things to throw into yours from My Busy Bag.
Wraps like this one from Cocooi are indispensable, whether for swaddling your tiny newborn, as an impromptu playmat at a friend’s place or for draping over a carseat or pram to keep the sun out of baby’s eyes. They’re also handy for mums who feel shy when breastfeeding in public. I always kept an oversized Aden and Anais muslin wrap in my nappy bag for feeds, but by the time my third baby came along, I’d perfected the art of staring down any gawkers and would instead lay the wrap over my bare arm in hot weather to stop my baby sweating against my skin. How you choose to use your wrap is up to you, just remember to keep one in your nappy bag.
If you have space, add a blanket or playmat. Throw them over baby at nap time or throw them on the ground for some fresh air at the park or wherever your day takes you. Peppermint Pinwheels make a nappy bag-friendly playmat and Melbourne textile company Uimi make beautiful bassinet blankets that are sized just right for the nappy bag. They come in summer and winter weights, so you can always be prepared.
Now that the weather is warming up, water bottles are a must. Just make sure to get one that won’t leak. Ever. You will rue the day that you skimp and buy a cheap water bottle, only to have it tip, leak and leave a soggy, sodden mess in your bag. Trust me, no matter how careful you vow to be, it will happen. If your bag allows, take one for you and a smaller one for baby. WeeGo make big and little baby bottles suitable for water, and grown-up drink bottles as well, while Kor bottles are another thing of beauty that won’t leak. Hurrah!
Here are some other things I keep in my nappy bag. Child-sized cutlery (because often cafes only have standard cutlery that’s too tricky for little hands to manage), a little notebook and crayons for artwork-on-the-go, toilet seat disinfectant (because little girls have to sit), hand disinfectant (because often public toilets lack soap), an iPad mini loaded with kid-friendly apps, healthy snacks (pop them in a Lunchskin), kids roll-on sunscreen, soft tissues, a small first-aid kit for inevitable grazed knees and way too many lip glosses and balms for me. Back in my infant-toting days, my nappy bag would often sport a spare dummy or two, plus some teething gel and rusks.
If you don’t yet have a nappy bag, or if one nappy bag is never enough, make sure to browse our previous posts to find the perfect nappy bag for you. Then tell us in the comments what you keep in your own nappy bag.