New mommies and daddies often over-stuff their diaper bags or end up with too few essentials in their bags for long or short trips. Diapers, diaper wipes, formula, extra clothes, snacks/food, and breast milk aside, here are Phil and Mama Kat's top ten diaper bag must-haves for new parents (and not so new parents).
1. The Skip Hop Pronto Changing Station: We love this well-priced, comprehensive changing station and diapering kit. It's pretty and includes everything that new parents need: a changing pad with a comfortable baby pillow, a diaper wipes container, and a mesh pocket to contain all diapering essentials. Plus a pocket for your phone, wallet or keys! Easy to stuff into a diaper bag, beneath a stroller, or into dad's backpack. When you're fumbling to change your little one (LO), you'd want everything at your disposal and this changing station will ensure just that!
2. Aquaphor Healing Ointment: This has kept Phil Bae's tushy rash-free, smooth, and protected from thousands of soiled diapers. Easy to wipe off of adult fingers and works wonders in soothing dry and irritated skin. A diaper bag absolute must-have! Can use on adult skin too.
3. Medela Swing Portable Electric Breast pump: For mommies who pump milk, this portable and affordable (you may be able to get reimbursement through your insurance, by the way) electric unit works very well. Going back to work full-time, I was able to pump 10-20 ounces of milk in my office using this unit. It's light and durable-- I've dropped mine a few times and it still works just fine. It uses batteries and comes with an adapter. For mommies who prefer manual pumping, I recommend the Phillips Avent Hand Pump. For milk storage, I recommend Lansinoh's leak-proof storage bags.
4. Babyganics Alcohol-Free Hand Sanitizer: An on-the-go, alcohol-free and fragrance-free hand sanitizer is the way to go in my book. Parents can use this on their hands and their babies'/toddlers' little hands. Though germs are bad, as a Doctor of Physical Therapy, I recommend that you don't go crazy in over-sanitizing your baby and your baby equipment. Exposing babies to some germs will help build their immunities systems and prevent allergies. Phil at present has no known allergies.
5. Babyganics Sunscreen: This is a tear-free, fragrance-free, mineral-based sunscreen made with a non-allergenic formula. You may think that you don't need to apply sunscreen to your baby during cloudy or wintry days. UV rays are ever-present. Protect your babies' precious and sensitive skin early on.
6. Phillips Avent Baby Bottle: Since Phil was born, we've been using Phillips Avent baby bottles. He has never been colicky. Milk doesn't spill from these bottles. At home, we use natural glass bottles. For traveling and diaper bag stuffing, I recommend the Philips AVENT Natural Polypropylene Bottle (BPA-free). Phil has no trouble holding this bottle and it's so easy to clean.
7. Baby toy: You can include any one of your babies' favorite toys. One of Phil's favorite toy, from wee-days to now, is the Baby Einstein Take Along Tunes music toy. Classical music, volume-control, fun lights-- even I like this toy and the sounds don't annoy me when I'm driving.
8. Sassy Baby Diaper disposal bags: Don't leave home without diaper disposal bags. Where are you going to stuff those stinky soiled diapers? These bags make storage and disposal easy. They're convenient to use and barely take up any space in your diaper bag. I'm unsure if they're biodegradable or not. If they are, then they're perfect!
9. aden by aden + anais Swaddleplus blankets: Perfect for swaddling newborns. Using these, I was a swaddling pro by the time Phil was one week old. After your baby turns two-months old, you stop swaddling. You can use these as wraps or thin blankets during a car ride or traveling, or while baby is in the stroller.
10. Phillips Avent soothing pacifier (BPA-free): What can I say--I love Phillips Avent baby items. Phil loved these pacifiers too, though he had quickly grown out of pacifiers, preferring lovies (his socks, don't ask). Comes in wonderful colors, plus they're durable and latex-free. My only qualm about these were that the nipple was a bit long for newborns (even the ones that were meant for 0-3month babies).
So, mommy and daddies, what are some of your must-have recommendations for diaper bag stuffing before you and your little ones go on big adventures? :)