What To Pack In Diaper Bag – Diaper Bag Checklist By Age
If you’re a new or expectant mom thinking through diaper bag essentials there’s no exact science or answer. Every baby (and caretaker) is different and has different needs. Breastfed babies and moms need nursing covers. Formula fed babies need more bottles on the diaper bag checklist. Some moms choose to use cloth diapers and some (like myself!) use disposables. What to pack in a diaper bag will shift from mom to mom, baby to baby, and season to season.
However, below is a list of things I counted as diaper bag essentials for each age range through one year. This list for what to pack in a diaper bag is not exhaustive but includes the items that I found most necessary to help us function smoothly and travel well throughout the first year of our daughter’s life.
You can also download a free diaper bag checklist pdf below that includes all of these diaper bag essentials by age in checklist format to help you prepare or organize!
I breastfed our oldest daughter for 8 months but had to supplement with formula through occasional periods, so this diaper bag checklist represents the items associated with those needs. Our sweet baby girl was also born in early August, so the first several months of her life were quite warm. I had to pack my diaper bag essentials with needs for cooler temperatures in about the middle of her first year, which is also represented in the list below.
If you are an expectant or new mom preparing for your own sweet baby, then it is my hope that this list of what to pack in a diaper bag guides you as you look ahead to the diaper bag essentials that you will need. If you haven’t delivered yet you can also read my hospital bag checklist to prepare you for labor and delivery as well as some information on postpartum symptoms and guide to building your baby registry. I hope you will be more prepared than I was!
Here’s the what’s in my diaper bag newborn through 12 months breakdown:
(Note: This post contains affiliate links which means if you purchase an item through one of my links I make a commission on your purchase – at no additional expense to you! Read the full disclosure here.)
What To Put In Diaper Bag By Age Range
0-3 Month Diaper Bag Essentials:
- Diapers – early on the diaper changes were frequent, so a full stash of these on the diaper bag checklist is a must! (Did you know you can purchase diapers on subscription from Amazon? In terms of quality for an affordable price we are a huge fan of LUVs diapers! Buying them on subscription helps you to never forget to buy them and gives you a percentage off.)
- Wipes – at first I kept a full disposable or small disposable package of wipes in the diaper bag, until we realized it was generally cheaper to use a wipe dispenser like this one and keep filling it with refill packages of wipes.
- At Least 2 Burp Cloths – our daughter spit up excessively in the first several months, so we never had too many of these along!
- 2 Spare Outfits – it was not uncommon in the early months for our daughter to poop through multiple outfits a day, so I found it was always a good idea to have at least two spares when leaving the house.
- Nursing Cover – I used one like this because of its length for modesty. This was a must to have any flexibility to nurse in public (or even around family) if needed.
- An Extra Blanket – I wasn’t good about always throwing this in the diaper bag, but it was quite handy for extra warmth or floor time.
- Formula Emergency Stash – I kept one zip-lock bag of pre-measured formula or a ready-mixed canister in the diaper bag for supplementation or emergency use if I was unavailable to nurse.
- Empty bottle – I kept an empty bottle along as a diaper bag essential also for emergency or supplemental use. (If you’re curious about which bottles to use you can read my review of 8 top baby bottles for breastfed babies here.)
- Swaddle/Swaddling Blanket – our daughter could not sleep without her swaddle, so wekept one handy in the diaper bag in case we were away over a nap and able to lay her down. We loved these thin ones from SwaddleMe because they were compact and not too bulky to pack along.
- Baby Lotion – I kept a small container of Johnson’s Baby Lotion in the diaper bag because early on it was part of our daughter’s bedtime routine.
- Disposable Breast Pads – these were a must for me early on as I would easily soak through and need to replace them while out. I used the individually wrapped Lansinoh pads. It was so easy to just throw a few in the diaper bag.
- Nipple Cream – this was a necessity for me at first and, while I could have survived without one on me while out, it was helpful when I remembered to throw a small Lanolin tube in the bag.
- Water Bottle – I didn’t always remember this one either, but while nursing it was very helpful when I had a water bottle for myself to try to keep my hydration up.
- A Spare Shirt for Myself – After getting pooped and spit up on multiple times, I began to keep a spare shirt for myself on the diaper bag checklist – just in case it happened while we were out!
3-6 Month Diaper Bag Essentials:
- Diapers – at this stage I still kept a large amount of these on the diaper bag checklist. (Again, did you know you can purchase diapers on subscription from Amazon? In terms of quality for an affordable price we are a huge fan of LUVs diapers! Buying them on subscription helps you to never forget to buy them and gives you a percentage off.)
- Wipes – again, at first I kept a full disposable or small disposable package in the diaper bag, until we realized it was generally cheaper to use a wipe dispenser like this one and keep filling it with refill packages of wipes.
- At Least 2 Burp Cloths – it took our daughter some time to outgrow her spitting up habit, so having a few of these on hand was still important.
- 2 Spare Outfits – again, it took our daughter some time to outgrow blow up poops and spitting up, so it was still important for me to have a couple spare onesies or outfits if we were out of the house.
- Nursing Cover – again, I used one like this because of its length for modesty. It was a must for any flexibility to nurse in public (or even around family) if needed.
- Formula Emergency Stash – Even though our daughter refused a bottle for most of this stage, I kept one zip-lock bag of pre-measured formula or a ready-mixed canister in the diaper bag for emergency use.
- Empty Bottle – again, even though our daughter refused a bottle most of this stage, I kept an empty one in the diaper bag with the formula for emergency use. (If you’re curious about which bottles to use you can read my review of 8 top baby bottles for breastfed babies here.)
- Sleep Sack – our daughter transitioned from the swaddle around 4 months and then used a sleep sack for naps and nighttime, so having one on hand in case we were away over naps was important. We used Halo Sleep Sacks and especially liked their thinner ones for stashing more easily into the diaper bag.
- Disposable Breast Pads – these became less important for me to have in this stage, butI still tried to throw a few Lansinoh pads in just in case.
- Water Bottle – again, this was helpful just to keep myself hydrated while nursing.
- A Spare Shirt for Myself – our daughter was still a big spitter at this stage, so I kept a spare shirt for myself in case of a poop blow out or spit-up that ruined my clothes.
- Small Toys – as our daughter began to interact with objects we found it very helpful to keep one or two in the diaper bag. We especially loved this ball that was one of the first toys she was able to hold – it came with us everywhere for a while!
- A Baby Food Pouch – we started solids for one feeding a day at 4 months, so if we were out over that feeding having the food was important to keep the routine. I didn’t discover using pouches right away so often I threw in a jar and a spoon, but later I discovered how much easier the pouches worked for the diaper bag.
- Baby Spoon – at first I kept a metal spoon with a coated end in the bag, but later discovered cheap disposable spoons like these that worked great and could just be pitched after use rather than putting a messy spoon back into the diaper bag. (I even started using them at home and rewashing to save money!)
- Bib(s) – at first I kept a cloth bib in the diaper bag until I discovered packs like these of disposable bibs. They were wonderful to use and pitch for a messy meal on the go!
6-9 Month Diaper Bag Essentials:
- Diapers – the number of diaper changes started to decrease around this stage, so I kept probably about 3-4 diapers in the bag for a morning or afternoon out. (Again, did you know you can purchase diapers on subscription from Amazon? In terms of quality for an affordable price we are a huge fan of LUVs diapers! Buying them on subscription helps you to never forget to buy them and gives you a percentage off.)
- Wipes – again, at first I kept a full disposable or small disposable package in the diaper bag until we realized it was generally cheaper to use a wipe dispenser like this one and keep filling it with refill packages of wipes.
- Diaper Cream – this was not an essential for us early on, but around this stage, our daughter started to have more common issues with diaper rash so it was helpful to keep a tube of Desitin in the diaper bag.
- A Burp Cloth – at this stage the spit-up finally started to decrease! I still found it helpful on most occasions to keep at least one small burp cloth in the bag. Our daughter also made a mess learning her straw cup at this stage, so it was important to have one of these (or even a hand towel sometimes) in the diaper bag to manage the mess.
- A Spare Outfit – poop blow-outs also started to decrease around this stage! I still tried to keep at least one spare outfit in the diaper bag to be ready for a spit-up, food, or poopy mess.
- Extra Warm Layer Clothes – since our daughter was too mobile to be easily wrapped in a blanket at this stage, I started to keep a set of warm layer clothes in the diaper bag in case we needed to bundle her up a little bit more.
- Nursing Cover – this was still important for me to have for any public nursing up until about 8 months when our daughter was weaned.
- Filled Formula Dispenser – until we weaned I typically just used a zip-lock bag of pre-measured formula for the diaper bag, but once we used formula exclusively I loved using a Munchkin dispenser when going out over more than one feeding!
- Cup(s) – since our daughter refused the bottle, she was weaned onto the Foogoo straw cup at this stage. It was often helpful to have 2 of them in a bag to avoid needing to wash one if there wasn’t a sink nearby. I would fill them with water so the formula just needed to be dumped in when she was ready to eat.
- Sleep Sack – again, having our sleep sack on hand in case we were away over naps was important.
- Small Toys – at this stage I threw even more toys in the diaper bag to help entertain and occupy our daughter when we were out.
- 2-3 Baby Food Pouches – in this stage I gave baby food at 2 meals of the day, so having a couple of them in the bag was important if we were going to be out over more than one feeding time.
- A Small Bowl – I started baby cereal with our daughter at about 6 months, so if we were out over her late morning feeding I would include a small bowl to mix the cereal in. I later began mixing it ahead and putting into refillable pouches on occasion which made it much easier to manage.
- A Zip-Lock Bag of Dry Baby Cereal – again, at this stage we started cereal so I would pre-measure a serving and keep it in a snack size zip-lock to be mixed up when she was ready to eat.
- A Zip-Lock Bag of Dry Formula – since the cereal needed to be mixed with formula, I kept a snack size zip-lock of the appropriate amount of pre-measured formula in the diaper bag.
- A Small Container of Water – to be able to mix up the formula for our daughter’s cereal, I kept a small breast pump container filled with the appropriate amount of water sealed in the diaper bag. When it was time for her to eat her cereal I would dump the formula powder into it, shake, and mix with the dry cereal in her bowl.
- Baby Spoon – again, I loved these cheap disposable spoons that worked great and could just be pitched after use rather than putting a messy spoon back into the diaper bag.
- Bib(s) – I loved disposable bibs that could be used and pitched with messy meals on the go!
9-12 Month Diaper Bag Essentials:
- Diapers – around this stage I started to pack only a couple diapers if leaving the house just for a morning or afternoon. (Again, did you know you can purchase diapers on subscription from Amazon? In terms of quality for an affordable price we are a huge fan of LUVs diapers! Buying them on subscription helps you to never forget to buy them and gives you a percentage off.)
- Wipes – I loved using a wipe dispenser to pack a smaller amount in the bag and replace it with cheaper wipe refills when empty.
- Diaper Cream – the need for this lessened at this stage, but I still kept a tube of Destinin in the diaper bag most of the time.
- A Spare Outfit – I still kept at least one spare outfit in the bag just in case it was needed due to messy meals, dirty play, or a leaking diaper.
- Extra Warm Layer Clothes – again, with our daughter on the move during this stage I kept warm layer clothes in the diaper bag in case she needed to be a little more bundled up.
- Filled Formula Dispenser – I loved using a Munchkin dispenser when going out over more than one feeding! It allowed me to pre-measure three feedings worth of formula into one easy-to-pour container and just throw it in the diaper bag for the day.
- Cup(s) – at this stage our daughter reverted back to a sippy cup, so I kept her NUK soft spout cup in the bag as well as a 360 cup for water at her meals (when I remembered!)
- Sleep Sack – our daughter was still dependent on her sleep sack for good rest, so I continued to pack this in if leaving the house over a nap time where she was able to be laid down.
- Small Toys – like the previous stage, these were important to keep our daughter entertained when out – especially if we didn’t want her getting into other items wherever we were.
- A Board Book – at this stage our daughter began to love board books and read them before bed every night, so having one in the diaper bag was really handy to wind he down or keep her entertained. You can read our top 10 picks for 1-2 year olds here. Most of those books were also ones she enjoyed just before turning one.
- A Baby Food Pouch – at this stage our daughter pretty much ate what we were having at meals, but I still kept a baby food pouch in the bag just in case she needed to eat when food wasn’t available or had trouble with something we were eating. I no longer used a spoon with it and just fed to her directly from the pouch at this stage.
- A Zip-Lock Bag of Cheerios – I kept this in the diaper bag in case our daughter needed to eat when food wasn’t readily available. Sometimes I used it with a pouch to make one of her meals if other food was not ready or nearby.
- Bib(s) – again, I loved disposable bibs that could be used and pitched with messy meals on the go!
- Hair Bow/Band – around ten months our daughters hair grew long enough to be falling in front of her eyes, so keeping a small hairband or bow in the bag helped to keep it out of her face and served as a spare if she pulled one out of her hair that had already been put in.
- Baby Sunscreen – the timing of when to throw this in the diaper bag may depend on some seasonality, but I threw it in around this stage because it was summer and our daughter was becoming quite active and wanting to enjoy more outdoor play. I love Coppertone Water Babies for its strong protection designed for baby skin – but mostly for its super fresh baby scent!
These are the diaper bag essentials that kept us fed, clean, and happy while on the go during the first year of our daughter’s life.
You can download a diaper bag checklist PDF of those items HERE to help you plan and organize your own diaper bag!
(Not sure which diaper bag to haul all of these items in? Check out this diaper bag review by Good Housekeeping)
We adopted our daughter from an orphange when she was 14 years old and because of her bedwetting and daytime wetting accidents,we used cloth diapers and rubberpants on her 24/7.I had a diaper bag for her that went every where we went with her.For her catholic baptism and christening 3 months after we got her,we had a gown and matching bonnet made for her to wear and i got new diapers and rubberpants for her to wear under the gown with a new tee shirt as her top.I packed her white tights and shoes in her diaper bag also along with the babypowder and two sets of diaper pins.After the mass she was wet so i took the tights off of her and put fresh diapers and rubberpants on her then the tights back on.She was dry all thru her party that afternoon.
This list is so helpful, especially for new moms. My little ones out of diapers now, so I carry around less stuff than I used to, but something I always carried especially before potty training was Anti monkey Butt’s Baby Powder. It was a lifesaver to prevent diaper rashes and I couldn’t go anywhere without it.
I have not heard of that kind! I will definitely need to check it out!
Great list keep this bookmark for more info, later on, make sure I don’t overpack
So glad it was helpful to you!
These are really helpful compilations…I’m expecting my bundle of Joy by March 2019.
First of all – congrats!! And so glad you found it helpful! It was a lot for me to keep track of at first when I suddenly had to think through so many things to leave the house with my first baby, but my brain quickly got used to running through the mental checklist (and some essentials I unfortunately learned by trial and error!). Of course each mom and baby are different but hopefully it gives you a general idea of what to prepare!
These are all really helpful! I remember being surprised at needing to pack an extra outfit not only for baby, but also a clean shirt for myself, but it was really helpful to have sometimes because you just never know!
Yes, I learned quickly by experience to carry that piece with me ?!
I love how you broke it down by how old there are!
Thank you! I really felt like there were enough things that changed by age that if I was going to keep any kind of organized list for future, I had to break it down that way!
RIGHT ON THE MONEY! I feel like right when I get it down something changes but this is such a good recap!
True it is an ever-evolving thing! Just like most of parenting I’m learning haha
So very true! By trying to capture it by each age group I’m hoping for a future baby that it will help me remember all of the things I learned by forgetting this time around!
These are all perfect by age group! Perfect list! I never thought of sunscreen I’ll be adding that today! ???
Thank you! Yes, I didn’t have sunscreen in at first but realized I kept wishing I had it for various summer outings so I was glad to always have it on hand!
Great list and perfect for new mama’s! I had to laugh about bringing an extra spare shirt for mom…I also learned the hard way with this one, haha!