How to Stock Your Diaper Bag (And one of my faves - the Ju-Ju-Be BFF)
We all know my real BFF is Willow. But getting errands done around town — or even zinging up the block on foot for a quick cup of coffee — can be a struggle. At times, one can feel like a bit of a traveling circus, with a massive diaper bag packed to the gils and nothing easy to access. But now that I’ve been at the whole mom thing a little while, I’ve learned some important must-haves. One of them is my new, more compact diaper bag by Ju-Ju-Be (aptly called the BFF).
In addition to having a functional bag, you have to know what to put inside. Here’s how I get out the door in ten minutes or less these days.
A great rule is to try and restock your bag when you get home. Your memory is fresh at that time, so you’ll have a better sense of how many diapers you’ve depleted from the stack, whether or not you used the formula packets in there, and what the current state of the clothing is. Also, when you’re already running late it can be extremely stressful to have to restock. I like to go to bed at night knowing that my bag is ready.
Planning ahead for every possible scenario is absolutely impossible when you have a little one. But it’s always better to have more on hand than you need. I stick to double. I tend to change Willow’s diaper once an hour on average, so if I am going to be out for around three hours, I make sure to have six diapers. Anything I’d normally need one of at home (pacifier, teething toy, bib), I take at least two.
Wipes. All of the wipes. I make sure to have every single type of wipe I could possibly need at all times. You. Never. Know. We have dealt with fllying pacifiers, explosive poops, strangers reaching out to grab faces (ew), and so on. Rather than waste the paper (and annoy your kiddo with the strange taste) do not use diaper-changing wipes for snot or the cleaning of pacifiers and toys. I keep all three types in there, and I’m ready for whatever germy messes come our way. I love a wipes case as much as the next girl, but you can also buy these small on-the-go packs from Honest for about $1 apiece. Hand sanitizer is also important. I like alcohol-free and all-natural — find it at Buy Buy Baby.
Samples are your (other) new BFF. Who wants a diaper bag that’s packed up so tight with bulky items, you can never find what you need? Often, samples are given at mass retailers, stuffed into your package of ordered supplies, or even on offer at the pediatrician’s office. These tiny tubes of diaper rash cream, 2-packs of snot wipes, etc. are not junk! They can be invaluable when you’re on the go, allowing you to have what you need without taking up a ton of space in the bag. Plus, sampling gives you the opportunity to try out every brand without having to commit — or having your husband open up the top drawer of Baby’s dresser and proclaim you a hoarder. (Clearly, that’s never happened over here…)
Entertainment/ distraction. Whatever mile marker you find yourself at, picture your child at his or her worst and then imagine if you were out during a meltdown. At our current age, I have three pacifiers, two teething toys, and a light-up music maker with us at all times. Willow is not yet very interested in being read to but I recently added a board book to the mix. Older babies and toddlers respond well to food distractions, so keeping Puffs or another form of somewhat healthy “junk” food on hand is a good idea.
Wardrobing can be a funny thing when you’re out and about. Of course, we are talking about infants so it doesn’t really matter what they’re wearing. But if you’re visiting a friend, getting a bite to eat, or might be taking pictures, you’ll want a cute outfit on hand. I need one extra full outfit (onesie, too!) and one pair of pajamas whenever I leave the house. I tend to color-coordinate and even a throw a bow in there, too. This week’s stash is mostly organic cotton and all in the same color family. If you follow me on Instagram, you know how crazy Willow looked the last time we had a blowout in public and I had to dress her in all the mismatched clothes in the DB!
A grand solution to your stained onesie problem is to use them here. Whatever it is that happens while you’re out to warrant a change, usually means Baby is kind of dirty and the onesie will end up stained anyway! I also keep a lightweight hoodie or jacket and a hat on hand in case the temperature dips, we get stranded on the side of the highway, or you know, an alien attack occurs and Willow looks cold.
Emergency items are important, too. You don’t have to go nuts, but be prepared. Willow is teething, and I very rarely give her any Tylenol as we’re doing our best to utilize natural methods. But I always keep a spare bottle of the stuff, and its specific dropper, in my diaper bag. There is nothing worse than an inconsolable baby in public. If you’re having success with gripe water and gas drops for colic issues, double-up and keep the spares in your DB, too. Band-aids are another item you’ll want to have at the ready. On top of pain, the most important emergency is insatiable hunger. I am exclusively breastfeeding Willow, meaning she relies solely on my body for nourishment. No pressure!
A mom-friend suggested that I keep a packet of formula that I would be okay giving her, plus a bottle full of safe water in the bag at all times just in case. I’ve also learned if we’re going anywhere that will have us out longer than an errand run, to shove an extra bottle and a pouch of frozen b-milk in there. What if my supply were to dip for an unforeseen reason? (Yes, it can happen!) Or worse, what if something happened to me, if I was hurt or came across some other kind of trouble? It’s always best to be over-prepared than to risk your child being hungry. If you’re formula-feeding or your kiddo is on solids, refer to the diaper rule above and double up!
Speaking of frozen breastmilk (ah, the joys of motherhood!), one of my favorite features of this bag is that the side pockets are insulated enough to actually keep your stuff to temperature, whether that’s warm or cold. I’ve put it to the test and was astounded at the positive results. While we’re on the topic of how much I love this bag, another great feature is that it easily and cohesively allows you to pack:
Stuff for Mommy. That’s right, YOU. Remember you? You are a person, too. And while your age might not allow you to throw tantrums in public, that doesn’t mean that you never have mini-emergencies of the exhaustion/hunger/wardrobe/etc. varieties. Sun gets in your eyes. Keys disappear. Pimples emerge. And those errands? Useless without your wallet.
The front pocket of the BFF is designed with Mom in mind, featuring a smart case to keep sunnies protected, a key fob, and plenty of room for lipstick and a snack. I like to keep a few hairties, a ten-second face (concealer + gloss), some spare cash (you never know), and a snack. I’m often out doing stuff when Willow randomly falls asleep and that’s always when I realize it’s 3 pm and I haven’t eaten yet. You never know when you’ll need nutrients and not be able to readily get to them, so keep a bar or other nonperishable item that has a decent fat-carb-protein ratio at the ready. I love these Kind bars –they taste like a treat, but they’re decent for you and give a little sugar rush to help me power through my errands.
When you lay everything out, it can feel overwhelming. How can you fit all that stuff in one bag without it bursting at the seams? Part of what makes this bag great is that the storage space is maximized thanks to an absolute ton of pockets. Everywhere I tote this bag, I get endless compliments from other mamas, and I consistently find myself unzipping it to reveal how smart the interior features are.
Stack your bag with your least-likely needs on bottom and likeliest on top. Put toys and pacifiers on one side and diapers adjacent to wipes. Always keep medication and food (your emergency stuff!) in the most accessible spots. As soon as it’s all packed, I fold up an Aden + Anais swaddling blanket and put it right on top. These are great for nursing, wrapping baby up, covering the stroller for shade, and about a million and one other uses.
Having bag envy? Read my full review on the Ju-Ju-Be Legacy BFF, $180, over at All Things Chic.