Wondering what you need to pack in your changing bag for a trip out with your baby?
I remember the first time I took my newborn baby out for a walk I packed everything but the kitchen sink – which meant I had a lot to carry on my back!
So try to avoid my mistake by reading this guide to what you actually need – which includes taking into consideration how long you’re actually going to be out of the house!
What to pack in your changing bag
The essentials to remember are emergency outfit changes, nappies and food for your baby. These are the things you cannot live without in your changing bag!
How much you need to pack in your changing bag depends on how long you’ll be out for with your baby.
If you’re going for a quick stroll around your neighbourhood then you won’t need to worry about the food (or milk).
However if you’re hopping into the car for a long day out – such as to a beach or a day of shopping – then you’ll want to cover all of the bases just in case.
Packing your changing bag well means keeping excess to a minimum, but also planning for the unexpected. For example the day you didn’t pack an extra nappy is the day your baby decides to poop three times in a row through every nappy that your brought with you.
That’s why I suggest one nappy for every hour you will be out plus two spare – just to be safe!
I’ve got a free printable baby changing bag checklist for you to download and keep at the end of this post to help you remember what you need in your bag.
Print it and stick it on your fridge so that before going out you can quickly check that you have everything you will need.
You may also like: Newborn baby routines for the first 8 weeks
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Complete changing bag checklist
This changing bag checklist for your baby will help you organise your changing bag for trips out of the house and give you reassurance that you won’t be forgetting something important!
Take at least a half pack because you can never have too many wipes!
Place the wipes in a pocket of your changing bag that allows for quick access, because they come in useful for all sorts of things such as spillages and cleaning sticky hands, as well as bum wiping.
How many nappies you need depends on how long you will be out. I recommend packing one nappy for every hour you will be out plus two spare.
Remember to add new nappies into your changing bag the night before you’re planning to go out – because of everything in the changing bag this is the thing you may find most annoying if you don’t have enough of them.
Many changing bags come with a changing mat, so keep an eye out for those. I love the Storksak changing bags, although they are expensive, as their bags always come with a mat and they’re compact plus easy to wipe clean.
Look for a changing mat that folds up discreetly so that it does not take up too much space.
These come in handy as changing tables in public places are often quite hard and also helps soak up any mess if your baby does wee while you’re trying to change them.
A barrier cream helps your baby’s bottom in two ways – it can help to treat nappy rash and also to prevent it.
If your baby has been battling with nappy rash then definitely pack your tube of cream when you go out.
Barrier creams come in various different sized tubs and tubes, so pick a smaller size to slip into your changing bag for when you’re going out and about.
I always used Sudocrem with my kids but Bepanthan also does a very popular barrier cream too.
Plastic bag or nappy sack
You never know when you might have a soggy or dirty outfit that you need to stash away in your bag. You also may find bins to put dirty nappies in hard to come by depending on where you are.
Keep the rest of the bag clean by taking an emergency plastic bag or nappy sack for putting dirty stuff in.
Outfit changes x2
Even if your baby is not crawling, and therefore unlikely to get their clothes mucky on a trip out of the house, they may still need a nappy change.
Unfortunately nappy leaks happen no matter how well you fitted the nappy is.
I recommend bringing two outfit changes and keep them really simple. What you will need depends on the season.
I’ve not put a spare cardigan or jumper on the winter outfit changes list, because it tends to be the babygro that suffers the most in a nappy explosion.
This list is of course excluding what your baby will be actually wearing – a babygro (and vest in winter) plus cardigan and coat or blankets on top for winter days.
Summer outfit changes
- x2 babygro or simple romper
Winter outfit changes
- x2 babygro
- x2 baby vest (onesie)
Depending on the season your baby may need a hat to protect their head from the sun or keep them cosy.
Look for cotton hats that are less likely to irritate your baby’s head.
Essential for winter for keeping baby’s fingers warm. However some babygros or baby coats have built-in scratch mits/mittens that do the job AND your baby can’t pull these off.
With mittens your baby may pull them off every chance they get, so you can get clips that fix the mittens to your baby’s coat sleeves. That way you won’t be picking them up off the floor every few minutes.
If it’s a hot summer then you’ll only want a very light cotton blanket – such as a giant muslin swaddles – if anything at all.
In winter if your baby is in something like a snowsuit when out in the buggy then again you may not need any blankets.
However if you’re just popping out quickly you may want to put a couple of light cotton or cellular blankets over their legs and tummy just to be sure they’re staying cosy.
If you are going to be sitting down for a drink or meal at any point (or plan to attempt a grown-up conversation) then distractions are a good idea.
Soft buggy books or toys that attach to the buggy or strap of your changing bag are useful for keeping your baby entertained and won’t take up valuable storage space.
These are handy for keeping your baby happy if you’re going to be sitting in one place for a while.
Remember to swap the toys around every now and then so they have something different to play with.
Bringing their favourite comforter can help a lot if you need them to sleep while you’re out.
This is essential in the summer months, even if you will be spending most of the day in the shade.
Look for a baby suncream that will be formulated specially for their delicate skin.
Also if your baby has particularly sensitive skin, such as eczema, then look for a baby-safe product specifically for sensitive skin such as this one from Child’s Farm.
You can find smaller pots of suncream that take up less space in your bag too.
If your baby uses a dummy then you may want to pop a spare one into your bag just in case they lose theirs or fling it out of the buggy onto the dirty floor.
You can find dummy case that make it easy to take a spare dummy, or a dummy just in case you need it, out and about with you and keep it clean.
Essentials for feeding
If your baby is bottle-fed then you’ll want to take some formula, or expressed breast milk, out with you.
I’ve got tips for making formula in advance on this post if you want to be able to mix a bottle up before you go out safely.
One really handy formula accessory for when you’re out and about is formula pots that hold the right amount of formula for when you’re ready to mix up a bottle.
Alternatively you can buy bottles of pre-made formula, which is the easiest option but not the cheapest.
Remember to take everything you need: Bottles, teats, caps, formula and boiled water in a flask if you won’t be able to get any where you’re going.
You’ll need extra bottles if you’re going to be out all day.
An insulated bottle bag is a great way to keep bottles of formula or expressed milk cool until you’re ready to use them, and keep bottles organised in your changing bag.
Some changing bags feature insulated bottle pockets, which is a feature worth looking out for.
Whether you need to take a breast pump with you depends on how long you will be out of the house and whether you’re exclusively pumping.
It’s so uncomfortable being stuck out with engorged boobs, so remember to take something with you if you are exclusively pumping for your baby.
You may want to consider taking a small manual pump even if you will be nursing just in case.
A Haakaa pump is a simple a lightweight manual pump that many breastfeeding mamas find super useful for expressing milk when out and about.
It’s also good for catching your letdown from the opposite breast to where you’re nursing your baby. This way you don’t lose any milk. Just remember to bring bottles to store it in when you’re done.
Some mamas are totally happy nursing without a cover and that’s fine! If you do use a breastfeeding cover when out and about then remember to pop it into your bag.
You could always combine this one with the breastfeeding cover. Giant muslins are handy and versatile – use them as a nursing cover, to burp baby and as a changing mat!
Spare nursing pads
Avoid those awkward wet patches on your top by packing four spare nursing pads, just in case you need to change them.
Spare maternity pads
If you’re still just a few weeks postpartum then you may still be experiencing some postpartum bleeding. Bring some spare maternity pads with you so you can change them if you are becoming uncomfortable.
If you’re going to be out during your baby’s normal lunchtime (if they’ve started weaning) then pack a simple lunch.
You could just bring out a sachet of readymade baby food to keep things simple.
Alternatively if you make your own baby food then put it into an insulated lunch pack to keep it cool. Your baby may be happy to eat it cold, or you can always ask a member of staff at a restaurant or cafe to warm it, briefly, in the microwave for you. Always check the food for hotspots before feeding to your baby if it has been microwaved.
I have lots of baby weaning meal ideas over on this post.
If your baby is six months and over then bringing a suitable snack may be really useful.
Perfect snacks for when you’re on the go include:
- Mini breadsticks
- Cooked carrot sticks
- Bags of baby-friendly weaning snacks (these are the lowest maintenance choice!)
Choose a simple cloth bib that folds up neatly in your bag and doesn’t take up too much space.
The bibs that can catch food (they’re turned up at the bottom to create a shelf that catches food as it drops out of baby’s mouth) are less messy, but tend to take up more room in your bag.
Plus essentials for you
Don’t forget the essentials that you will need for the day! You might want to put a spare top in the bag, which can come in handy if you’re nursing or your baby struggles with reflux. You never know when the extra top might come in handy.
If you’re on any medication remember to pack some in your bag if you’re going to be out when it’s time for you to take the next dose.
Other stuff that will come in useful includes:
- Bottle of water
DOWNLOAD the free printable changing bag checklist here:
How to choose the right changing bag
Organising your changing bag will be made easier if you have one that’s built with parents in mind.
There are a few features to look for when shopping for a changing bag that you may find really useful:
- Pockets. External pockets with zips can be really useful for tucking away items like your keys.
- Insulated bottle pack or pocket
- Changing mat. Look for one that is machine washable.
- Baby wipes dispenser pocket. These are so useful as you can just grab a wipe rather than dig around in the bag.
- Pram clips. These fix the bag to the handle of your pushchair so you don’t have to carry it. Some may be velcro, which are less sturdy than metal clips. If your bag doesn’t come with clips you can buy this handy buggy clip.
- Water resistant and wipe clean linings. At some point something will spill inside the bag so wipe clean linings are essential, as is water resistant outer material.
- Backpack. A backpack changing bag tends to be easier to carry, in my experience. Large shopper type bags look nice but they slip off your shoulder which isn’t great when you’re trying to carry a baby. There are many beautiful backpack changing bags out there and these are much more convenient as they leave you hands-free to deal with your baby.
I hope this checklist has helped you get organised with your baby’s changing bag! Feel free to download and print off the checklist so that you can keep it handy around the house to double check before you head out for the day.