I remember the first time we ventured out to the zoo with our daughter. We scrambled about the house packing snacks, water, stroller, sunscreen, hand sanitizer; everything we thought we might need for the next two hours. Within the first 20 minutes of being at the zoo, we realized we had forgotten something; diapers! Amidst all of the excitement of taking her on her first trip to the zoo, we managed to forget her diapers. Rookie mistake. Our zoo trip took an unfortunate turn, as we had to leave and go buy some.
Forgetting important diaper bag items was a common occurrence. Let’s face it, life with kids is chaotic. Your brain is in a thousand different places when you’re trying to leave the house. First, you’re probably behind schedule. You can’t find clean socks, one child won’t eat their breakfast, everyone is ready and then there’s a diaper blowout. There’s. Always. Something. And you will forget something.
It took us a while, but after getting our Kalea Diaper Backpack, I made a conscious effort to always keep it stocked with our family’s diaper bag essentials. It’s not always easy, however, I always try and make a point to clean out and re-stock after each outing. Cleaning out trash, dirty clothes, loose change/found items and replenishing diapers, wipes, and any other important items always makes me feel accomplished and prepared for the next adventure. No matter how badly I don’t want to do this at the end of a trip, I am always so thankful I did; never underestimate the value in setting yourself up for success!
Life is already stressful as a new parent and I’ve established the fact that preparing your essential items in your diaper bag ahead of time is the best strategy for problem prevention (no more forgotten diapers!). So what ARE the essential items exactly? Needs vary from family to family, but I’ll share my family’s non-negotiable diaper bag items,.
Diapers and wipes – Because we already discussed you don't want to forget diapers! A good formula to follow is one diaper for every hour that you’re out. And then one or two more! Always better to have extra than not enough. I typically tuck one or two diapers within the folded changing pad so I only have to grab one thing. Make sure your wipe pack is at least half full, and keep it right in the side pouch of the backpack with the zipper access. This is the most convenient setup for me; alleviates having to dig around for all diapering supplies, which is handy in those emergency blowout situations!
Hand Sanitizer – It’s never too early to introduce the habit of washing hands with baby in a bathroom, however you never know where you’ll end up changing a diaper (it’s been known to happen in the trunk of our car). Plus, outside of needing it for post-toileting, you’ll be thankful for having after nose wipes, puke accidents, and general public ‘ickiness’ situations. Tuck it safely in the outer zipper pocket and you’re all set.
Several changes of clothes – Think two extra weather appropriate shirts, pants, and socks. Whether you’re packing for an infant or toddler, an extra change of clothes will always save the day. Poo explosions, vomit, food spills, or visits to a park with a surprise splash pad happen. Bonus if you remember to pack an extra shirt for yourself. Sometimes mama needs a new shirt too! The Kalea Backpack comes with a drawstring bag that’s so perfect for keeping dirty clothes separate and stored in the bag, however include one or two extra plastic bags for those extra stinky/messy clothes to contain the mess that much better.
Your baby’s favorite blanket or ‘lovie’ – These are Crucial to have if your little one is likely to become tired or possibly even take a nap while you’re out. Both of my daughters have their favorite blanket and they would throw a fit when they were tired if they didn’t have their blanket. Once we gave them their blanket they would go right to sleep! So this is one thing we would NEVER leave home without. If your kiddo’s comfort item or blanket is not one-of-a-kind or hand made, think about buying two of the same; one for the bag, one for home. They’ll never know the difference, and it decreases the risk of seeming to always be searching for the lovie right before you leave or during bedtime.
Baby Sling or Wrap Infants, especially newborns love being held close. Having a sling or wrap folded and packed inside the laptop sleeve is incredibly convenient if you plan on being out of the house for extended periods of time. A great, hands-free way to keep baby snuggled close, and happy, especially if they are tired. Our daughters inevitably fell asleep as soon as we’d put them in our wrap, often times allowing us to stay out longer than we initially thought we’d be able to; no need to rush home for nap time!
Nursing/Feeding Supplies – You may choose to breastfeed your infant, and in many cases this is easier when venturing out in public. If you prefer a little extra privacy while you nurse, stash a nursing cover in the laptop sleeve of the bag; perfect space for folded fabric. If you plan to pump while you’re out, a hand-held, or small battery powered pump and extra bottle or two would fit easily in the large storage cube. Consolidate miscellaneous pump parts a bag of your own, or the drawstring bag that’s included (if not already being used for something else). Breast milk stores for a few hours at room temperature, however if you think you’ll be out longer, plan to bring along your insulated bag and cold packs for milk storage.
The storage cubes are also great for packing a few single servings of formula packets, a room temperature water bottle, and a clean baby bottle for a quick way to make a ‘meal’ on the go. If premade bottles are more your style, pop what you’ll need in a small insulated container; there is plenty of room in the backpack to store while you’re out.
Food/Snacks Never underestimate the power of having snacks at the ready! If babe has graduated to baby food, stock up on fruit and veggie pouches, baby mum-mum crackers, and yogurt puffs make for convenient mess-free snacks when out and about. Don’t forget to include something for yourself. Add a few granola bars or trail mix packs, stash all the snacks in the small storage cube, and you’re all set. A Water Bottle for you and for your little one are also important to have at the ready, especially for those park and zoo trips during warmer months.
Toys – Having an entertaining toy or two is always handy to when in a public or social setting where you want to engage in some adult conversation. Keeping baby occupied with something that shakes or lights up may allow for enjoyment of a hot coffee with a friend, glass of wine with your significant other, or quite possibly an entire (perhaps even peaceful) dinner as a family! Store smaller toys inside one of the mesh compartments of the bag, so you’re not looking like Mary Poppins digging around her bottomless bag looking for Sophie the Giraffe.
Extra Miscellaneous items:
Stroller Straps It’s likely that most of your adventures will include your stroller nowadays, so give your back a break and let the stroller do all of the heavy lifting! Don’t forget to have the stroller straps so you can hook your bag to the stroller. It’s that much easier to access, and you don’t feel like a pack mule wearing the backpack the entire time you’re out!
Personal Care Items such as travel size sunscreen, boogie wipes or tissues, and first aid kits should always be stocked in your bag. This is great to have at the ready in any of the front zip pouches where you always know where it is. It never fails, that during an outing with a toddler, there will be a need for a small band-aid, and many, many, many needs for nose wipes. You will be thankful you hooked yourself up by having these items with you. Don’t hesitate to toss in your favorite lip-gloss, some extra hair ties, and some face wipes for yourself. Mama’s gotta take care of Mama too!
There’s always room for adjustments in packing items depending on the day’s activities, but the one thing that remains the same, is that taking a little extra time to prepare and utilize every feature of our Kalea Backpack to its fullest potential alleviates unnecessary stress of forgetting something important; therefore, any kind of adventure is possible with kids in tow!