For new moms, the diaper bag is a constant companion. You stuff it full of items given to you by friends and family, and you’d never leave the house without diapers, wipes, or those little pouches that hold pacifiers. The contents will change as your child grows, but there are a few things the most put-together moms always keep nearby, whether they’re the parent of a baby, a toddler, or a big kid. Regardless of where you are in your parenting journey, we’re pretty sure you’ll find some useful ideas on our list.
A First-Aid Kit
You can buy a wide variety of pre-made first-aid kits, but they usually have a lot of items you just don’t need. Use a small toiletry bag and luggage lock to create your own.
- A list of emergency contacts and information
- Small toys or a new book to use as a distraction
- Empty water bottle
- Phone chargers
- Adhesive bandages in various sizes
- Alcohol pads
- Sting relief pads
- Hydrocortisone cream
- Antihistamines in case of an allergic reaction
- Motion sickness medication
- Children’s Advil (Pediatric Drops, Suspension, and/or Chewables, depending on the ages of your children) for fast-acting relief of fevers, earaches, pain from cold and flu, or immunization pain
A Change of Clothes (for Everyone)
Keep a bag in your car with a complete change of clothes for everyone—including yourself. If you’re feeling nice, go ahead and throw in an outfit for your significant other as well.
- Long pants and short sleeves, plus a light jacket
- Socks and underwear/diapers
- Disposable bags you can use to hold dirty items
- A pair of cheap shoes
- A towel
Think outside the screen!
- Coloured pencils and small colouring books
- Cars and small dolls
- Car Bingo
- Your brain—games like “I Spy,” memory ABC games, and improv stories can help pass the time
Sometimes you do need the screen, so load up your phone or tablet with:
- Family photos
- Downloaded shows
- Creative and/or educational games
This seems like a no-brainer, but there’s nothing worse than a hangry kid (or parent!) and a never-ending school function. (Just make sure to avoid chocolate or other meltable items.)
Choose shelf-stable snacks like:
- Baby food pouches
- Granola or cereal bars
- Water bottle
We don’t care how old your kids are—you need wipes. So many wipes. Everywhere. There are tons of uses for them:
- Wiping off the questionable substances from your kid’s hands and face
- Cleaning drink splatters
- Unexpected spit-up
- Is that chocolate? I hope that’s chocolate
- Whatever that sticky thing is
While you’re at it, add:
- Antibacterial wipes for cart handles and highchairs
- A roll of paper towels for bigger messes
If you kept all of this in your diaper bag or purse, you’d look more like a sherpa than a mother. Keep everything organized in your car, and grab what you need to take with you. Large food-storage bags make it easier to pull out just the right items. To make things easier, write sizes and expiration dates on the sides of the bags, so you’ll know at a glance when it’s time to refresh the stash.
This post was written in partnership with Children’s Advil, but the opinions are our own.