3 pushchairs with changing bags

The changing bag checklist for new Mums

Just like a woman’s handbag, a baby’s changing bag can be a mystical thing. You see them all the time, hanging from pushchairs, slung over Mum’s shoulders or strapped to their backs and it makes you wonder – what exactly is in there, and does a baby really need that much stuff?

When you’re a first time parent, or parent to be, the changing bag can be a bit of a daunting thing to work out. Rather than packing the whole house up every time you go out, how can you make sure that you have everything you and your baby need for a day away from your creature comforts? How can you make sure you pack enough of each item, and how do you know which items to take?

Well you’ve come to the right place, because I’m going to give you a little peek into what’s in my changing bag, and let you see just what it is that gets us through a day away from the house.

The changing bag

Before we get into what’s in the changing bag, let’s take look at what my changing bag looks like. When I was looking at what to buy, I knew that I really wanted something practical, but also something that looked nice and didn’t cost a fortune. Everything I’d seen seemed to cost so much money, and I just couldn’t afford to spend much at all. After having a long browse on Amazon I finally settled on a pretty giraffe themed bag.

A changing bag with a giraffe on it
Click above to buy

It was only £10, which is a real bargain, and after using it every day for 18 months, it’s holding up surprisingly well. One of the things I love about it is that it has a lot of pockets, which are so handy. It also has bottle holders, a changing mat and even a bag for putting wet clothes/dirty nappies in. After using it for so long, I have to say that it was one of my best baby buys.

If you’re a bit stuck looking for a bag for yourself and need some inspiration, you can click on the photo above to have a look at the one I chose on Amazon. I’d definitly recommend it, especially if you’re on a budget.

Room for everything

Now onto the contents of my changing bag. I tend to carry a lot of stuff around with me when I’m out, and my changing bag has actually started to become an extended handbag now! The contents of my changing bag haven’t actually changed that much in the last 18 months, though I do carry a little bit less with me now. I obviously carry the essentials, but I also pop in some extra ‘just in case’ items too.

I’ve found that we’ve never run out of anything (apart from the time Aeron forgot to top the nappies up, but we won’t go there…)

The essentials

The essentials are the things that we take with us EVERY time we go out. They’re the things that I couldn’t be without whether we’re out doing some shopping, visiting family, or enjoying a trip to the beach.

Nappies

Don’t forget to pack the nappies! When we go out for the day, I usually take about 6 with us, which I think is more than enough. We’ve stuck to that number since Cupar was born and I’ve found that we’ve very rarely needed any more. Nappies fit really nicely in this changing bag when they’re placed side by side at one end. I’m a very organised person, and I like my changing bag to look neat and tidy so that I can find things easily when I need them.

Wipes

Baby wipes are an essential that I have in my changing bag at all times. They’re so handy, even for the most unusual of circumstances, and I definitly wouldn’t be without them. I keep one packet in the bag, and when it starts to get a bit low, I’ll swap it out for a new one and use the old one at home, that way I know I won’t run out.

Muslins

I always try to keep at least one muslin in my changing bag. We don’t use them as much as we used to, but they are still one of my essentials. They’re great if Cupar has a cold, if he gets covered in food (as he often does), or if you need to cover up when you’re breastfeeding.

A change of clothes

I always make sure I have a full change of clothes when we go out as you never know when you’ll need them. I’ll pack a onesie, trousers and a t shirt, a jumper and some socks. Younger babies tend to throw up or have poo explosions, and the older ones tend to get into everything. Eating, walking, crawling or going out in the garden with grandad when it’s wet and muddy can get them very messy very quickly, so a change of clothes is a must.

Changing bag contents for a checklist

A changing mat

A lot of changing rooms offer changing mats for babies, but if like me, you want to use your own, you can pick one up quite easily. You can buy small ones that fold down for traveling which makes them the perfect size to pop in the changing bag.

Bottles or cups

The bag I use has a pocket on each side for bottles/cups which is great. Bottles are obviously an essential if you’re bottle feeding, and cups are a must once babies are older and start drinking things other than milk. I’ve forgotten to pack Cupar’s cup a couple of times and I’ve found that it can get quite expensive when you’re having to buy bottles of water or juice when you’re out and about.

Food/snacks

Now that Cupar’s older, I always take some sort of food or snack out with us. I usually take a jar or pouch of baby foord, some crisps or wafers for toddlers and some fruit or veg sticks. It helps to know that I have food I can give him if we get held up and can’t stop for lunch at our usual time.

Entertainment

Entertainment is a must if you’re going to be out for a while or if you have a toddler that doesn’t like to sit still for too long. Being stuck in the pushchair can get boring quickly, so I always make sure I take at least a couple of things for Cupar to play with.

Books

I always take a couple of small books out with us, especialy if we’re running some errands and can’t stop for a while. Cupar is quite happy to sit in his pushchair and read a book, and it keeps him entertained for at least 20 minutes. Buggy books are my favourite at the moment because they’re small, they clip onto the pushchair and Cupar can’t throw them on the floor when he’s had enough of them!

Toys

I like to take a couple of Cupar’s smaller toys out with us so that he has something to play with, especially if we’re going to be out for a long time or going somewhere like the doctors or dentist where it’s likely we’ll be waiting for a while. He’s got a few favourite toys which always make him smile, so I make sure I pack them.

Phone

I don’t use it very much, but I have found a phone to be very handy at times to keep Cupar entertained. We’ve had a couple of near meltdown moments that were saved by putting a game on and distracting him for a little while. One time was when I was trying to change his nappy and he really didn’t want to stay still, and the other time was in a restaurant when the food was taking a LONG time to arrive and he was getting bored and restless. Sometimes you can deal with a tantrum, and sometimes you just really can’t.

Mum essentials

After all the baby essentials are taken care of, there’s a little bit of room left in the changing bag for some Mum essentials for me.

A look inside a changing bag

Change of top

We pack our babies a change of clothes, so why not pack ourselves one too? Out of everything I wear, my top is the thing that seems to get the most dirt on it. With Cupar’s sticky fingers, snotty nose and spoon full of food flying through the air, I sometimes look like I haven’t changed my top in weeks. I don’t usually worry too much about how I look, but sometimes it is nice to know that you have something else you can change into if need be.

Phone charger and battery

I take a LOT of photos when I’m out and about with Cupar, and I also used to track sleep and feeding times on an app, so it helps to know that I can always charge my phone wherever I am. I only discovered portable batteries recently, but I wouldnt be without one now.

Drinks

Cupar has never been bottle fed, so I’ve always used the bottle pouches on the changing bag for my own drinks. I’ve found that they’re big enough to hold a 500ml bottle of drink quite easily, and they don’t weigh the bag down too much when they’re full. I always have a drink with me, so it’s nice to know that I don’t have to try and squeeze one into my VERY tiny handbag anymore.

Maternity/normal pads

This was an essential in the first few months when Cupar was a newborn. I would say, ALWAYS keep a stock of them in your changing bag, because you never know when you’ll need them, especially when you’re still dealing with postpartum bleeding or waiting for your period to come back.

Leaflets/guidebooks

When I’m out and about, I tend to pick up interesting leaflets for days out, things to do and events that are on in my area. I’ve always got a little stash of them in my changing bag, and I find its really helpful to look through them if I’m stuck for something to do.

What’s in your bag?

I think I’ve got the balance of items just about right in my changing bag. I find that we always have everything we need, apart from the odd occasion that we’ve forgotten to put something in. The bag I use is surprisingly roomy and it’s lasted really well even though some days it’s filled to the brim!

What do you keep in your changing bag that you just couldn’t live without? Let me know in the comments what your essentials are.

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