The nappy bag essentials for every mum

Emmy Samtani

Emmy Samtani

Emmy is the founder of Kiindred and mother to 3 little ones. Over the last 4 years, she has worked with some of the most credible experts in the parenting space and is a keen contributor on all things parenthood.
Updated on Jun 14, 2024 · 5 mins read
The nappy bag essentials for every mum

Motherhood is certainly a busy time, with its never-ending cycle of feeding, sleep and play. At times you might find that it’s an achievement in itself, just to get out the door.

In those early (sleep-deprived) days, it’s possible that there will be times where good old baby brain kicks in and you leave something crucial behind.

Now, pray that item isn’t the wipes. How on earth can anyone survive without nappy wipes? I’m 3 babies down and can’t imagine life without those things!

Over the course of the years and babies, I’ve learnt a thing or two and managed to fine-tune the list of nappy bag items that make it out the door. This wasn’t always the case though… I was definitely that mum that needed the designer nappy bag with it’s fancy pockets and a gazillion accessories. Nowadays, I’ve got the list down pat and am a throw it all into your tote kinda gal.

My ‘nappy bag top 5’, considers your babies needs whether it’s feeding, sleep, play, change or your own mama needs. Once you remember to keep these 5 things in mind, it makes packing the essentials much easier.


1. Feeding

If breastfeeding:

  • Bib or Burp cloth – for cleaning up little milk spills
  • Breastfeeding Cover or Wrap – if you are less comfortable feeding in public.

If bottle feeding:

  • Bottle/s – depending on the amount of time you are going to be away
    A formula container – this will ensure you have the appropriate measurements ready to go.

For older babies/toddlers; you will need a sippy cup, snacks and wipes for little hands and faces.

2. Sleep

  • Age appropriate comforter i.e dummy, blankie, favourite toy
  • Weather appropriate wrap or blanket

If you are travelling or need to have bigger naps out and about, portable white noise machines are often handy

3. Play

  • A blanket or Wrap – I usually double up and use the same wrap or blanket used for feeding and blanket for baby
  • Toys – dependant on the age of your baby, this could be as simple as a sensory/development pram toy or rattle
  • Sunscreen & Hat – if you are planning to be playing outdoors
  • First Aid Kit – this can be a simple little pouch with band-aids, tissues, pain relief & antiseptic cream (for older babies/toddlers)

→ For older babies / toddlers; pack their favourite toy, books, crayons and colouring book will be more than enough to keep them entertained! Be sure to consider the purpose of the entertainment i.e are you going to a restaurant? In this case colouring in is a better choice over a loud and stimulating toy

4. Change

  • Nappies – take at least 3, as you never know when you encounter an explosion or accidentally pull a tab off
  • Wipes – you can get travel-sized packs and handy carriers, to avoid taking out something big and bulky
  • Nappy rash cream – for keeping little bottoms comfortable
  • Disposable nappy bags – these take up minimal space and will come in handy for any additional rubbish
  • Changing mat – this comes in handy whether you need to do a public changing area, car boot, pram or even park nappy change
  • A simple change of clothes – you just never know when you are going to encounter that poo explosion

5. For you

Each mama’s needs will be different but I always found it helpful to keep my items to a bare minimum i.e purse, keys, sunglasses, lip balm and most importantly a water bottle! I put all of my items into a pouch, so that I could easily throw it into my nappy bag or tote.

This is extremely helpful in the early days, as you don’t want to be carrying around and rummaging through multiple bags. It also makes it easy to whip everything out when you need it, especially for those coffee stops.

How to choose the best nappy bag for you

There are literally thousands of nappy bags on the market, and it’s often hard to understand which is the best choice for you. Here are a few things to look out for.

1. Compartments

Having a certain space for a particular item can be a saviour in the early days of multitasking. Easy access is vital and will make life much less chaotic for you and baby. Now this doesn’t necessarily mean you need the bag with a million compartments, but it is helpful to have a few sections rather than one big open tote.

If you plan on using an existing bag in your collection, we love The Nappy Society bag inserts as it can easily be transferred from bag to bag and provides just enough compartments for your essentials.

2. Waterproof interior

The possibility of a leaking bottle only increases when have children. This is why it’s important to ensure any bag you purchase has an element of waterproof interior. Try resealable snack bags for anything that has the potential to cause mess.

3. Practicality

Even though that beige suede tote that you love is tempting, it may not be a good option for life as a hardworking nappy bag. You want your nappy bag to wear well on the exterior and interior. Remember, it likely to be plonked and dragged around many different surfaces in its lifetime – think wet playground, wood chipped parks, and in the middle of a dirty sidewalk. Having a bag with adjustable straps will ensure your partner can take turns in carrying it too!

The spare bag tip

It is a good idea to always have a bag in the car that is ready to go with all your essentials, somewhat like a backup bag. Essential items to include are:

  • Nappies
  • Baby wipes
  • A few plastic bags for soiled nappies
  • A full change of clothes
  • Bottles / Formula if bottle feeding
  • Bibs
  • Baby thermometer
  • Spare Wrap / Blanket

The trick is to remember to replace anything you use as soon as you get home, so you are never left without something you really need.

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