Parenthood is certainly a busy time. With its never ending cycle of feeding, sleep and play, getting out the door might feel like an achievement in itself. 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 did we ever survive without baby wipes?
Professional Organiser, Anita Birges from mise en place says that it’s important to set up practical systems early on and give everything a home – this includes your nappy bag. By doing this, you won’t waste any precious time rummaging around for things if they are already in place. Did you know that we can spend up to at least 10 minutes a day looking for things in our handbag? Who has time for that!
In those first months you will be getting outdoors more than ever before. Whether this is because you are going stir crazy at home or you want your baby to explore the big wide world with you. Your pram with likely become your ultimate accessory and your nappy bag its trusty companion.
Let’s talk nappy bags
Gone are the days where nappy bags were huge and hideous. Thankfully brands have caught up with the fact that we don’t need to lug around ‘everything bar the kitchen sink’. They have now designed them to look sleeker and more stylish, while retaining those very practical compartments. Nappy Bags are great because it means everything has a home, which not only makes it easier when diving into it one handed (mid-feed or poo explosion), but it will also make it much easier to replenish once home.
Anita suggests getting into the habit of replenishing your nappy bag after every outing. This way you save precious time when it comes to preparing for your next outing. Simply feed your baby and get out that door as soon as you can, making the most of your ‘window of opportunity’.
The Nappy Bag Essentials
By categorising the things you will need, it will make it so much easier to pack and replenish each day.
Nappies. The amount of nappies you will need will be dependant on the amount of time you are planning to head out for. We suggest taking at least 3 with you if heading out for a quick trip i.e in between feeds. You just never know when you encounter a poo explosion or accidentally pull a tab off one of them.
*Disposable nappy bags are super handy for dirty nappies and rubbish when out and about. Try to source eco-friendly (biodegradable) options where possible
Wipes. Like nappies, the amount of wipes you will need will be dependant on the time you intend on being out for. Whilst you can get travel-sized packs or a reusable dispenser, you will likely end up resorting to that full pack once you realise that wipes can fix almost anything!
Change Mat. Check that your nappy bag doesn’t already come with one before heading out to purchase one of these. Most good nappy bags will come with a matching change map. Remember to clean it once you get home, so that it is ready to go for your next outing.
Nappy Cream. Little bums can get red within one nappy change! Be sure to take along your nappy cream to soothe after each change because nobody wants an uncomfortable and irritated baby.
Hand Sanitiser. Your awareness of hygiene will become much more heightened the minute you become a parent. You will start to pay attention to every little thing you touch – especially after a nappy change. Thankfully there are some nice, gentle options now available.
Bib or washcloth. These are great for quickly cleaning up little milk spills. They are much more gentle on little faces than using a wet wipe.
Wrap/Swaddle. This is a must-have product to carry around because of its many uses. If you are breastfeeding and want more privacy, a sheer wrap can be easily slung over your shoulder. It is also good for wrapping your baby to quieten them for sleep or even shading them if needed. The options are (almost) endless.
Bottles. If you are bottle-feeding or mix feeding, you will need to prepare the correct amount of bottles before you head out. Again, this will depend on the length of time you are out and amount of feeds your baby is currently having. Have the correct amount of cooled, boiled water in each one and either use a travel bottle warmer or the cafe / changing room facilities.
A formula container. These are such a handy little thing to have! A formula container will allow you to measure out each bottle with the correct measurements and has a handy little spout on top for easily filling bottles on the go.
Comforter. Whether this comes in the form or a dummy, blankie or favourite toy, they can be handy for getting your little one to sleep while out and about. Anita suggests using a comforter toy that has eyes, as it’s great for helping your little one to sleep. Keep dummies in a little pouch and always have back up. You will be surprised how easily they find themselves on the ground.
Blanket or wrap. It is a good idea to keep a weather-appropriate pram blanket in the bottom of your pram at all times. You just never know when you might need to add layers. Plus your pram blanket will come in handy for play dates or lying in the park.
Accessories kit. Make up a little accessories kit for things specific to your little one’s needs. For example, this might be their dummies, teething gel or any medicines they need to take.
Change of clothes. A baby can make a lot of mess for such a tiny human! Whether it is from a leaking nappy, spilled milk, water bottle leakage or just rolling around on the ground having fun. A change of clothes is completely necessary (perhaps for you too!)
5. For Mum
Whilst everyone’s needs will be different, try to keep these items to the bare minimum. You aren’t going to have time to keep track of a handbag or worry about personal items being lost – you’ll have enough on your hands.
It’s a good idea to get yourself a basic little pouch that will double as a wallet and be able to fit the essentials below. This makes it easy to get in and out when needed and won’t mean lugging around a handbag as well as a nappy bag. You are likely going to want to dive in and grab that pouch when a coffee stop presents itself.
Purse, Keys & Phone. Whilst we are pretty sure these are a given, try to get into the habit each day of checking off your ‘essentials’. Sleep deprivation can damage your short-term memory and nobody wants to get locked out of the house without their keys.
Sunglasses. Chance are you are going to be spending a lot more time outdoors than you ever have. Sun protection is something that is often forgotten when you are busy looking after someone else. Try to make a habit of wearing sunglasses and throw in that hat and sunscreen.
Lip Balm & Water Bottle. Dehydration will be something that you become all too familiar with. Whether this is from a lack of sleep, not drinking enough water or breastfeeding – all of these things can result in dry lips, a headache or worse. Try to keep hydrated throughout the day and apply lanolin to your lips when needed.
So even though that beige tote that you love is tempting, it may not be a good option for life as a hardworking nappy bag. You will need it to wear well and be easy to wipe down – internally and externally! Thankfully most come with a change mat as well, where you can do the same.
Remember, your bag will likely 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.
Refresh your bag once you get home
Once you get home, get into the habit of restocking the bag with what you have used i.e the nappies, change of clothes. Refreshing your nappy bag with the essentials will mean that you aren’t wasting precious time (likely in between feeds) restocking the bag. Instead you will be able to grab the bag and your pram and head out to enjoy some fresh air and likely a much needed coffee.