As your little one transitions from being a baby to being a toddler, it can be an exciting yet confusing change. We as parents always want to be prepared, so you might not be sure what to bring along when you go out now. Does my toddler need fewer items when we go out now? Do we need to pack an entire wardrobe, pump and sleeping supplies? The answer is probably not. Usually, if you’re going out for a bit during the day with your newly minted toddler, you can start to pare down what’s in your diaper bag and save your back. Here are a few toddler diaper bag essentials you should still include in your bag.
1. Changing Supplies
If your little one isn’t toilet trained yet or they still are having accidents, you’ll want to continue to carry diapers, pull-ups or even a spare set of underwear for older toddlers. You might also want to carry along diaper cream, though, it is not necessary if your child doesn’t get much diaper rash.
Another wonderful thing that you can clip on your bag is a set of diaper disposal bags. These can be crucial to keep on-hand since they are multi-use. Yes, you can use them to discreetly toss stinky diapers and pull-ups, but you can also use them for dirty items you need to take with you. So, if your toddler has an accident, you have a scented bag on-hand to put those items in. No one wants to keep soiled items in just their diaper bag or on the floor of their car. These bags are great for keeping messes contained. They can also be used for dirty toys, shoes, garbage and more.
One item you won’t want to take out of your diaper bag or maybe even your purse is baby wipes. Even when your children are past the toddler phase, you can always use baby wipes. They’re great for cleaning up emergency messes, cleaning stickiness off hands and other objects, removing makeup and more. So, this might be one of the very last items you take out of your bag.
2. Change of Clothes
Even after a baby becomes a toddler, unfortunately, messes still happen! Splashing in the water table at the children’s museum, playing in the mud at the park or having a potty accident? All of these things and more are possibilities even for toddlers. If you’re potty training, you’ll especially want to make sure you’re taking along a spare change of clothes or two when you leave your home. Make sure you still carry a shirt, pants, socks and maybe even a pair of shoes. (You can carry the shoes elsewhere, but it might be good to have them close at hand when you go out.) Switch these items out for every season so your child is warm or cool depending on the time of the year. Wet, cold and messy toddlers are not happy ones.
3. Swaddle Blankets
Even if you have a toddler, you might just want to hang on to your favorite swaddle blanket and keep it in your diaper bag. There are so many uses besides swaddling–which you don’t typically do with toddlers. You can use muslin baby blankets for:
- A makeshift changing station
- A travel play mat
- Cleaning up a mess
- Helping your toddler nap more comfortably
It’s a very versatile item that might be one of the last things you eventually remove from your diaper bag.
4. Snacks and Feeding Supplies
You will also want to consider keeping toddler-appropriate snacks in your bag. No one wants a hungry toddler. So, having a few of their favorite non-perishable snacks on hand can be super helpful. If they’re still breastfeeding or drinking milk, you might want to carry along a small container of shelf-stable milk or breastfeeding supplies. Things like a sippy cup or a small breast pump might occasionally need to be in your bag. In addition, a baby bib can also be super helpful to carry along with you and can help you avoid needing a spare outfit for your little one.
5. Entertainment for Your Toddler
Let’s face it, toddlers can get fussy and bored easily. So, make sure you still have some items for entertainment with you. Things like a small board book, a plush toy, puppets or a teething ring can all be helpful in a pinch. Just make sure the toys are not choking hazards. In addition, only let your little one play with the toys in your toddler diaper bag when you’re out and about. This will make the toys more exciting and will keep your little’s attention much longer.
Bonus Tip: Utilize Your Car or Stroller
Literally take the weight off your back by keeping spare items in your car or stroller basket instead of your diaper bag. Things like non-perishable snacks, a spare sippee cup and a change of clothes can all be good options for this location. Spare clothes can be bulky, so keep them out of your diaper bag if they’re taking up too much space. If you usually take your car with you when you go out, this can be a great option. To keep items organized, you can get small plastic zipper bags in varying sizes to keep spare items clean and sorted. Some people even use a label maker to put labels on each bag. This is good for grabbing things quickly, will keep everything clean, and won’t let loose items take over your car.
Ultimately one of the biggest and best ways to eliminate bulky items in your diaper bag is potty training your toddler. Once that’s done, you won’t have to carry bulky diapers, and you might even be able to get away with not carrying changes of clothes–once they’re no longer having accidents. No matter what stage your baby is enjoying, make sure to savor the memories.
Transitioning from the baby phase to the toddler phase is a very exciting time! Your little one is becoming more independent each day and needs a lot less stuff. So, take time to sit down, go through your diaper bag essentials, and pare it down with this list in hand. Replace old items and take out items your little one no longer needs. Also, remember to soak up every minute with your little one. Before you know it, they won’t need you to be carrying a diaper bag anymore.