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10 Diaper Bag Essentials for the Busy, Multitasking Parent

Turns out, a lot of word-problem practice in school was prep for parenting: If I have three diapers, one change of clothes, and one pouch, how long can I be out with my baby? It’s no secret that packing a diaper bag can feel calculus complicated. It’s hard to know what’s a necessity and what’s nice to have — until you’re hours away from home with a dwindling supply of diapers. The good news: While there’s some trial and error, having a go-to list of essentials (and regularly checking and restocking your bag before you hit the road) can help you have a diaper bag that’s ready for anything, no mental math required. Here, is a list of what to make sure you have in your bag before leaving the house.

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The namesake of the bag, you likely won’t leave home without them. But how many do you need? A good rule of thumb is to start with three, minimum, and then add an additional diaper for every hour you anticipate being out of the house. And don’t forget those disposable diaper wipes to go along with them!

Items to sanitize

Sanitizing wipes and hand sanitizer are fundamental for those on-the-go changing moments to make sure you’re keeping baby and the areas touched clean! Even when baby doesn’t need a change, it’s helpful to keep wipes and sanitizer handy so you can make sure germs are kept away while doing things like handling food or giving baby a pacifier.

Lightweight blanket

A lightweight blanket serves so many purposes: Playmat at the park, barrier on a public changing table, a cover while feeding or an extra layer on the stroller when the temperature drops. 

CeraVe® Baby Moisturizing Lotion or Moisturizing Cream

Babies have a thinner outer layer of skin than adults do, which can make them more susceptible to environmental irritants. That’s why you may notice some skin irritation after an adventure outside with your baby. A regular moisturizing routine — including touch-ups on the go — can help protect the skin barrier. Paraben-free and fragrance-free, CeraVe® Baby Moisturizing Lotion is gentle enough for multiple applications on babies and toddlers for all-day hydration — and can also work well on your own skin, too. Plus, they’re formulated with three essential ceramides to help maintain their skin barrier and have been developed with pediatric dermatologists, so you know they are safe for their delicate skin!

Baby Moisturizing Lotion

The CeraVe® Baby Moisturizing Cream is another great product to have on hand for your baby as it’s gentle for little one and can also work well on your own skin, too. A thicker formula than the Baby Moisturizing Lotion, this cushiony, hydrating formula contains three essential ceramides to help maintain their skin barrier and has been developed with pediatric dermatologists, so you know it’s safe for their delicate skin!

CeraVe Baby Cream

Change of clothes

At least one new outfit is a must, but babies who frequently spit up or toddlers who are just getting the hang of potty training may require two backup outfits. And while you’re packing for them, pack a just-in-case shirt for you, too. Because as any parent knows, the only thing you can depend on when you’re out with your littles is a mess or two. A lightweight cardigan (for both of you) can also be a great tool in changing temps, or when the grocery store A/C feels a little too arctic. 

A toy or book

A small toy or book can help you keep your child entertained. It can be helpful to have a few toys that live in the diaper bag, so it’s exciting and novel for them to explore. 


Whether it’s to mix formula or for toddler water breaks, make sure you have enough water for you and your kids. Packing reusable water bottles can also allow you to fill up on the go.

Backup food

Whether it’s a container of powdered formula, snack pouches, or a spill-proof container of snacks, make sure you have your baby or toddler’s foods at the ready — even if you’re not planning on being gone for long. It can also be a good idea to have some snacks for you as well. Trail mix, dried fruit, or granola bars can live in your diaper bag for true hangry emergencies — like the forty-five minute wait at the pediatrician’s office.

Plastic bags

A plastic bag can be a lifesaver to pack up dirty clothes or separate any items in your diaper bag you want to take out before you use it again. It can also be a good idea to pack in your diaper bag so anything that has the potential to leak or spill is separated from the rest of the gear in your diaper bag.

Extra skincare must-haves

When baby needs a diaper change or has extra dry skin, keeping CeraVe® Baby Healing Ointment on-hand is a must to soothe sensitive or raw skin. If you’re planning to spend any time outside, be sure to carry sunscreen with SPF and reapply as directed, so skin is protected from harmful UVA and UVB rays. A hat and sunglasses are always great add-ons for more sun-shielding! And for those longer trips, overnight stays, or days when an unexpected bath is needed, pack a gentle wash for baby, like the reformulated CeraVe® Baby Wash & Shampoo, now with Vitamin E. This tear-free formula is designed for both newborns and babies, is free of parabens, phthalates, fragrance, and dyes, and holds the National Eczema Association’s Seal of Acceptance.

This article was created by SheKnows for CeraVe®. 

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