Written by: Yaffa Koff

I have new moms and dads in the studio all the time and they’re constantly asking me about baby products, baby advice, and what are the things they NEED in order to get through those early stages of parenting. So I decided, why not start writing up some blog posts to let everyone in on some helpful tips. As a mom of 4, I have a little experience in the world of parenting (wink, wink) and I’ve also asked lots of other moms for their opinions to help round out this post. I’ve also made things really easy by posting links for all items mentioned below. These items are in no way endorsed or sponsored by the companies that produce them, they’re just what I (and lots of other moms out there) really love!

So, whether you live near me in Silver Spring, Maryland, or an a city close by like Baltimore or Washington, DC, or even far, far away like New York or even California, this post is for you!

Here is the list of the top 10 MUST have items to pack in your diaper bag!

    1. Diapers:
      Now this might seem like a “DUH!” kind of item, but you’d be surprised how many times I’ve been out and about and realized that I’m totally out of diapers and forgot to restock. Those are definitely NOT some of my finer “mom” moments, lol! Now, the question still remains about what kind of diapers should you pack? I am personally a HUGE Pampers snob! I find that the diapers don’t leak and that it helps minimize baby rash. That being said, they are probably one of the most expensive diapers on the market. So in the interest of giving you a cost effective choice, I’ve went with the diaper that so many moms use which is Target Brand diapers.
    2. Wipes:
      Wipes are one of the most handy things you could ever back in a diaper bag. Not only are they needed for wiping your baby’s little tush when changing diapers, they are useful for so much more! They’re amazing for wiping dirty little faces that are covered in baby food, spit-up and runny noses. They are perfect for wiping a dirty spot on your clothes when you realized your baby just spit-up, peed, or even pooped all over you(ew!). They are perfect for wiping down the shopping cart before you place your baby in the seat, or the highchair at the restaurant when you go out to eat. They even come in handy as a makeup remover when you realize that you rubbed mascara all over your face because you’re just so very tired! Now for wipes I love using Pampers Sensitive Wipes when my babies are little. These wipes are soft, gentle and super loaded with moisture! When my babies get a little older, I switch over to Kirkland Signature Baby Wipes which are found exclusively at Costco. These wipes are excellent! They have plenty of moisture, come in self closing packs and are very economical for the price. Which now leads us into the next item all moms need in their diaper bag…
    3. Wipes Holder:
      Now you might say to me, Yaffa, why in the world do I need a wipes holder when I can just throw a full package of wipes into my bag and call it a day? I’ll tell you why. By the time you fill your bag with all the things you need, you’re going to find your shoulder is killing you from all the weight! By taking a wipes holder you’re minimizing the amount of stuff in your bag and your back and shoulders will thank you for it! Here’s a wipes holder that has great reviews, but in a pinch a Ziplock freezer bag will do just as well!
    4. Pacifier:
      Oh boy! I know I’m getting myself into trouble by putting this one on my list and entering the great “pacifier debate!” Well, let me tell you from my personal experience, I’ve breastfed all 4 of my kiddos and they all started with a pacifier from day 1. They never had an issue with nipple confusion, so I honestly think the whole thing is a joke! Now, I know I might offend some people with my strong opinions, but when it’s the middle of the night and baby won’t stop crying and it’s not because she’s hungry, that pacifier sure does come in handy! I’m a  big, big fan of the Nuk pacifier. They come in all different colors and patterns, have sizes that change as your baby grows and of course are BPA free. Now I don’t joke around when  it comes to pacifiers. The second my baby is born and I find out the gender (yes, I like to keep it a surprise!) I send my husband running to the closet pharmacy to get me a new Nuk. I do not like the ones that the hospital gives out, but that again is a personal preference. It’s always smart to keep an extra  pacifier in your bag, cuz those wonderfully pesky things have a way of disappearing just when you need it most!
    5. Nursing cover:
      Ok, now I just found out about this genius cover that triples as a nursing cover, receiving blanket and a swaddle! I’m super excited about this product and think that any product that has multiple uses is just fantastic! Baby Noomie is run by 3 moms, who just like us wanted their babies to have the best quality items that were out there. Now when you’re out and about you can feed your baby with a little privacy and then swaddle them up for a nap when you’re all done! How cool is that?!?
    6. Change of Clothing:
      Time for a reality check, if you think you’re gonna make it through an entire day without having to change your baby’s outfit, think again! Whether it’s from pee, poop, spit-up or drool, babies tend to go through several outfits in a day. Make sure to pack at least one if not two outfit changes. (It’s happened where I’ve been out and about and had to run into a local store to buy an outfit for my baby since I forgot to pack a backup! oy!) If you want to be really smart, you might even think to pack a backup top for yourself (like one of those compact, wrinkle free t-shirts) cuz’ you just never know what the baby will do to you! lol! Also make sure you pack extra nursing pads, cuz those tend to get gross really fast!
    7. Water bottles:
      I wrote “bottles” as a plural for a reason. As a new mom or dad who is exhausted ALL THE TIME it’s important to stay hydrated. So if you have a pack of disposable water bottles in your house make sure to grab one as you head out the door to pop in your bag. If you are the more eco friendly type, and want a reusable water bottle, this is a great option. I’ve also linked a separate blog post for those looking to compare different types of water bottles.  Now the second water bottle you need to pack is a baby bottle filled with sterilized water for your baby. It’s important for both bottle feeding and non-bottle feeding moms to pack this, especially in the Summer months when babies need extra hydration.
    8. Formula:
      For all moms who bottle feed this is a necessity! There are these wonderful formula holders that hold pre-measured amounts of formula and you just pour it into your pre-filled baby bottle and your good to go! You can find the link here. Now I know, this is another touchy subject, but let’s withhold judgement for all moms to decide for themselves. Though I breastfeed my babies I’m not above using formula in a pinch. Picture this, you’re in a store with all your kiddos, they’re jumping around like monkeys and the baby starts screaming and nothing will help because she’s hungry. Now you have 2 options at this point a) gather all your kids into the Target dressing room and hope and pray they don’t destroy everything in site, or… b) pop some emergency formula into that handy water filled baby bottle and suddenly peace will reign!
    9. Snack:
      Now we all know that tired parents need food to fuel them throughout the long days as well as water. So grab an energy bar or two and throw them in your bag and then thank me later! My favorite are the Kind Bars and the best part is that they come in all different flavors. If your baby is up to the stages of baby food or real food you’re going to want to make sure that you have plenty of extra snacks for them as well! My favorite thing to pack are Unsweetened Applesauce Pouches, since they work for children of all ages and are loved by all!
    10. Mini First Aid Pouch:
      Now I make my own little kit (aka a ziplock bag) with all the basic essentials, but it’s also a good idea to keep a larger premade kit in places like your car. For your diaper bag make sure you have essentials like bandaids, anti-septic wipes, baby Tylenol, baby Benadryl, and of course Tylenol or Advil for yourself (you never know when that exhaustion headache might hit!) It’s important to note that all medication be kept in a secure place that baby can’t get into and always remember to call Poison Control (800) 222-1222 if, God forbid, a situation ever does arise.

Now I’d love to hear from you, what are your diaper bag essentials? Let me know, by commenting below if you have something that must go on this list!

Yaffa Koff is a Certified APNPI Newborn through the first year Photographer located in Silver Spring, Maryland. She loves spending time with her husband and 4 kiddos as well as snuggling all the cute little babies that come into her studio! Yaffa’s goal is to help new parents capture their babies precious first moments with beautiful portraits to help them remember this precious first stage for a lifetime.

See more of Yaffa Koff at http://www.yaffakoffphotography.com