Sharanya Misra

A baby bag is ESSENTIAL for anyone accompanying a child. It is a magic bag that contains everything you could possibly need to put your child at ease! 
(This post is part of my Mommy Moments series.)

 

It was right after I came home from the hospital, with a brand new baby in tow, that I first realised how essential a baby bag(or diaper bag) is, for all new parents! All through my pregnancy I kept reading of how important it was to keep my hospital bag ready. Little did I know, the baby bag was just as important! Time and again after my baby’s birth did we have to return to the doctor for check ups and vaccinations. And I understood. This was how life was to be here on, with a bulky bag as our constant companion!

 

Ever since, this bag has been by our side everywhere we go. Be it when I travelled 1.5 hrs by train with my 8 mo everyday to drop her off at day care and head to my office. Or now when as a 20 mo she comes along on family trips and drives. Or even if I have to run down somewhere close by with my little one. A baby bag is ESSENTIAL for anyone accompanying a child. It is a magic bag that contains everything you could possibly need to put your child at ease!

 

While in the beginning getting the bag ready used to seem like a daunting affair, over time it has become easier and easier to tick things off my mental checklist. Below is a complete list of what I, and you must too, have in a baby bag to make lives easy! Keep reading to also know some common tips and tricks I keep up my sleeve while getting the bag ready.

 

1.DIAPERS
This is IMPORTANT, especially if your child is not potty trained. And even if he/she is, I would still recommend carrying diapers when travelling with young toddlers because a new environment could distract them from their potty training leading to accidents. Calculate how many diapers your child uses up in a day and stock up accordingly. I always carry more, not less!

 

2.WET WIPES
Or whatever other method of cleaning that you use for your child. When my child had diaper rashes, I completely went off wipes and carried rolls of cotton and a spray bottle of water everywhere.

 

3.CHANGING MAT
Changing surfaces are not always spick and span. Changing your child’s diaper or cleaning them up in a strange bathroom/changing room can be very difficult if you have serious trust issues and can never be satisfied with the level of hygiene outside (yup, that’s me). Carrying your own diaper mat can help put your mind at ease while laying your child down.

 

4.MILK / FEEDING ESSENTIALS
While more significant for younger babies, I have found that carrying milk for my toddler too helps calm her down on trips. For babies that are formula fed, or for breastfed babies that are used to formula as an alternative, don’t forget to keep your bottles and stashes of formula (and warm water if in powder form). If you breastfeed your child and use a feeding shawl, don’t forget to keep that as well. For older kids who do not consume animal milk, any drink that comforts them could be a good alternative!

 

5.WATER
This is essential for older babies (>6 months) and toddlers especially if you give them boiled water, or avoid outside water. Make sure to carry your child’s favourite bottle or sipper if any. It is best to avoid experimenting with their likes or dislikes when outside their comfort zone. If this water is also to be used to prepare your child’s formula, make sure to warm it up and carry it along in a flask.

 

6.FOOD
For younger babies, it is important to carry well- thought of meals as they cannot eat things readily available outside. Make sure to pack pureed/mashed foods/snacks that they have already tried at home. Don’t forget to pack some extra spoons, cups and plates too. For the older kids, carry their fabourite snacks like fruits or cup cakes or chocolates. Remember to think as healthy as you can!

 

7.MEDICINES(& MEDICAL RECORDS)
For any long distance trips, I make sure to carry my child’s medical records such as vaccinations. Else, a simple bag of essential medicines suffices. I carry a paracetamol such as pediatric crocin or calpol, a diaper rash cream, some basic lotion/skin cream like sudocrem, and colid aid (for when she was younger). As your child grows and you observe the problems they commonly struggle with, you can add or remove from the bag as needed. Some other common meds could be for stomach problems, or to avoid motion sickness. For longer trips, don’t forget to carry their vitamins and other supplements, nail clippers and nasal extractor.

 

8.CHANGE OF CLOTHES & OTHER ESSENTIALS
I have sometimes had to change my daughter into 3 sets of clothes on the same day! So I truly believe you can never have too many clothes in your bag for your child! Carry extra clothes (couple of pairs). Make sure these are comfy ones, don’t try something new. Also remember to carry clean towels/napkins and accessories like gloves, hats, socks etc, depending on the weather. If you are carrying food, make sure to carry bibs too!

 

9.TOYS
ALWAYS carry your child’s favourite toys/distractions with you. If your child is allowed screen time, maybe make sure you can access his/her favourite videos in offline mode as well, just in case.

 

10.BLANKET
Because these tiny heads could fall asleep anytime, anywhere, and they expect the utmost home like comfort.

 

11.PLASTIC/DISPOSABLE BAGS
To throw away(/stash in a corner of the bag )dirty diapers, used wet wipes, soiled clothes etc.

 

Now, for some Tips and Tricks!!
A baby bag would be useful for quite a number of your child’s early years. So it makes sense to optimise the process of packing!

 

1.MAKE IT PERMANENT
Because you will need this bag every now and then, keep it aside specifically for this purpose. Keep its contents constant, and try not to use it for other personal errands as it can lead to lots of confusion. Finding yourself in the middle of nowhere with no diapers because you left them in another bag is a nightmare you do not want to be in!!

 

2.PICK THE RIGHT TYPE
There are lots of baby bags available. The ones that come in the duffel-with-shoulder-strap variety are loaded with multiple pockets, plastic covers for used diapers and even changing mats. These can be really good to compartmentalise! On the other hand if you are, for example, travelling with your baby on a flight, then you must take into account the other luggage you have on you as a carry on, plus your baby of course, to decide if a backpack could be a better choice. In my personal experience I have found that on flight travels, using one backpack as my baby bag as well as for my laptop keeps my hands free to handle my baby (and even feed her) as required without having to remove the bag again and again. This is completely a personal decision, but one that must be thought of.

 

3.DUPLICATES FOR REGULAR USE
I always make sure to keep duplicates of the medicines, sterilised bottles, containers etc that are in my bag for everyday use at home. It is better to leave the contents in the bag untouched and ready to go at a moment’s notice.

 

4.PRE-PACKED PORTIONS
With a baby/toddler, it can be really difficult to dole out portions of food or formula right in front them. Not to mention that putting all your eggs in one basket is not a great idea! Portioning everything beforehand is a great way to handle this. I always packed the exact quantity of formula in my baby’s bottles beforehand, and only had to pour in the warm water when my daughter wanted a feed. Even today, I make sure to carry multiple small containers of food so that even if one spills, I have more to fall back on.

 

5.VARIETY IS KEY!
Kids can be picky eaters outside and reject foods they otherwise enjoy at home. I have therefore learnt to always pack a variety of food and drinks, no matter how short a travel we are in for! And while I try to pack healthy, for difficult trips such as to the doctor, I do pack in some treats like a chocolate or cream biscuits. That is, however, a personal choice and completely depends on what helps soothe your child.

 

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Well, that’s that (phew)! Nurturing a baby is no easy job. And travelling with one is even harder! When I used to travel to office with my little one by train in the UK, my backpack would look HUGE, making my colleagues guffaw. But the fact is that travelling alone with a kid needs utmost planning to ensure their comfort at all times. I have, on several occassions, thanked my stars for being very particular while packing my baby’s bag, it has never disappointed me! I do hope this helps you, and your little one, in your journeys too!

 

Featured Image Source – Unsplash.com

 

Caution – The featured image is meant to be cute, funny and is a play on the words “baby bag”. Please DO NOT attempt to actually pack your baby into a bag!

 

A Mommy Moment with my daughter.

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