Diaper bags tend to come equipped with a million pockets and slots for storing...what exactly? If you want to be prepared to meet your baby's needs, but don't want to break your back doing so, read on for your Essential Newborn Diaper Bag Guide.
Diapers and wipes, obviously. How many? Based on experience, I'd say you should keep three minimum (for a quick jaunt to the park/store), and up to ten (yep, ten) for a full-day outing. You can make a pee-filled diaper last for a few hours, but a poopy mess needs to be taken care of pronto.
A changing pad and/or light blanket. Most diaper bags worth their salt will come with a lightly padded, wipeable pad for laying baby out for a change on nearly any surface. A lightweight blanket - like the receiving blanket they give you at the hospital - also works, and can multitask as a burp cloth or nursing cover (just twist the corners into your bra straps).
Nourishment. If you're breastfeeding a small infant, congratulations! You are a mobile milk factory and don't need any other feeding gear (but should keep a couple disposable nursing pads handy for leaks). If you are formula-feeding, you can pre-measure the goods into a formula dispenser or well-sealed jar/tupperware container. For storing pumped milk, if you don't plan to use it in the next hour or so, you'll need a cooler bag (here are more breastmilk storage guidelines). For all bottle-feeding scenarios, have a couple clean bottles and nipples on hand, as it can be tough to clean them out properly while on the go.
Water for mixing formula, if needed.
A change of clothes for baby...and you. Accidents happen, and they especially happen with tiny humans! A simple onesie is the most compact to-go outfit, even for older babies. And since there's a fair chance that your own clothing may get soiled while out and about (especially if you're breastfeeding), keeping at least a light camisole tucked away is a must! I was definitely grateful to have one on hand when my husband put the baby's diaper on backwards and he (the baby, not my husband) ended up soaking my shirt with pee.
Plastic bags/Ziplocs. You may need to hold on to a soiled diaper for a bit, or want to seal away used bottles or clothing before you get home. Rinse and reuse when possible for Mother Nature!
Water and a snack for you, especially if you're breastfeeding. Believe me, stopping for a drink or bite to eat is not the simple convenience it was before you were tethered to a tiny ball of needs!
One or two pacifiers/teething toys, as needed. We didn't use a pacifier, so that was one fewer thing to remember.
Inevitably, forgetting to pack that one essential item will lead to some horror stories and MacGyver moments - but you can handle it! And as your baby grows, her needs will change on virtually a weekly basis, and so will your list of on-the-go essentials.