Thursday, December 29, 2005

What should you keep in baby's diaper bag?

You can always spot the parent of a newborn. How? Because he or she will undoubtedly have an overflowing diaper bag in tow-- at all times. Fast forward to a year later, where you can usually find that same parent with a lone diaper stuffed in a bag or a coat pocket. Still, when you have a newborn, you do need to tote around a lot more stuff with you. Indeed, a well-stocked diaper bag should include more than just diapers. Here are some important items that you should always keep in your baby's diaper bag:

-- Diapers and baby wipes. Make sure to check your supply of diapers and baby wipes. You should restock your diaper supply every few days, especially if you take your baby out a lot. Nothing is worse than finding yourself out and about with no diapers in the bag! Also, baby wipes do dry out. If you rarely use your baby wipes when you're out, make sure you check them every few weeks and toss and repace them if they are dried out.

-- Diaper rash cream and ointment. You never know when your baby will develop a diaper rash, so be prepared. Keep a tube of good quality diaper rash cream in your bag. Also, a tube of antibiotic ointment is another good item to have (something like Neosporin) in case your baby gets a boo-boo while you're out.

-- Bibs and a change of clothes. Small babies make messes, so don't leave home without some extra bibs and clothes in your bag. You can also look for disposable bibs, which are great for parents on the go. In addition, a fresh change of clothes-- in baby's current size -- should always be in your bag. Make sure the outfit is seasonally appropriate, too.

-- Snacks and food. Even if you nurse your baby, it is wise to pack some powder baby formula and a bottle of water in case-- for whatever reason-- you are unable to nurse your baby. If your baby has moved on to cereal and jarred baby food, keep a jar of food and a clean spoon in your diaper bag for meals on the go. If your older baby eats solid food, pack some snacks like Cheerios cereal or baby-friendly snack crackers.

-- Bottles or sippy cups. Keep an empty bottle or sippy cup in your bag for emergencies. Sometimes bottles get left behind while you are out and you don’t want to find yourself with a thirsty baby and no clean bottles!

--Pacifier. If your baby uses a pacifier, be sure to pack at least two. Pacifiers have a way of getting lost easily and you may find yourself without one when your baby really needs it.

--Sun block. While most pediatricians do not recommend using sun block on tiny newborns, older babies will need to be protected from exposure to the sun. Pack a bottle of sun block that is 45 SPF or more and remember-- your baby needs sun protection even on a cloudy day.

--A hat. A hat is another item that will help protect your baby from the sun. Make sure to pack a large size hat that covers baby's head and protects his or her ears from the sun. Switch out the hat as the seasons change--a warm, knit hat with ear flaps will keep baby's head warm in the winter time

--Small toys or board books. You don't need to lug around baby's entire toy box, but you should have a few special toys and books with you, especially if you are taking baby with you to an appointment where there may be some waiting. Small toys and books can also be a lifesaver if you take your baby out to a restaurant with you.

-- Changing pad. Plastic changing pads are great to have for diaper changes on the go (check the inside of your bag-- pads are often included with diaper bags). If your diaper bag didn't come with plastic pad, it's a good idea to buy one. A changing pad provides a clean work area for you to change your baby-- no matter where you are.

--Plastic grocery bags. These are great for disposing of dirty diapers and storing dirty clothes. Pack a few and you'll be prepared for anything!

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