Spend $50.00 more and get FREE shipping!
  • #A Parents Guide
  • #Baby & Child Skin
  • #Parenthood

Diaper Bag Checklist: The Essentials Every Parent Needs

Updated on June 13, 2024
62b0d6754c15cc842afd70ee516daa3c_f7bb2fd4-800a-49c3-82fd-c0afecb99ede - Mustela USA - 1

As a parent, you want to be prepared as best as you can, including preparing your baby’s diaper bag with the essentials. From heading to the doctor to running errands, your diaper bag will be home away from home for you and your baby.

When choosing a diaper bag, make sure it has several pockets for storage since most women find it helpful to place common items from their purse into the diaper bag. That way, you’re only carrying one bag.

Mustela has you covered with this checklist of diaper bag essentials that every parent needs so you’ll be ready to go at a moment’s notice!

Diaper Bag Essentials: Diaper Changing

baby get a diaper change with some diaper bag essentials

Portable Changing Pad

A portable changing pad is used to protect your baby from unclean surfaces during diaper changes.

Whether you’re changing a diaper in the back of your car, at a friend’s house, or anywhere in-between, a portable changing pad is essential for those very frequent diaper changes.

Expert tip: Keep your eye out for a diaper bag that contains a built-in changing mat!


You really can never have too many diapers on hand, but you also don’t want to overload your bag with them. Pre-pack your diaper bag to have about six diapers ready to go.

If you’re not rushing out the door to leave in a hurry, then you can arrange your diaper bag accordingly based upon how long you plan to be out of the house.

Disposable Wipes

Always keep a full pack of Mustela’s Diaper Wipes in your diaper bag.

Wipes can be used with each diaper change, but they are also ideal for quick cleanups of your baby’s face and hands when needed. Check your diaper bag for hidden areas to place the diaper wipes for easy access.

Diaper Rash Cream

baby crawling near diaper bag essentials

Apply Mustela’s Diaper Rash Cream 123 to protect your little one’s skin from diaper rash. Use as often as needed with each diaper change or after long exposure to a wet diaper. This cream continues to work in-between diaper changes to prevent future rash recurrences.

For a quick and convenient way to treat your baby’s skin, opt for our Diaper Rash Sprayable Cream. With a touch-free applicator and soothing formula, this dermatologist-tested cream helps heal skin irritation.

If you’re looking for an organic option, try our Diaper Cream with Olive Oil and Aloe! The easy-to-apply formula moisturizes and calms your baby’s bottom and is safe for even the most sensitive skin.

You can also try Mustela’s Liniment. This easy-to-use, fragrance-free natural cleansing lotion moisturizes and protects your little one’s diaper area. Even better? It is now available in a pump bottle to make diaper-changing time a breeze.

Keep both of these must-have items in your diaper bag so your baby doesn’t go without them during diaper changes away from home.

Plastic Bags For Dirty Diapers

Nothing is worse than having a dirty diaper lingering around. Don’t let this happen to you! Stock your diaper bag with plastic bags to hold dirty diapers until you can properly dispose of them.

An added bonus: these bags take up minimal space in your diaper bag!

Diaper Bag Essentials: Clothing

mother and baby playing together

Change Of Clothes

Anticipate accidents by having an extra pair of clothes for baby stored in your diaper bag. This includes a change of pants/bottoms, a onesie or shirt, and an extra pair of socks.

It might be a good idea to throw in an extra shirt for you as well. After all, you never know what the day may bring — spit up, drool, spilled milk, or splattered food, for example.

Expert tip: include an extra set of pajamas for nap times on the go. Mustela’s Stelatopia Skin Soothing Pajamas are ideal for little ones with eczema-prone skin and provide soothing relief while your baby sleeps — no matter where you are.


For the winter months, keep a soft hat for your baby in your diaper bag. If you’re out and about for quite some time, your little one will be bundled up and the hat will keep them warm during those cold winter days.

As for the summer months, your baby needs a sun hat. It will protect their eyes from the brightness of the sun. It will also protect the skin on your little one’s face from the sun’s harmful rays.

Baby Blanket

A baby blanket is used for both comfort and protection. If a blanket comforts your baby, keep it close by to soothe your little one. For protection against the cold and wind, use the blanket to keep your little one warm.

Diaper Bag Essentials: Feeding

mother packing diaper bag essentials before an outing

Burp Cloths

Keep burp cloths in your diaper bag so you’re prepared to catch any spit up after feedings. Look for burp cloths that have an extra absorbent factor. This type of burp cloth is durable and absorbs liquid in a matter of seconds.


It’s inevitable that your baby will need to eat while you’re out of the house. Store nipples and bottles in an easily accessible area of your diaper bag.

Expert tip: For quick preparation, fill bottles with water before placing them in your diaper bag. Now all you have to do is add in a few scoops of formula and you’re ready for feeding time!


If your bottles are not pre-made and stored in an insulated tote, then you’ll need to pack your baby’s formula. Instead of bringing the entire tub of formula, gather a few scoops to store in a small container. By doing this, you’re conserving space in your diaper bag.

Baby Food

If your little one is at the age when they’re eating baby food, gather a few jars of either premade or pre-packaged baby food to keep in your diaper bag. Don’t forget the spoon!


Babies are naturally messy eaters, so store a bib or two in your diaper bag. The bibs will protect your little one’s clothes from getting soiled and dirty while eating. You can also use them to easily clean around your baby’s mouth and wipe away food residue to prevent rashes.

Nursing Cover

Even if you spend the first few weeks at home after your little one arrives, at some point, you’re going to want to venture back outside.

When you do, it’s inevitable that your baby is going to get hungry, and you’ll probably be in an extremely crowded place with no privacy.

That’s where a nursing cover comes in. Nursing covers are designed to provide plenty of coverage and, perhaps best of all, stay in place while your baby moves. Some nursing covers can even be worn as an accessory between feedings — think stylish scarf or wrap.

In many instances, this makes them much easier to use than a swaddle or blanket draped over your shoulders.

Of course, we don’t want you to feel like you have to cover up while breastfeeding, but some moms want a little bit more between them, their baby, and all the people passing by.

Nursing Pads

For moms on the go who breastfeed their little one, nursing pads are a must-have addition to any diaper bag checklist.

Nursing pads, also known as breast pads, are absorbent discs of soft fabric that you place in a regular or nursing bra to prevent leaking milk from causing wet spots and staining your clothing.

Some are even designed to help soothe and heal sore, cracked nipples. When paired with Mustela’s Nursing Comfort Balm, they’re a great way to ease discomfort and help repair skin during and after breastfeeding.

Nursing pads come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and types including disposable, reusable, silicone, and hydrogel. You can even make your own nursing pads at home before you leave or when you’re out and about and an emergency arises.

For on-the-go emergencies, cut circles out of disposable sanitary napkins, diapers, or an old blanket or onesie (make sure you have extras for your baby).

At home, you can craft nursing pads out of old cotton shirts, handkerchiefs, or other soft, absorbent material. Cut material into a circular shape; stitch two, three, or four layers together; and then fit inside your bra. It’s that easy!

Diaper Bag Essentials: Baby Care

baby thermometer as diaper bag essentials


Sickness tends to creep up at the most unlikely time, so it’s always a good idea to keep a thermometer packed away to check for fevers while you’re on the go.

Hand Sanitizer

You generally wash your hands after diaper changes, but sometimes soap and water are not close by. That’s when you reach for your hand sanitizer. Purchase covers for it that hang from a strap on your diaper bag so that it doesn’t take up any space on the inside.

Recovery Cream

Mom applying recovery cream on child

Mustela’s Cicastela Moisture Recovery Cream is a multi-purpose ointment that delivers soothing relief from head to toe. This small and convenient diaper bag must-have works to relieve your little one’s skin discomfort by delivering cooling hydration.

Use this ointment to defend your baby’s skin against common skin concerns, such as minor cuts and scratches, insect bites, red patches, skin sensitivity, and even diaper area redness.

Diaper Bag Essentials: Skin Care

3 little girls lying near diaper bag essentials

Moisturizing Lotion

Need a quick boost in hydration for your baby’s skin? Mustela’s Hydra Bebe Body Lotion is your answer. It provides immediate and long-lasting moisture for your little one’s delicate skin.

Consider keeping Mustela’s Bebe On The Go set in your diaper bag. This travel-sized set includes the Hydra Bebe Body Lotion along with gentle cleansing gel and facial cleansing cloths for complete and easy cleansing and hydrating wherever you are.

Nourishing Stick

Mustela’s Nourishing Stick With Cold Cream is a travel-friendly moisturizer that provides heavy-duty skin protection to relieve your baby’s irritated cheeks and lips.

While the Hydra Bebe Body Lotion moisturizes your baby’s skin, the Nourishing Stick provides moisture to their delicate facial areas. It’s the perfect skin protection during cold or windy days.


Sunscreen is essential these days for protecting your little one’s delicate skin from the sun’s harmful UV rays.

Before dressing your baby to leave the house, apply a layer of Mustela’s SPF 50 Mineral Sunscreen Lotion all over their body. Focus on the hands, feet, face, and any other skin that will be exposed.

Then, for added protection and comfort, cover their arms, torso, and legs with a onesie (or everything with a blanket) and their head with a wide-brimmed hat.

This combination of sunscreen and clothing is the best way to keep your little one happy in the sun and prevent sunburn.

If you’re headed for a day at the beach where your baby may wear little more than a diaper, be sure to reapply sunscreen after swimming or at least every two hours if they’re just playing in the sand.

Note: Keep in mind that sunscreen is not generally recommended for babies under six months of age. Ask a doctor before applying sunscreen to your infant if they’re five months old or younger.

Diaper Bag Essentials: Extras

A diaper bag filled with all diaper bag essentials


Stash away a few toys, such as a rattle or even a teether, to add a little entertainment to the car ride or your outing.

Extra Pacifiers

Pacifiers have the amazing tendency to disappear at a moment’s notice. Stay on top of this mystery by storing a few extra pacifiers in the pockets of your diaper bag.

No-Rinse Cleansing Water

Mustela’s No Rinse Cleansing Water thoroughly and gently cleans your baby’s face, body, and diaper area while on the go. Add a few pumps of the No Rinse Cleansing Water to a cloth and start wiping away. No need to rinse with water!

First Aid Kit

You never know when your newborn is going to scratch themselves and draw blood, your toddler is going to fall down and skin their knee, or you’re going to cut your finger on a particularly difficult zipper or snap.

For these accidents — and the hundreds of other accidents you can’t predict — include a small first aid kit on your diaper bag checklist. You can purchase one ready-made or make your own at home.

Whichever option you choose, be sure it includes:

  • Band-Aids
  • Gauze
  • Alcohol pads
  • Cotton swabs
  • Small scissors (also useful for making emergency nursing pads)
  • Safety pins
  • Disposable sterile gloves
  • Tweezers
  • Cloth tape
  • Digital thermometer
  • Antiseptic cream
  • Cream or spray to relieve stings and insect bites
  • Antihistamine cream
  • Elastic bandage (a.k.a. Ace wrap)

You may also find it useful to include a basic emergency first aid guide alongside all your supplies. This guide doesn’t have to be thick or heavy. A piece of paper or two with instructions for treating common scrapes and ailments is enough for most situations.

And your first aid kit doesn’t need to contain so much that it takes up half of your diaper bag.

The most-used items — Band-Aids, gauze, alcohol pads, cotton swabs, small scissors, safety pins, tweezers, and even a small tube of antiseptic cream — will fit into a container not much bigger than an Altoids tin or a sealable sandwich bag.

That makes it convenient to stash in an unused outside pocket for easy access!

Extra Shirt For You

Mom holding baby in baby sling

Most moms are careful to pack extra clothing for their little ones, but neglect to include an extra shirt or cover up for themselves.

Those accidents that soil your baby’s onesie are more than likely to find their way onto your shirt or blouse during the course of the day, too! That’s why we recommend packing another neutral-colored t-shirt or tank that you can throw on when things get messy.

You may even find it useful to include an old — but still-presentable — button-up dress shirt or blouse that you can throw on over your existing clothing should they get soiled.

This type of shirt even makes a great smock that you can put on quickly if you know you’re going to be cleaning your little one and you need to preserve your clothing.

One or two shirts don’t take up a lot of room in your diaper bag and can be invaluable in an emergency.

Hair Ties

Hair ties may not seem like an essential item to include on your diaper bag checklist, but they can take the hassle out of any number of regular baby-care activities.

For example, putting your hair up with a tie or bobby pin before nursing keeps your baby from grabbing a fistful and tugging!

Similarly, securing your hair behind your head before changing your little one’s diaper can prevent the same painful event from occurring — not to mention keeping your long hair away from soiled diapers.

Some moms even use hair ties or bobby pins to hold their shirt up while they nurse their baby.

Like the extra shirt, hair ties or bobby pins don’t take up a lot of room, but they can be priceless when you need them. Get creative and we’re sure you’ll find even more uses for these tiny objects!

External Battery For Your Phone

This may not seem like a diaper-bag essential but, trust us, it’s nice to have in a pinch!

It’s inevitable that your time outside the house with your newborn will happen on the day after you forgot to recharge your phone.

Sticking a small external battery for your phone in the bottom of your diaper bag can really save the day when your device runs out of juice. You may never need it, but you’ll rest easy knowing it’s there.

Including an external battery on your diaper bag checklist is especially useful if you need your phone to entertain your toddler or older child. Movies and games can drain the battery, so it’s good to have a backup in case your phone is preventing a meltdown or tantrum.

Duplicates Of Items You Keep In Your Purse

How many times have you dashed out of the house with your baby and their diaper bag only to realize you forgot your purse? If you haven’t done that yet, trust us when we say it’s not a pleasant experience!

That’s why we recommend stashing duplicates of the things you keep in your purse in your diaper bag.

You don’t have to store a second cell phone in your diaper bag, but it’s a good idea to include such items as:

Including these and other common items on your diaper bag checklist makes it easier to head out for a quick trip to the market and prevents you from locking yourself out of your house or apartment if you forget your purse.

Baby Sling

Mom holding newborn in baby sling

If you have room in your diaper bag, include a baby sling or other type of simple carrier. You never know when you’re going to need both hands — especially if you’re without a stroller or baby seat.

The baby sling makes it possible to carry your baby safely and securely and have your hands free at the same time.

Plus, being wrapped up and close to your body can keep your little one calm, content, and happy even during the busiest, most hectic travel times.

Water And Snack For Mom

And, mom, don’t forget about you! From running errands to going to doctor’s appointments and everything in-between, you can quickly become exhausted. Replenish your body with a protein snack and a bottle of water for a quick boost.

Place these items in a side pocket of your diaper bag for optimal storage to avoid taking up space on the inside.

Do You Have Everything?

To toddlers on a blanket next to a diaper bag that's filled with diaper bag essentials

While it may seem like a lot and you may be wondering how everything will fit, most of the items on this list are small and take up minimal space in your diaper bag.

You’ll have everything you need when you prep your diaper bag for diaper and clothing changes, along with your little one’s feeding essentials. Your baby’s skin care necessities are taken care of, and you even have a few extras for yourself.

So leave your worries behind. All you have to do now is grab the diaper bag and go!

Suggested products

Suggested articles