A diaper bag is like a lifeline when you’re a new parent leaving the house with your newborn. In the first few months, I had a diaper bag full of something to solve every type of problem I’d encounter with my tiny baby.

Whether you are preparing to welcome a baby or looking for inspiration of new things to keep on hand in your diaper bag for your newborn, check out my list below.

Key takeaways from this article

  • Learn which essentials are great for keeping in a diaper bag for a newborn, and which to forget.
  • See which things I’d get rid of if I had to save space.
  • Get ideas for new handy newborn products for keeping in a diaper bag while on the go.

Top newborn diaper bag essentials

At first, in the first few times we left home with our newborn, who was only a few days old, we had no idea what we’d need. We started with basics like outfit spares and diapers. As time went on, we became experts and landed with this list.

As a disclaimer, a lot of this list applies to nursing and being able to do that on the go while out of the house. This list is ideal for babies under 3 months, and can also work for babies under 6 months.

Diaper changes

  • Diapers (6): I keep them in a packing cube, and I re-stock when we run low.
  • Wipes: a whole package, or a slimmed travel-sized package
  • Changing pad (we use a super-slim no-name one like this)
  • Motherlove Diaper balm: we originally ordered this by mistake, and it has lasted forever!
  • Little garbage bags from newspaper deliveries or produce bags from the grocery store (these are for when you have to throw away a stinky diaper at the doctor’s office, or at a friend’s house!)
  • 2-3 simple onesies and outfit changes (consider changes in weather, and always re-stock)
  • Two basic packing cubes for the diapers and for the outfits
  • 1 travel-sized hand sanitizer: for cleaning hands after a diaper change
  • Extra shirt for you or your partner: during the newborn days, there are some messy situations, if you know what I mean. In case of getting your shirt soiled, pack a spare (I think most parents would agree, from experience!)

For nursing essentials to keep in a diaper bag

Most people think “diaper change” when they think about a diaper bag, but the fact of the matter is… newborns drink milk ALL the time in the first few months. Leaving the house for an appointment, a visit to a friend or seeing family means changing diapers AND feeding.

For formula feeding

Pack these for formula feeding your newborn from your diaper bag pack:

Things I’d toss if I have to save space

If your diaper bag is on the smaller side, or if you don’t want a giant and heavy diaper bag, pare down what you take into a smaller list of essentials. Try getting rid of these to save space in your changing bag.

  • Hand sanitizer: there is likely going to be hand sanitizer where you are going, or a bathroom sink.
  • Nursing cover: Some thicker nursing covers are hogs for space in a diaper bag. If you can cover up with clothes you are already wearing, this’ll do the trick.
  • Hand pump: if you’re going out only for a few hours, lose the hand pump and leave it at home.
  • Bring only 1-2 diapers if you’re going out for a few hours. Of course, if you’re on a road trip, you’ll need a few, but you can stash some diapers in the glove compartment.

Some handy diaper bag products I’ve added

I wasn’t a pro, initially, when I started leaving home with my baby and packing my diaper bag. Now that I have a toddler, I can look back and I’m considering how I could’ve minimized what I dragged around in our bag. Check out these handy products.

  • Butt Paste diaper cream in a non-breakable travel-sized bottle (this one turned out to be my favorite one for travel)
  • Milk saver: for nursing mamas, this item is flat, lightweight and slim.
  • Swaddle blanket: at pediatrician appointments (there are so many!), the baby is required to be undressed and a swaddle blanket can keep them warm while waiting
  • Huge water bottle: when I was nursing, I’d always be thirsty

Newborn diaper bag tips

A few things I wish I could’ve told myself when leaving the house with my newborn in the early days are…

  • Babies are resilient, and they’ll survive if you missed something! You don’t have to bring everything but the kitchen sink (but if you’re comfortable over-packing your diaper bag, go for it).
  • Remember to re-stock diapers when you get home. One of the first things I’d do if I had a minute was to get more diapers back into the diaper packing cube, so that I wouldn’t have to scramble the next time we had to get out the door.
  • Remember to clean all nursing gear, dirty bottles and other products that touch milk, when you get home. Ask your partner or spouse to help.
  • Remember to switch out baby’s spare clothes when your baby sizes into the next clothing (for example, NB clothes to 0-3m size). Also, remember to switch in seasonally-appropriate clothes so that you don’t get stuck in winter with summer onesies and no layers.
  • Re-stock granola bars or snacks for you, the hungry and hard-working parent of a newborn!

Choosing a diaper bag

I could write a whole article about how to choose a diaper bag! Basically, we went through a few before we landed on the one we like the best: the Nike Convertible Diaper Bag, which I review here, for travel. We like it because it fits all the things we want to have with us, and it’s unisex and great quality.