How to Organise and Stock a Changing Bag: The Essential Items for On-the-Go Parents

As any new parent will tell you, being organised is the key to success.

The same goes for your baby changing bag and the contents you place within it. Many parents who are on the go and like to go out with their little ones need to be extra vigilant, especially if they are away from home all day.

Having a system and keeping your items neatly arranged inside your bag will help reduce stress during those times of urgency, such as if your baby is hungry, sick or in need of a change.

Choosing Your Bag

It can be a little daunting choosing your first baby-changing bag.

I personally have had three bags over the space of two and a half years. Mainly because little one needs more things as they get older such as more clothing changes, more nappies, and then weaning items when they get past that six-month stage.

Whatever bag you decide to go for, do make sure it has plenty of space for all your needs and it is comfortable to wear. Picking a bag with sections and pockets is always handy, too, to keep items separate and organised.

How to Organise Your Bag for Maximum Efficiency

When it comes to collecting all the items required for your time away from home, there is one thing you should definitely be doing, and that is keeping similar items together. 

Make sure to utilise any pockets or sections of your bag, and if you have a very large central space, it’s a good idea to buy some clear plastic travel bags and fill those with your necessary items. You could even label them if that would help you too. I had one case for nappy changing, including wipes and creams, and then another case with medications, sanitiser and antibacterial wipes.

A changing table or facilities in a public bathroom are readily available nowadays, but if you find yourself in a more rural area or like going for long walks, then it would be great to find a portable and foldable changing mat so you can change your baby safely and comfortably no matter where you are. I got one of mine free when I purchased a changing bag, but most retailers who sell the changing bags will also do mats that fit. Find one that suits all your needs and is a size appropriate for your family too.

Depending on how old your little one is will determine how much you need to take with you. You may need a flask, boiling water or even cooled boiled water which is heavy to transport. 

If you’re breastfeeding, you may require a nursing pillow or armband to help with the comfort of holding your baby for a prolonged length of time. All these things need to be able to fit into your changing bag because you really don’t want to be carrying several different bags with you.

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Learn How To Fold Items Into Bundles To Keep Similar Things Together

Folding a baby bundle of clothes couldn’t be simpler! Make sure always separate the piles into individual outfits before folding them. 

Then take the largest piece of your outfit, such as the trousers, and lay them flat on a surface. Inside it, place the socks, and a vest or baby grow, and then roll them up and over so you have a sausage shape. 

Take your t-shirt or jumper or even a baby grow with sleeves and roll the sausage up inside it, using the arms to tie the bundle together. 

Do this with every outfit change, and keep the bundles all in one place so they are always easy to find!

Items That You Need in Your Bag

Most women tend to give up their handbags and just use a changing bag for a while after their baby comes along, it’s easier to look after one bag than several. 

If this is the case for you, then don’t forget to allocate space for your needs, such as toiletries, snacks and a reusable water bottle within the changing bag space. You may also need things like breast pads or a change of clothes. 

Pack for every eventuality when you have a little one because you never know when the day will come that you need those things.

What’s Inside My Personal Changing Bag?

If I’m out with a baby or toddler, I will take:

  • A change of outfit for my baby (two if we plan to be out more than a couple of hours)
  • A bottle of cooled boiled water
  • A bottle of water for myself
  • Snacks for longer days out
  • Four nappies (minimum)
  • A packet of baby wipes with an elastic band around the middle to keep the wipes in place
  • Two different baby creams
  • Nappy sacks
  • Two bibs
  • A spare outfit for me
  • A packet of tissues
  • Three muslin cloths
  • My snuggleband (breastfeeding armband for mothers, you may have a nursing pillow)
  • Breast pads
  • An age-appropriate book and toy
  • A waterproof plastic bag for placing any wet or dirty items in
  • A foldable portable changing mat 
  • Our medicines case (including Calpol and allergy medication).

I always carry more than I need, but it's a "just in case" attitude that I have because you never know what you might end up needing to use, especially if you're out all day. Nobody wants to be searching maps on their phone for somewhere to buy more nappies, so I urge any new parents on the go to pack carefully and precisely, and they should find taking their family out for the day to be a breeze.

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Stocking A Changing Bag

Once you have had your little bundle of joy in your life for a few weeks, you should be able to estimate how many outfit changes and nappies you will need to carry with you for however long you are away from home. 

As I mentioned above, it's always better to be overprepared and take more than you will use, just in case. Being organised and stocked with the correct items is essential to making your parenting life easier. 

There were things I carried in my first weeks that I really didn't need, and you have to judge that on your own personal circumstances, but make sure that the interior of the bag is easy to see and things are separated neatly or labelled. 

Most of the time, a supermarket is pretty close if you forget something, but you don't want to have to detour on your family day out, so instead, just be prepared. You've got this! 

Oh, and it's always a great idea to make a changing bag item list and pack the bag as you tick them off. You should keep it at home next to your baby items to make restocking the bag easier for your next outing.

Don't forget that a changing bag is an essential part of being a parent, and until your child is much older, you will always need to carry one, so choose wisely, pack and organise it well, and it will set you in good stead for the duration of your parenting life.

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