If you’re a new dad, you’ve probably already begun to realize that even dads have to carry around the essentials for their child during infant and toddler stages. This means that, much to your chagrin, you have to carry a diaper bag.
But don’t worry, we got you covered. Luckily though, we at jujube offer diaper bags for dads that provide a more utilitarian, manly style than a traditional diaper bag.
Of course, there’s still the small issue of packing it. While it may be true that in almost every area of life you excel at packing things, it’s possible that packing a baby diaper bag is a struggle you didn’t anticipate. Talk about navigating foreign territory. There’s just no way a baby could really need all that stuff—right?
Well, you’re half-right at least.
Though it’s probable your baby won’t need half the stuff you pack, there’s nothing to say he or she won’t need it, either. You just won’t know until you know. A lot of new moms like to plan ahead and pack enough stuff to cover every eventuality.
Men on the other hand, are far more pragmatic and laid-back. As humans are creatures of habit, most men are only interested in packing the minimum needed to ensure their child survives the day. Everything else is negotiable.
Packing light is certainly not a bad thing and it can be good in some cases, like when you need to take a quick jaunt to the grocery store. However, at other times it may behoove new dads to take a page from mom’s playbook and throw in a few extra items.
Remember that mishaps are inevitable with small children. Our best advice is that it's always wiser to be over-prepared than under-prepared. Use our simple dad diaper bag contents guide to give you an idea of where to start.
Diaper Bag Essentials For Dad
There are no rules as to what to put in a daddy diaper bag. As long as you have the basics, everything else just boils down to personal preferences.
Though you might prefer to only pack what you absolutely need for the day’s excursion, keep in mind excursions with kids can be wildly unpredictable. You might end up feeling grateful you ended up packing that extra pacifier or an additional meal’s worth of baby formula.
First, let’s start with those basics.
This might seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many new dads will walk out the front door with a diaper bag on their back, minus the actual diapers. So, the most important item you need to pack is plenty of diapers. After all, it’s called a diaper bag for a reason!
As to how many, it really depends on where you’re going and how long you will be gone. For a day trip to the beach or a flight that will be a few hours long, you should probably just take a whole pack of diapers with you.
If you only intend to visit your parents for an hour, you could probably get away with only a handful of diapers. A good rule of thumb is to plan for a diaper change every two hours.
Sometimes you will go longer between changes, other times you’ll change your baby’s diaper more frequently. Two per hour helps to average it all out.
We say, the bigger the box, the better. Trust us, it’s hard holding a squirming baby’s legs in the air while trying to drag out a wipe from one of those flimsy travel cases.
Since many men will use handfuls at a time when cleaning a baby’s bottom, that basically ensures a travel pack won’t be enough to last until you get home anyway. So, pack a whole box. You might even stow a second box in the car. Wipes are useful for just about everything so it’s not like you will regret taking extras.
What kind of food you pack will depend on the age of your child. Older children will require more variety, whereas infants will only need breast milk or formula.
If you’re packing for an infant, you’ll need items like:
- Formula or sealed containers of breast milk
- A formula dispenser if mom isn’t breastfeeding
- A small insulation pack to help keep milk cold
- At least one bottle for feeding and an extra for water
- An extra nipple in case the one you’ve got isn’t doing the job
For older children, you’ll want to pack food items like:
- A couple of jars of baby food or a container of prepared food
- A small bottle for water or juice (or a tippy cup)
- Snacks, such as cereal puffs, crackers, or fruit
- A wipeable bib that is easy to clean
Ideally, try not to pack food that is super messy or foods that spoil quickly. Opening your diaper bag to discover a mushed, over-ripe banana all over everything, or to find a bowl of spaghetti has exploded, is frustrating, to say the least.
Provided your child is using a pacifier, of course. If so, it’s always a good idea to pack a few because they tend to get lost easily, especially if your little one has a habit of taking it from their mouth and throwing it somewhere.
Always pack at minimum three and try to make sure at least one of them is attached to something. You can attach it to your child’s clothing or to the diaper bag itself.
Baby Toys and Teething Rings
Depending on the age of your child, you’ll want to make sure to pack at least one or two age-appropriate toys. It’s wise to pack smaller items, like:
- A baby rattle
- A teething ring
- A stuffed bear
- A soft pop-up book
- A texture toy
- A small puzzle
Your baby doesn’t need much to keep them entertained while out and about, so try not to go overboard. Remember, the key is to travel prepared, but travel light. Dragging around a bunch of items that aren’t truly necessary can quickly become tedious.
Kids are a hot mess. Even dads who know how to dress their children decently can end up with progeny that look homeless by the end of the day. Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Always pack weather-appropriate, spare clothes for your child, even if it’s just a couple of clean onesies or an extra shirt with shorts.
Accidents happen, babies soil themselves, kids jump around in mud puddles. Clothes don’t stay clean, no matter how meticulous and careful you try to be. You might want to include a clean t-shirt for yourself as well, just in case little Johnny’s diaper leaks in unfortunate places.
Bags for Soiled Diapers
This is one of those things that you might not think of on your own, but you’ll sure wish you had at some point. Especially if you end up changing a particularly foul diaper and have no place to throw it away.
You can place the diaper in the baggie and stow it smell-free, until you can find a waste bin. Baggies are also useful for storing away soiled clothing, blankets, bibs, and any trash or waste.
A Changing Pad
Many diaper bags for dads, including backpack diaper bags, come equipped with a detachable changing pad. Some parents prefer to buy an additional changing pad that suits their needs better and swap them out.
Whatever your case may be, changing pads come in handy when you have to change your child on the ground or in the backseat of your car. Or on a germy-looking changing table.
They are easy to clean and can help prevent the spread of dirt and germs. Plus, they give your little one a bit of cushion on hard surfaces, which is helpful.
An Extra Blanket
Or two or three, if they are the thin receiving blankets. Those things can be used for all sorts of things, like swaddling, cleaning up an unexpected mess, or used as a burp cloth. Depending on the weather, you might want to throw in a heavier blanket in case it gets cool.
Blankets are useful to keep your little one warm, offer shade on a sunny day, and protect them from the elements. If your baby has a special cuddle blanket for security, you’ll want to make sure you pack that, too.
Burp Cloths and Bibs
While bibs aren’t mandatory, they are nice to have, especially if your child is in a drooling stage or spits up frequently. They can help keep your little one’s clothing clean.
Burp cloths are equally helpful if your child spits up a lot and are great for catching and cleaning up messes. Some parents use receiving blankets and burp cloths interchangeably, but both work fine in a pinch.
Okay, so some dads may scoff at bothering to pack any of this stuff, but we’ve only got you and your baby’s best interests in mind.
With that said, you might want to make sure your backpack diaper bag has:
- A small bottle of baby lotion to help mask unsavory scents
- Diaper cream in case your baby develops a rash
- Baby powder to keep your baby’s bottom dry, especially on hot days
- A small bottle of sunscreen and bug spray, weather and location-dependent
- Baby nail clippers for stealth trimming when the moment is right
Yes, you can survive the day without these things. No, we don’t recommend you attempt it.
Sometimes even babies have to take certain prescription medications. Dad, don’t forget to pack them! Even if the medications are for minor ailments, like a cold or bacterial infection, you don’t want to miss a dose.
Otherwise, the medication won’t be as effective. If you’re going to give a child medication, you want to make sure they are doing their job. That requires administering them on their proper schedule, which you can’t do if you leave them at home.
If the medication requires any special equipment to administer, such as a nebulizer, unfortunately, you’ll have to pack that too. Keep in mind that if the equipment is large or takes up more space than your diaper bag offers, you’ll have to pack a separate baby bag just for those items.
A Small First Aid Kit
This one seems a little questionable, after all… a toddler might get a bump or scrape, but what could possibly happen to an infant that requires first aid treatment? Our answer is—you’d be surprised! And if something doesn’t happen to the little one that requires first aid, nine times out of ten you will do something to hurt yourself instead. So, it’s always good to have at least a small first aid kit for quick access in case of unexpected bleeding or injury.
Things to include in your first aid kit are:
- Band-Aids, of course
- Gauze for wrapping
- Non-stick tape for binding
- Steroid or itch ointment
- Antibiotic ointment
- Peroxide or alcohol pads for disinfecting
- Child thermometer in case the little one spikes a fever
- Infant gas drops
- Infant pain and fever reliever
In the case of Band-Aids, you can never really have too many. Make sure you’ve got a variety of shapes and sizes. Big ones for dad, tiny ones for baby fingers and toes.
Items for Dad
Finally, make sure you don’t forget to throw in a few things for you, too. You don’t have to waste a ton of space on stuff for you, but you should make sure you have:
- Your wallet or cash
- Your car keys
- Your cellphone or mobile device
- A book to read (if you’re a reader)
- A notebook and pen (you just never know)
- Adult pain reliever like ibuprofen or acetaminophen
- Hand sanitizer and plenty of it
Though this list isn’t comprehensive, if you have these baby diaper bag essentials packed, we guarantee, you’ll be one of the most prepared dads on the block.