What do you need to pack in a changing bag?
Leaving the house with a baby is challenging enough without bringing the kitchen sink with you. Don't get weighed down with stuff you don't need – pack savvy with these tips from Mumsnetters
By Mumsnet HQ | Last updated Jun 10, 2021
The essentials you need to pack
Anti-bacterial hand sanitiser
Plastic bag or wetbag for dirty things
While there are lots of things that could prove useful in each potential scenario, if you try and bring them all the most probable outcome is finding yourself trekking around carrying both your newborn and a bag which felt relatively light at the start of the day and now feels like it contains several tonnes of bricks. Nappies and basic medical supplies are key – but it also helps to remember that most things can be found out and about, if you really need to.
“For clothes, use the absolute thinnest you have. These are emergency clothes remember – you can change them again when you get home.”
“Pack plasters: you might only need them once in a blue moon but they take up roughly zero space.”
Remember: “Nappies, wipes, food, drinks, clothes… all can be bought when out, in the case of an emergency.”
What not to pack
There are a few things that are more trouble than they're worth. That big fluffy unicorn that your baby has grown very attached to? It may seem like a must-bring at the start of the day; but once you realise you've left it in the Costa changing room a bus journey away, you might just regret that decision. Things not to bother with include:
- Bananas – too easily squashed, rendering the whole bag and its contents unusable.
- Tissues – wipes are far more practical.
- Drinks – prone to spillage, and are unnecessarily heavy – “only pack them if you're going out for more than two hours to somewhere where no drinks are available.”
- Toys – take up too much space – “unless it's something small you can clip to the buggy.”
Related: The best changing mats for babies
Changing bag packing tips
Think outside the bag
Although it may be tempting to just bung it all in the bag, that can make for an extremely heavy hold. Find other places you can stash your stuff.
“Just take a buggy and sling it all underneath.”
“I keep spare stuff in the car, if that's an option for you. Very useful on several occasions, and I didn't have to carry as much with me.”
“I've never had a changing bag. I shove a couple of nappies, wipes, a plastic bag and spare trousers in my handbag and I've never been caught short (with two DC).”
Keep things minimal
So you've packed your bag with the bare essentials but it's still proving to be a hefty lot. Remember that for the most part, you're only out for the day and so probably won't get through that bumper pack of nappies. It may seem like a faff to keep restocking your bag every day, but trust us, your shoulders will be thanking you later.
“Make sure that the wipe pack is one-third full, not a new one.”
“Just take essentials for that particular trip, and restock the bag if needed when you get home, so it's ready for the next trip.”
Don't panic if you find yourself out and lacking something. Most things can be bought out – and a lot of cafes will be happy to refill your water bottle. You just have to ask.
“Most decent cafes will let you refill a cup of water, or you can purchase one bottle and have a bit each.”
Just think, what's the worst that can happen?
In an ideal world, we'd have freshly-laundered spare clothes in case of accidents, wet wipes on tap and all manner of things to entertain your baby when they're having a moment (and while we're here, they'd sleep through the night too). But unfortunately, that's not possible all (or any) of the time. Take a step back and consider what items you really need, and what you could probably do without.
“Go through each item and think 'When was the last time I used it?' and would you have coped if you hadn't had it?”
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