Dear Father Hood: what should we put in our baby bag?
Remember the pre-baby world when leaving the house was easy? I do. And I recall that it involved picking up my keys, opening the door and walking out with a smile on my face. Fast-forward two-and-a-bit years and getting over the doorstep is a military operation featuring numerous shoe changes, a couple of tantrums and much discussion about who has packed what in the baby bag.
So how did you get on this morning? Did you make sure there were two complete changes of clothes? And check there were enough wipes? And ensure that you have the snack your little one needs at exactly 11.47am and 13 seconds or all hell will break loose?
Yes, of course you did. Or that’s what you told your partner anyway. In actual fact, you couldn’t be bothered to open up the baby bag and check everything because you were running late and knackered. But it’s no big deal. I mean, what’s the worst that could happen?
The worst that could happen
Ha. I laugh because I used to be that naive. That’s right, folks. I was one of those fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants parents who believed that minimal checking was fine, as no matter what occurred we would always be close enough to a supermarket or pharmacy to rectify the situation before it got out of hand. Then came the great “he’s allergic to fish” revelation of late 2016.
Ooh, what happened? I don’t want to go into too many details. But let’s just say… Projectile vomit. Less than 10 wipes. Driving 25 minutes home in my underwear, with every window open. Oh, and the bubster was also devoid of clothes and in his last nappy. Never again. NEVER. AGAIN.
The new me
The good news for me is that we got home in one piece, and the good news for you is that from that day on I resolved to take a little more interest in all things baby bag.
Actually, I say baby bag, but I mean baby rucksack. Due to a mixture of us not liking the design of most modern baby bags and nearly fainting when we saw their price tags, my wife and I have spent the last two years using the below backpack as our baby bag.
And do you know what? It’s been absolutely fantastic. Why? Find out, as we go Through the Keyhole. Sorry, I meant into the finer details of our baby bag.
Why we love this baby bag
The two biggest parenting plus points of this rucksack (which was made by the snowboard brand Burton) are the fact you can wear it on both shoulders and the fact that it has so many different compartments.
Why does the latter matter? It matters, because when ouchies, refluxes, nappy leaks and other parenting nightmares happen you need to manage that situation fast – and having set compartments for each emergency product enables you to do just that.
Add in two side pouches that are perfect for housing drinks and snacks, and some exterior clips that are perfect for hanging discarded helmets and wet clothes and this ragged old rucksack gives us everything we need and more.
What to put in your baby bag
All of which is well and good, but all you really want to know is what we put in said rucksack. Obviously, times change and we’ll include certain extra items depending on the weather, how the little man is feeling, where we are going and so on, but as a general guide here’s what is or has been in each compartment of our baby bag.
- Library card – a) the library is always a decent shout on a rainy day and b) you need to be prepared for that random Friday morning when your kid suddenly develops a desire to take out books.
- Pen – you’ll be amazed at the number of times we’ve used this.
- Teething gel – teething pain has been the bane of our life for as long as we can remember. This gel manages to numb my son’s gums for an hour or so.
- Vaseline – handy for mummy and daddy’s dry lips and for moisturising the bubster after swimming.
- Soft play loyalty card – who doesn’t want to get their 6th trip free?
- Packet of popcorn – for those times when your irritable baby/toddler won’t accept fruit as a snack.
- Tissues – you can never have enough.
- Milk powder container – crucial if you’re bottle feeding, pointless if you aren’t.
- Teething toy attached to some string – eating out? Tie this to the restaurant’s high chair and, hey presto, you have something that your kid can chew and shake, but CANNOT throw on the floor.
- Nappy rash cream – we’ve not used this for ages, but never want to be caught without again.
Right side pouch
- Water bottle – if you need me to explain this, then I fear for your child.
- Boxed fruit – healthy snacks to be eaten/dropped on the floor.
Left side pouch
- Suntan lotion – obviously only required on sunny days. You need easy access to this product, as your opportunity to spray it on a non-moving target will be extremely limited.
- Dirty bibs and socks – so they don’t stink out the bag. Will rise in number as the day goes on.
Front pocket zipped compartment 1
- Packet of plastic spoons – for emergency in park or car dining.
Front pocket zipped compartment 2
- Plastic bags – to be used when any baby clothes or cutlery you want to keep gets dirty.
Front pocket zipped compartment 3
- Alcogel (hand sanitiser) – for post-nappy and pre-food cleansing.
Main section of front pocket
- Wipes – to mop up the inevitable spills, stains and snot.
- At least 3x clean bibs – our son was a drool machine between the ages of 6 months and 24 months.
- Tissues – see reason given in top pocket section.
Main pocket back section
- Portable changing mat – our one is from Skiphop and it’s up there with the best baby products we’ve been given. It folds up easily, has a section where we keep the little man’s Water Wipes (he has a sensitive booty), a small zipped pocket which houses the nappy bags, and a larger zipped pocket that is home to his clean nappies (note: we start the day with five in the bag and then go from there).
Main pocket main section
- Two complete change of clothes – over the top? Possibly, but our son likes to get messy and we don’t want to get caught short.
- Swimming nappy – in case we end up in a splash park/fountain/river.
- Swimming trunks – see swimming nappy entry.
- Extra hoodie – we live in Britain, so never really have any idea what the weather is going to do.
And that’s it? Yup, that’s it. Hopefully you’ve picked up a few hints and tips that’ll save you and your kid(s) some pain in the future. And if you haven’t? Then I promise that you’ll love my next article and guarantee that you’ll laugh at this song.
Until next time…