The key is to pack light and efficiently. Don't over do it, or your body will pay for it later. Just because your diaper bag has all of that space, doesn't mean that you have to use all of it (and maybe you'll need to use that space for something else).
The Diaper Bag
These days, diaper bags come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. At my baby shower I was gifted a great diaper bag with a shoulder strap which we love, but it got to the point where it was just too heavy and bulky. I eventually came across diaper backpacks and I have to say whoever came up with these is a genius!
I know, the first thing you think of when it comes to a diaper bag is diapers of course. But how many do you pack? Well, it depends on the length of your trip and how often you have to change your little one. For us, I usually pack 2-4 diapers and our trips usually range from a half an hour to about 4 hours at the longest. Just remember that each baby is different so pack as many as you think will last the trip, just don't pack diapers and leave room for nothing else in your bag. Something you may also want to include are of course wipes. I suggest the normal size of wipes (about the size of a letter envelope) but depending on space, there are also smaller sizes.
Bottles are a given. Whether you just take one or go with a couple it's up to you and the length of your trip. If you are feeding your little one formula you can also get premixed bottles and pack those as well. Once the doctor says it's ok to start feeding baby food, you can food either in containers or jars (however it comes) with the utensils needed, just not the whole drawer.
I can't tell you how easy it is to overpack with blankets! Baby will always need one so depending on the weather or season you will need to chose wisely. We live in a warmer climate so I usually go with soft muslin blankets. I keep one in the car and in the diaper bag. Muslin blankets are great because they can keep baby either warm or cool, whichever is needed and they're also great as a breastfeeding cover for a feeding on the go!
Our baby was a C-Section baby and like most C-Section babies she had some breathing and swallowing problems in the beginning so the nasal aspirator was a must. I mean we took that thing everywhere for the first couple of months (even if it was the next room) because you just never know. Something else you may want to consider is a small travel thermometer. Let's face it, babies get sick. It's always an added bonus if you have one handy, just in case. Lotions are also great to keep on hand. Our baby had really dry skin about 2 weeks after she was born and our doctor suggested a non-scented lotion for her which we still keep handy. Also for the hotter months, sunscreen is a must! Babies burn very easily and you want to keep your little one safe when you're out in the sun!
Accidents happen and sometimes its best to pack an extra outfit if you have the space. An extra onesie and pair of socks (and sweater depending on the weather) are usually good enough.
Does your little one have a favorite toy or book? How about a baby mirror? Bring it. Sometimes peek-a-boo just won't cut it and you need some backup. Also, some extra bonding time is great for everyone!
We would've never thought that our baby was starting the beginning stages of teeth at a little over 2 months but there we were. With that in mind, I highly suggest at least packing a teething accessory of some sort, but me personally I try to always have a teething necklace on hand at all times. Bibs are also a must. Although our baby is a happy baby she sometimes spits up and drools and a bib comes in super handy. Pacifiers are also great for self soothing, because sometimes baby is cranky and needs a little "me" time.
Extras You May Want to Think About
Ever since we got the green light from the doctor to take the baby out (and she got her 2 month shots) we took our little one out a little more with each trip, even if it was to the grocery store and we learned alot. Something that no one every thought to tell me was to bring a bag to put dirty diapers in. I mean what are parents supposed to do if they're on the road and don't have a trash can handy? Bring your own bag, even if it's a plastic one, it will make everyone involved alot happier. Also, your baby is going to spit up. Alot. And if you're like me, sometimes you won't notice it until you're in the checkout line at Target. Bring an extra shirt. Lastly, depending on your view on baby wearing you can pack either an inexpensive sling or wrap as well (because you never know when you will be in a situation where you'll need one). I have a sling that easily folds up flat and I put in the front pocket of my diaper bag, it's such a life saver.
Just remember, these are all suggestions based on a new mama's experience. Every baby is different and you little one may have different needs. In the end it's all about you and your baby!
Note: This post was originally written for The Vintage Honey Shop