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But I Wanted a Smaller Diaper Bag!
February 6, 2008 12:03 pm | by

Taking the whole cloth diapering show on the road can feel like a challenge.

First of all because it does become a show. Cloth diapering is still a novel idea to most people. Even Grandmothers who never used a single disposable will be astonished that you use cloth diapers. They seem to think that it is ludicrous to use the old fashioned stuff when the ease of disposables is to be had for just a few dollars. Every time I change a diaper when we are out and about, someone pokes their head over my shoulder to ask, “Is that a CLOTH diaper?”

Secondly it is a puzzle to figure out what to pack to bring along. Maybe I overthink things, but when you have a few different types of diapers in your stash there is the potential to find yourself with a baby needing a change and a diaper that doesn’t work well with the particular cover you have packed or vice versa. It’s enough to make a mommy want to stay in the house some days!

Allow me to point out that using pockets or AIOs completely solves this problem. No matter what your baby is wearing, you can have a pocket diaper in the diaper bag and be fully ready for a change. But I digress.

While I was pregnant with Lily, I saw a lovely small diaper bag. I had gotten used to just being able to carry a purse around for a while and a small diaper bag seemed like it was a nice compromise. (I kept a diaper and wipes in the car for my toddler son.) But once I tried to pack that tiny diaper bag with all of the stuff needed for a newborn – a spitty one at that – I was toting around a diaper bag with stuff flowing out of it onto the ground. It wasn’t specifically a problem of cloth diapering, but that did contribute. That really wasn’t any more convenient than dragging around my large diaper bag.

I pouted. I wanted this to be easier. (Stop laughing!) I packed my cloth diapers away and swore to use just disposables. But I didn’t really like that solution much either. I needed to get a plan for what I needed to have on hand and stick with it.

There are as many ways to pack a diaper bag as there are moms and dads, but there are some things that just never change: diapers and wipes. That is where to start. Then with cloth diapers you need a wet bag, it is just as important as the diapers themselves. Most of the time you also carry a change of clothes for baby as well. There you have it, that tiny diaper bag is already overflowing! Then you might also add a light blanket, a toy or two, hand sanitizer, pacifier, diaper cream… the list can be endless!

I don’t like to carry two bags around; purse and diaper bag, so I always like to have one pocket in the diaper bag that is mine-all-mine. It holds my wallet, cell phone, calendar, and lip gloss; things I can’t live without! This Christmas I discovered that the reason my cheapo diaper bags weren’t cutting it was that they were cheap, if they had pockets on the inside, there weren’t enough of them. I want to reaching to my diaper bag without looking and be able to find what I need. I also discovered the joys of stroller clips! Those attach your bag to the handle of your stroller instead of just having to put the strap of the bag over it and then try to hold it in place.

There is no one solution I can suggest to fix the classic diaper bag dilemma, at different baby ages, you have different needs for what you bring along. Different places you go will also require different things. A trip to the zoo will required different things in your bag than a trip to church for example.

The only advice I can offer is to invest in a really well made, well thought out diaper bag, then start with only the basics and imagine a few emergencies you might encounter. Out of the house emergencies include, but are not limited too:

Realizing that you have chapped lips
Changing baby only to have him pee all over his clothes
Being stuck in a waiting room much longer than you anticipated
Having to run an extra errand
And so many more things!

So what do YOU pack?

For fun, here is a little Diaper Bag Bingo – see how you do!

Diaper Bag Bingo: Check your diaper bag; see how many spaces you get!






Wet Bag

Cloth wipes

Lip gloss or chapstick for mom

Extra breast pads

Pad of paper or calendar of some sort

Pen, Pencil, or crayon

Wet Bag WITH a wet diaper in it

Extra set of clothes

Other pocket diaper (not bumGenius!)

Bottle or sippy


Cell phone

Dry Diaper

(Free Space)

Baby blanket or burp cloth

Crackers or cereal

Your wallet and/or sunglasses

Diaper cover

Disposable diaper

More than one type or size of diaper

Disposable wipes


Jar of baby food, home prepared baby food

Baby toys

Something that is a complete surprise, that you didn’t put in your bag

Diaper cream and/or butt spray for your cloth wipes

0-4: Short trips only!
5-9: Well Packed
10-14: Ready for anything
15+: How do you carry all that around?

(For the record, I got 18, not counting the Free Space, and I got BINGO down the “O” column!)

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  • Amy said...
    August 31, 2008 at 9:44 pm

    Great post! I had this problem then designed and made my own diaper bag with snap on wet bag…snaps to the outside to free up all the inside room. It’s so nice to be able to cd on the go now!

  • Anonymous said...
    March 10, 2008 at 5:31 pm

    well I got 15 but I still have a small bag. Perfect for me cause I made it that way!

  • gupta.bhumi said...
    March 10, 2008 at 3:45 pm

    I got 8!, I have a 4 month old. O m hoping by the time i plan my second child this one will not need a diaper

  • Becca said...
    March 8, 2008 at 10:49 pm

    Hmmmm… I got 14. But that’s only for a toddler. I wonder how many I will have when I have my newborn AND the toddler.

    The need for a bigger diaper bag is my only drawback for cloth diapering.

    Great post!