It’s all a bit complicated leaving the house with a baby. No more grabbing your keys and phone and being out the door in 2 minutes (sorry!).
Now, you first have to consider whether your newborn may get hungry while you’re out, whether they (or you!) might need a change of clothes, how many nappies they’ll possibly get through, and how you’re going to get all that – and more – in your baby changing bag.
Here are some top tips to help make getting out and about easier for you.
Here’s what every parent needs to pack in a baby changing bag
Some people like big baby changing bags they can fill to the brim; others like something a little smaller and more streamlined. So, to cater to everyone, we’ve divided this list into the absolute essentials and the (really) nice-to-haves…
The 12 absolute essentials
Baby wipes: Do NOT leave home without these – ever! Whether they’re for cleaning messy faces, wiping dirty bums or sweeping crumbs off a table, we can tell you right now you’ll find more use for these than anything else in your changing bag. Lidl’s Lupilu great-value baby range features a selection of wipes, including New Born Baby Wipes and new environmentally-friendly Biodegradable Wipes that are 99.1% water, extra-sensitive and come in 100% recyclable packaging.
Nappies: Look out for ones that are super-absorbent, comfortable and easy to fasten. Lidl’s Lupilu nappy range, with sizes from birth to toddler and beyond, was a big winner at this year’s MadeForMums Awards, winning the seal of approval of parents for such innovations as a navel-friendly recess to accommodate a newborn’s umbilical cord and impressively leak-preventing Magical Tube technology. Prices start from just 79p a pack.
Nappy cream: Good nappy creams are mild, thick and soothing, like Sudocrem. For your bag, you’ll need a pot or tube that is small and simple to open (preferably 1-handed).
Nappy sacks: You can easily find affordable nappy sacks: simply tear off a few for your bag, rather than taking the whole pack with you.
Travel changing mat: Many baby changing bags come with a folding travel changing mat included but, if you’re repurposing a favourite rucksack as your changing bag, or you love your changing bag but wish the mat included was a bit bigger/more padded, you can buy one online for under £10.
Hand sanitiser: Important right now for coronavirus protection, but actually key at all times, in case you find yourself changing a nappy somewhere without hand-washing facilities. In fact, you may find you go through antibacterial hand gel quite quickly, so it’s worth stocking up on a few bottles of at a time.
Breastfeeding essentials: A couple of spare breast pads and a spare top (in case the pads don’t stop the leak). Plus, either a muslin (see below) or a breastfeeding cover (see this pick of the best breastfeeding covers) for times when you want to/need to feed more discreetly.
AND/OR Bottle-feeding essentials: If you’re bottle-feeding or combination-feeding, you’ll need to think about how to carry and store your formula safely when you’re out. Some parents prefer to make up bottles as needed (in which case you’ll need sterilised bottles, pre-measured amounts of formula powder, plus a flask of hot, boiled water); others prefer to stash a ready-mixed formula carton or 2 (and sterilised bottles) in their changing bag. What’s not recommended is to make up bottles in advance and take them with you to give to your baby later (read more about How to make up formula safely)
A muslin: The ultimate comforter/posset-catcher/breastfeeding cover/changing mat warmer/temporary blanket/wiper-up-of-sick (not all at once, obviously).
Change of baby clothes: Yes, you’re only popping out for 15 minutes but, trust us, that’ll be the time your baby springs a leak in their nappy or sicks up milk all over their babygro.
Dummy (if your baby has one): Handy for any unexpected fraught moments.
Drinks and snacks. For yourself – and, later on, your baby, once they are weaned. Weaning may be some time off, but it’s worth committing to memory now that a banana is not a good changing-bag baby-snack choice: it will get squashed and if any fruit squidges out of the skin, it stains like the blazes. Instead, pick up more clothes-friendly baby-snack options such as Lidl’s Lupilu Organic Carrot Sticks or Farley’s Rusks.
Your own handbag essentials (purse, phone, keys etc). Yes, you could take a handbag along with your changing bag, but life’s so much easier when everything’s in just the 1 bag.
The 8 nice-to-haves
Sterilising wipes: These have a whole host of different purposes, such as cleaning dummies when they’ve fallen onto the ground. They’re also useful for wiping down highchairs in restaurants.
A hat: A sun hat for the summer months and a warm hat for the winter.
A teether: For babies with sore gums who’d grizzle without something to gnaw on. Teething granules or gel can also be useful.
A toy or cloth book. Just the thing to unpack for baby entertainment when you’re waiting at the baby clinic or changing a nappy. Add in a colouring or sticker book when your child gets to toddler stage – for moments where you need your child to be quiet or sit still (if you have a doctor’s appointment, for example)
A bib or bandana: Handy for babies who are drooling as they teethe and, later, for weaning babies who’ll need some solid food while you’re out.
Mini first aid kit: A little kit with antiseptic wipes, plasters, pouches of child pain-relief suspension and painkillers for yourself is super useful – particularly if you’re at the toddler stage and a scraped knee can quickly ruin a day out.
Reusable wet bags: The perfect place to stow any wet clothes or dirty reusable wipes that need to come home with you. They roll up really small for packing and are environmentally friendly.
Portable phone charger: Keep a portable phone battery charger in your changing bag – just in case. If you use your phone as a camera, it can be really easy to run out of battery on a day out.
For a wide range of baby changing-bag must-haves, including nappy sacks, nappy cream, award-winning nappies, biodegradable wipes, snacks and baby toiletries, explore Lidl’s Lupilu baby range.
How many nappies? How many wipes?
Of course, the number of nappies and nappy sacks you need to pack will vary depending on how old your child is and how long you will be going out for, but use this as a handy rule of thumb:
Nappies: 1 for every hour you’ll be out, plus 1 extra
Nappy sacks: 1 for every hour you’ll be out, plus 3 extra
Wipes: At least half a pack for every trip – more if you’re out for a full day or have multiple children
Baby clothes: 2 changes for a newborn; 1 change for an older child