You’d think that once your baby’s out of the infant phase, you’d be able to leave the diaper bag behind. Not so! Your bag will be lighter (yay!), but no mama wants to be stuck without a few toddler essentials when away from home. And by “essentials,” I mostly mean snacks, because really that’s what makes a kid’s life go round.
After you’ve had to lug around a package of diapers (because we all know newborns go through them like water), two changes of clothing, multiple creams, bottles, and more, it feels SO great to be able to downsize a little. As our babes grow, so does their independence, and that means we get to pack a little less. So here are the essentials you need in an efficient toddler bag:
Start with a great bag
Lots of pockets are a plus, and backpack straps make life (and chasing a toddler) that much easier.
Snacks are pretty much the center of a toddling babe’s world since a full belly usually means a happy baby. Pouches, sippy cups, and puffs will be a life (and sanity) saver. Since they’re available in a variety of flavors, the kiddos have something to choose from, and there’s no room in them for anything but the good stuff: no added sugar and no artificial sweeteners, flavors, or colors. Pouches are totally a go-to, since they’re easy to throw in the bag, don’t have to be refrigerated, and kids seriously get excited to eat their fruit!
Okay, so diapers and wipes are still a must. And really, even as a toddler potty trains, wipes will still be an essential for a long time; sticky fingers are not a welcome
friend. The good thing is that as our little ones grow, fewer diapers are needed, leaving more space in our bags for things we actually need, like a wallet and phone.
Preferably ointment with coconut oil and essential oils, but you should bring along whatever balm works for you. All-in-one balm or ointment can be used in multiple ways and cuts down on the clutter. Ours gets used for diapers, cuts, stings, boo-boos, dry skin, and more.
Organized mamas need something to take notes, make lists, and write down reminders. Sometimes a good old fashioned pen and paper is faster and more reliable.
Another plus? Hand over a highlighter and it will keep your little ones distracted and quiet if you need to focus on something else for a few moments.
Have you ever tried going out to eat with wee ones? Or have a long car ride in your future? Sometimes their favorite sing-a-long will actually give you a chance at an adult conversation…you know, with other live adults!
You never know when an impromptu playdate at the park may happen, and it’s best to be prepared to protect that sweet skin.
While carrying around two extra outfits isn’t really necessary at this point, it is still helpful to have an extra top, and if your little one is potty training, an extra set of bottoms as well. For this, just choose non-bulky clothing that’s easy to roll up so you have more room for other essentials.
Instead of carrying sanitizing wipes, hand sanitizer, and more, keep a small spray bottle of sanitizing spray close by. Make your own with witch hazel, essential oils,
and water and use it to spray dirty hands, tables, changing tables, shopping carts, and more.
A small pouch
It works wonders for those few extra things you may need, like lip balm, pain reliever, hair ties, and coins. Also keep a small scarf or blanket handy just in case a little someone gets sleepy or wants to nurse, a restaurant or store is cold, or we make a stop at the beach and need a “towel.”