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Tuesday, May 6, 2014

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Summertime Diaper Bag Essentials

When Little Guy was born, our diaper bag was full for every possible newborn need on the go. Then winter came, our outings got shorter, and we whittled our supplies down to the bare minimum of a diaper, some wipes, a wetbag and maybe an extra outfit.

But summer is here! To the park! To the zoo! To the lake! To the friend’s house with lots of lawn and play equipment! To the … you name it!

Since we’re out of the house for longer stretches and Little Guy is increasingly more mobile, I’m finding I need more “schtuff” to make it through the day and not have to improvise at every turn.

Here’s our list of what’s in our everyday and “specialized” bags:

General Diaper Bag
Get a bag that is large enough to hold what you need, but small enough for you to carry whilst wrangling your munchkins. We use the Skip Hop Grand Central.

Diapers: We use Thirsties All-In-Ones or Rumparooz Pocket diapers stuffed with a padfolded Osocozy flat and a Thirsties hemp insert when we’re on the go.

Cloth Wipes and Spray Bottle: Bring extra wipes for everything from changing diapers to wiping down faces and hands before eating to cleaning up spills on the carseat from all the snacks you packed. My favorites are the generic Flannel Baby Wipes – cheap enough that I don’t care if they get “ruined”, but tough enough for any job. A simple travel spray bottle will wet the wipe quickly.

Hat: Since Little Guy likes to take things off (bib, socks, hats …), we’ve opted for one with attachments that he can’t figure out (yet). The Sun Hat by My Swim Baby comes in three colors, and they’re all reversible!

Sunscreen: All natural and small enough to fit in the diaper bag, Episencial Sunny Sunscreen SPF 35 does the trick!

Sunglasses: Mostly for Mama. But lots of kids enjoy having their own set, too! Consider getting sunglass head straps to keep them on your kid and off the nearest lawn, never to be seen again.

First Aid: Little Guy is in shorts all the time, and crawling all over cement, sand, bark, and grass. CJ’s BuTTer helps heal the scuffs and wounds; I put a small amount from our giant tub of Monkey Farts in a repurposed container. Bandages, antiseptic wipes, and BALM! Baby First Aid Balm complete the small stash. The American Red Cross has a full list of items you can keep in your car for emergencies.

Wetbags: If you keep two medium sized wet bags with you, you’ll have one for dirty diapers, and one for wet and/or dirty clothes. We love the PlanetWise in Hoot and Organic Silver Scroll.

Snacks: Healthy, filling snacks are essential on the go, for mamas and babies alike! Avoid crankiness from fluctuating blood sugars and keep your favorite trail mix in Planet Wise’s reusable snack bag, or your little one’s apple slices in their zippered sandwich bags.

Water: Spending your day in the sun can be grand, until you get home and realize how dehydrated you are! Make sure you have age-appropriate water bottles for both you and your little ones.

Extra Clothes: When Little Guy was a newborn, the extra clothes were for when he’d spit up all over himself. Now, they’re for when he’s decided that a dirt patch is the greatest play area ever, and we’re not done with our stops for the day.

Swaddle Blanket: Use it as a swaddle. Tuck it into your car window as a sunshade. Cover car seats when they’re not in use so the buckles don’t get too hot. Lay it out for your little one to play on. Use it as a changing pad. Wipe up spills and messy faces. The uses are endless!

“Specialty” Bag
A duffel, cloth grocery bag, or even a cardboard box in the trunk of your car all work nicely.

Swim Diaper: We’re going with Apple Cheeks’ Swim Diaper – a staple to own multiples of, and definitely a diaper that will get scuffed up a bit from playing in the sand and the dirt!

Swim Shirt: UV Protection at SPF 50+ means no reapplying gobs of sunscreen to your kids’ entire body, just arms and legs. We like the My Swim Baby UV Shirts for the basic colors that go with everything. And not all clothing has UV protection! Live near a pool, wading pool or the beach? Consider getting a couple of these.

Life Jacket: Most city community centers or sporting goods stores will have a sale on these at some point in the season. Get one if you’re going to be in anything deeper than a wading pool!

Stroller and/or baby carrier: Our soft-structured carrier goes wherever we go, and we double check to make sure Little Guy won’t get too hot with our shared body heat and too many layers of clothing. Our stroller comes in handy for longer days when we have lots of things to carry, like a trip to the zoo where we bring our own lunch.

Picnic Blanket: A large blanket (possibly with a waterproof side) or beach towel that everyone can sit on always comes in handy.

Bubbles: Bring whatever outside toys your kids like to play with in the pool, on the lawn, or at the playground. In our house, bubbles, chalk and balls of any size are all sure winners.

There you have it! The summertime essentials for our family.

I’m sure you all have your lists of “must pack this” items for your outings – share your ideas in the comments!

Bio: Stephanie is a wife to Peter and stay at home mom of Little Guy. She loves Jesus, taking care of her family, sunshine, coffee, and a good book. She blogs about life over at The [Almost] Nerdy Wife.

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