How to Pack a Diaper Bag

Medically Reviewed by Mary Sweeney, BSN, RN, CEN
Updated
Pack your diaper bag like a pro with these diaper bag organization ideas.

Are you tired of digging through your diaper bag for five minutes, just to find your baby’s pacifier?

Having an organized diaper bag can save you time, space, and hassle. But how can you pack everything you need while still keeping your bag in order?

Here are four simple steps to organize your diaper bag, our favorite organization-friendly diaper bags, and exactly what you should keep in your bag.


Diaper Bag Organization Tricks

Here are some of my favorite diaper bag organization tips and tricks.

  • Keep it minimal because the more you pack, the harder it will be to keep organized.
  • Get a bag with lots of compartments, including outside pockets.
  • Store pacifiers in a baby food container.
  • Use a wet/dry bag or doggie poop bags for soiled clothes and diapers.
  • Get a bag with an attached changing pad.
  • Use a filing system.
  • Sugar SNAP file system: This filing system is customizable and easy to use. It comes with five different sections, all different sizes. Each section also has a high-quality label on top, which you can change out. The nice thing is that the sections come on a ring, so you don’t have to use all five if you don’t want to; you can remove as needed.
  • Mesh pouches or pencil cases also make great diaper bag organizers, and you can color-code them for easy finding.
  • Make different kits, store them in your house, and only pack them when you need them. For example, you could create a summer kit with sunscreen, a sun hat, and bug spray. You could also make a restaurant kit, filled with baby utensils, a feeding bib, and a splashmat.
  • Use sample sizes when possible. When getting samples of diaper cream, baby wipes, baby lotion, etc., reserve them for your diaper bag to save up some space.
  • Store items in the car when you can. As your baby grows, you can start storing a change of clothes in the car, freeing up some space in your diaper bag.

How to Pack Your Diaper Bag

Now that you have picked a good diaper bag, storage accessories, and exactly what you need in your bag, it’s time to get packing!

Here are the four simple steps I take when organizing my diaper bag:

  1. Unzip every compartment and dump everything out.
  2. Get rid of everything you don’t need.
  3. While you have your bag emptied, it may be a good idea to go ahead and clean your diaper bag.
  4. Start loading your diaper bag by zones. Keep zones together by compartment or mesh bags. We suggest the following order:
  • Pack diapers, wipes, diaper cream, and wet bag.
  • Include an extra pair of baby clothes.
  • Pack feeding accessories (bottles, sippy cup, snacks, bib, burp cloth, etc.).
  • Roll up the swaddle blanket and store in an inside compartment.
  • Baby entertainment.
  • Mommy’s essentials.

Easiest Diaper Bags To Organize

Choosing the best diaper bag will go a long way in staying organized. Lots of external and internal pockets, an insulated pocket(s), and an attached changing pad keep your bag perfectly packed.

You will also be using this bag for years to come, especially if you plan on having multiple kids, so it’s not a bad idea to splurge and invest in a heavy duty bag, resistant to wear and tear.

Here are some of my favorite organization-friendly diaper bags:

1. Columbia Outfitter Messenger

Product Image of the Columbia Outfitter Messenger Diaper Bag, Black

Also not the most stylish of bags, but your significant other will love and feel comfortable using this bag.

Messenger bags are nice because you have access to everything without actually ever having to take the bag off.

The Columbia Outfitter Messenger includes a total of 13 interior and exterior pockets, perfect for wipes, food, bibs, or even your wallet, and keys.

There is also an easy-to-reach insulated bottle pocket and a padded changing pad.

2. Skip Hop Grand Central

Product Image of the Skip Hop 0, Black & White Stripe

This Skip Hop Grand Central is a fashionable option with many storage compartments – three large divided sections and 11 pockets, including two exterior zip pockets.

One of the pockets is a clear wipe-clean zip pocket, great to store your baby’s dirty clothes or any lotion or sunscreen, without leaks.

This bag also has a toy loop, two insulated bottle pockets, and adjustable stroller straps to attach the bag to the stroller instead of carrying it when walking around.

3. Ju-Ju-Be B.F.F. Convertible

Product Image of the JuJuBe B.F.F Multi-Functional Convertible Diaper Backpack/Messenger Bag, Coastal...

You can use this bag either as a messenger or backpack diaper bag, and it has a top handle.

It features seven interior pockets, three exterior pockets, and an attached stretch key fob, which is useful because I can never seem to find my keys.

This diaper bag also includes a memory foam changing pad and insulated exterior bottle pockets.

Plus, there is a pocket in front to store your cell phone, wallet, and whatever else you may need.

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Diaper Bag Checklist

What you keep in your diaper bag, will depend on the season, your personal preferences, and your baby’s age. You will need to change it out as needed, but here is a basic checklist to follow.

  • Diapers – I like to pack one diaper for every hour we will be out, plus one extra one.
  • Baby Wipes.
  • Diaper cream.
  • A wet bag or doggie poop bag for soiled diapers/clothes.
  • Change of clothes.
  • Burp cloth.
  • Bib(s).
  • Hand sanitizer.
  • Baby Bottles and breastmilk or formula.
  • Sippy cup for your older baby or toddler.
  • Emergency snacks for you and your older baby or toddler.
  • Blanket – swaddle blankets are useful to keep in your diaper bag because you can roll them up small. They are also great nursing covers and can shield your baby from the sun and mosquitoes.
  • A few toys and books.
  • Mommy’s essentials (phone, wallet, keys).
  • Seasonal supplies (sunscreen and mosquito repellant in summer, jacket, and hat in the cooler months).

Stay Organized For Your Sanity

Having a messy diaper bag can make it challenging to find anything and can be overwhelming, especially when your baby is bawling their little head off. So save yourself the time and hassle by keeping your diaper bag in order.

Choose a sturdy diaper bag with lots of compartments and pockets. By sticking to the necessities, using a filing system, and loading your bag by zones, you can keep your diaper bag perfectly organized.

Headshot of Mary Sweeney, BSN, RN, CEN

Medically Reviewed by

Mary Sweeney, BSN, RN, CEN

Mary Sweeney, BSN, RN, CEN is an oncology nurse navigator and freelance medical writer. Mary has 4 years of experience as an officer in the Navy Nurse Corps. including emergency/trauma, post-anesthesia, and deployment medicine.
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