As a new mother, I loaded myself up with all the seeming essentials every time I left the house. In one hand was the stroller, on the other arm was my purse and the monstrous diaper bag, and if I could manage it in one trip, the baby in his car seat in that hand. All those essentials combined could have easily tipped the scales at an additional sixty pounds weighing on my frame. It always felt like I had been powerlifting once I finally got everything stashed and slipped behind the wheel.
Over the next ten years, I had three more children. With each child, my diaper bag diminished excessively and I thought I’d share my secrets with other sore armed mothers.
The first secret in decreasing the load of your diaper bag is to breastfeed. Who knew there were benefits to breastfeeding beyond the health of your child? Breastfeeding your baby requires no bottle preparation, nor the packing of bottles in cooler bags with ice packs.
If you’re unable to breastfeed for whatever reason or that’s simply not something you choose to do, it adds to the weight of the bag, but you have an option. If you know you’re going to be in a place where tap water is accessible, simply add powder formula to the bottles and mix in the water as needed, but remember to have prepared one at least so you’re not caught in an emergency.
Sippy cups for babies no longer on the bottle are great, but be sure to select those than can be cleaned easily on the go. Any cup with a straw like attachment is a bit tricky to properly clean.
Diapers are a necessity that can’t be overlooked, but there’s no need to bring an entire container of baby wipes with you. Some companies have made it easy by including travel packs in their assortment of products. If you don’t have one on hand, a ziplocked baggie will keep the moisture locked in.
An older baby fusses for food at some point, so being prepared to deliver snacks is a must. There are nifty, little containers for just such a purpose, but they aren’t necessary and take up space. Ziplocked baggies are convenient for snack storage as well as wipes. For the snacks themselves, keep in mind that dry is lighter. Crackers and cereals are excellent choices.
A change of clothes in case of possible accidents is a good idea, but try to select something simple like a one-piece outfit.
If you just can’t live without including things such as a pair of baby clippers and a thermometer, go ahead and include them. Keep in mind though that it’s doubtful you’ll need them on short excursions.
What about the diaper bag itself?
There are marvelous diaper bags no bigger than the size of an average lunch bag on the market. They manage to downsize compartmentalization to the extreme. A blessing for mothers indeed.
However, there’s one more trick to compressing the baby’s essentials. Simply use a large purse or backpack for both you and the baby. Any formula company representative who enters a Goodwill store and notes the pristine condition of the diaper bags his company sent out to new mothers during their stay in a hospital will wonder in bemusement, but you’ll be smiling your way to the grocery store with your arm still intact.