The Cloth Diaper Bag – What To Pack? Checklist


Here’s what you need to pack in your cloth diaper bag

  • A diaper for every two hours you plan to be away from home
  • 2 extra diaper covers
  • An extra diaper fastener (snappi, pins, or boingo)
  • Wipes
  • If you are using cloth wipes pack a water bottle or something to wet the wipes
  • Wet bag for storing soiled diapers & clothes
  • Cloth diaper safe diaper rash cream (Check out Thirsties Booty Love Diaper Ointment)

Standard Diaper Bag Items

You’re all set to cloth diaper your baby on the go! There are a few more things you’ll want to throw in the diaper bag, along with your cloth diapers.

  • Extra outfit for baby & socks
  • Blanket
  • Burp cloths
  • Bib
  • Changing mat
  • Nursing cover
  • Bottles – milk/formula
  • Pacifier & clip
  • Nursing pads
  • Baby carrier
  • Small clutch bag with minimal essential items (one diaper change)
  • For older children – pack a sippy, snacks, toys/books
  • For yourself – Phone, keys, wallet, water bottle, snack, & an extra shirt

The Ever-Changing Diaper Bag

I am diapering my third child now, and the contents of my diaper bag have changed drastically over the years. I carried about 3 bags around with me after I had my first baby. I would’ve packed the washing machine and dryer had I been able to fit them in the van. I packed extras for my extras. People looked at me, and all my bags, and thought I was headed to the airport to go overseas.

These days, sometimes I forget the diaper bag entirely. Yes, I have done that multiple times. Yes, my gracious sister-in-law let me borrow her kid’s cloth diaper. How embarrassing!

I have gotten pretty minimalist with my diaper bag. I pack the bare-bones essentials now. Diapers, wipes, wet bag, onesie, & pacifier. I like to pack flat diapers because they are so multipurpose, and they take up less space than bulkier diapers, like prefolds. I can use my flats as a nursing cover, a blanket, a burp cloth, or a changing mat. It saves so much space in the bag.

Your diaper bag will likely evolve over time as well. The essentials will change as your baby grows from newborn to toddler, and your perception of what is essential may change as you have more children. If you have a lot of children you might actually need 3 bags!

Good Diaper Bags For Cloth Diapers

Cloth diapers take up more space in a diaper bag than disposable diapers do. The average diaper bag is not designed for cloth. You pack your cloth diapers and they take up all the real estate, leaving no room for other items that you need.

My diaper bags would be stuffed to the max and spilling out of the top. When I would need to get something out of the bag, I would have to dig out most of the contents just to find whatever I was looking for. This was extremely frustrating, especially with a fussing baby!

A big diaper bag is essential when you are using cloth. You are going to want something with a lot of space, that way you can pack whatever you want, and still be able to look in and easily find what you need.

When you are shopping for a cloth diaper bag or considering upgrading your current bag, bigger is always better! Check out my article on the best cloth diaper bags here.

Keeping Your Bag Clean & Tidy

Something people often forget to consider when purchasing their bag is how easy it will be to keep clean. A machine-washable diaper bag is super convenient. I like having two diaper bags, that way I can rotate them when one needs to be washed. Diaper bags can fill up with crumbs and get grungy very fast! I made the mistake of picking a diaper bag with a white chevron print. Here is a helpful tip, pick a color or print that will hide stains and dirt.

If you are an over-packer you might find yourself throwing in extra stuff before leaving the house. I find that emptying out the diaper bag occasionally and checking to see what you already have packed helps you to keep your bag spacious and organized. If you are always packing extra, without ever looking to see what’s already in the bag, you will stuff your bag too full and make it difficult to find what you need. I have been amazed at how many onesies I can accumulate in my bag over time.

Lots of inner and outer pockets are great for keeping things organized. Having designated pockets for certain items like snappis or covers will making changing time go much more smoothly because you won’t be digging around trying to find stuff. You usually only have one hand to work with when you are changing a baby, so keeping things in the same place will save you a lot of frustration.

Another great tip I have learned is to keep a small diaper bag clutch inside my diaper bag, or strapped onto the outside of it. I keep one diaper change and minimal essential items in the clutch. There are times when I do not want to carry around a big diaper bag. I can just grab the clutch bag when running into a store or some other place that I know I will not be very long. I’ll keep one diaper and a small container that holds just a few wipes in this clutch. Find one with a nice strap on it, and it can function as a purse, or you could hook it onto your purse. Some even come with changing mats built-in, like the Skip Hop Pronto. It also has a nice small case for wipes.

It can be stressful when getting your diaper bag around, trying to remember everything you need, wondering if you are forgetting something. I cannot count how many times I have left the house and realized I forgot a wet bag, or the pacifier, or something I desperately needed. Print out a checklist, hang it on your refrigerator, and glance at it before leaving the house. This way you’ll always be prepared with everything you need when you’re on the go with your baby!

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