Diapers and Wipes
These two items must be at the top of any diaper bag checklist. Keep 3-4 diapers and a small (80 ct.) package of wipes with you at all times. Stuff a few plastic sacks in your bag too for wrapping up soiled clothes and dirty diapers.
Most diaper bags come with portable changing pads. If yours doesn't, buy a portable diaper changing kit that's treated with anti-bacterial sealant and folds down for compact storage. Diaper changing kits are handy when you want leave your big bag in the car but bring the absolute essentials with you for a short walk or trip.
Snacks and Sippy Cups
Clothes and Calming Devices
Murphy's Law states that the one time you leave home without a change of clothes is the time that your little one will slip into a pile of dog poop at the park or spill an entire portion of pudding down her dress. Avoid rummaging by packing a clean outfit inside a big ziplock bag that you can quickly grab, empty and refill with the dirty outfit. Remember to replace your emergency outfit when you get home.
Include hand sanitizer, sunscreen and a pacifier or, if your child is older, favorite blanket or stuffed animal that he can use to calm himself down so that you don't have to cut your excursion short.
Finally, if you're not carrying a separate purse, remember to hide your wallet, keys, cell phone, emergency contact information, sunglasses, nursing pads and a new shirt for yourself in the diaper bag.
Apply the Boy Scouts motto of “be prepared” as you fill up your diaper bag. Bring what you think you'll need but don't bring the kitchen sink.