When I was pregnant, Rob and I vowed to not let becoming parents change our daily activities. Now, obviously you need to take that with a grain of salt. Having a child obviously changes your life, but we’re active people and even when we’re not traveling, we love getting out of the house a few days a week (if not everyday) to socialize, run errands, and just enjoy the outdoors. A lot of people have asked me what our on-the-go essentials are for baby, and I have to say I feel like we’re pretty minimal with this. I carried a “real diaper bag” for maybe the first month of having Oliver, and then I quickly realized all the extra things were not necessary at all. I wanted to put together a few of my essentials for being on the go with baby. I also included a few things for overnight trips as well, but below you can find what I typically carry with me in a day in my purse or small backpack.
DIAPER BAG/LARGE PURSE
Okay, so like I said I am not a fan of a big diaper bag. I feel like as your kid gets bigger as well, you won’t need as many things. In the beginning, I had this big diaper bag/backpack and loved it. It’s a great unisex design for both mom and dad to carry and has a lot of compartments. As we started to go out more, I realized I didn’t need all that much, and now just carry a purse. Find whatever works for you, and what you’re comfortable with. Here are a few bags below that are a mix of traditional diaper bags (that are still stylish), along with some great purses that can work to carry all your baby essentials too. If I’m not carrying my bag, Rob usually just throws Ollie’s things in his ONA camera bag. (Shown above.)
If you are not breastfeeding, I highly recommend a bottle warmer. For a very long time I would just ask a barista or waiter for a cup of hot water to drop Ollie’s bottle in, and although no one cared and everyone was always very accommodating, it was nice to not have to rely on asking someone. I ordered this bottle warmer and its worked like a charm! The water stays hot for hours and would warm up Oliver’s bottles in less than 5 minutes, which was great for this hungry fellow.
DIAPERS AND WIPES
Can’t go anywhere without your diapers and wipes, right? I usually just keep two in my bag and then replenish at night so that everything is ready to go the next day. We started using Andy Pandy diapers with Oliver since birth and love how they are all natural, made from bamboo without any bleach or additives so they’re safe for babies’ skin. We’ve also used Honest diapers, which are a little easier to find in stores when you’re running low. I feel comfortable putting Oliver in both and haven’t had any leak issues. We hope to transition to cloth diapering down the line and found a wonderful brand, Esembly. I’ll keep you guys posted on that.
I’m a big fan of the baby carrier. We started Ollie very young in the Solly Wrap — it’s super soft and breathable and he always was so comfortable in it. I’m actually getting a little emotional writing about it, thinking back on those early months. He always napped on me while we were out, and it was such a beautiful bonding experience. Ah I miss it! Don’t be intimated with how much material there is — you’ll get the hang of it in no time. Now, Oliver likes the Ergo Baby Omni 360 — it is amazing! Oliver really likes to be carried now facing out when we go to the zoo or botanical garden, so it’s perfect for him. Also, after trying out several carriers for this stage in his life, this turned out to be the safest and most comfortable option for him, being an ergonomic carrier. You can also use this carrier on your back, which is a major plus. We’re looking forward to taking Oliver on hikes in it. I linked to some carriers below… there are so many different ones out there — just find what is comfortable and safe for your baby.
There are so many strollers out there! We have loved our Nuna Mixx stroller. We have used it a lot with the bassinet attachment when Ollie was super little, to the infant seat attachment and now with the front and rear facing seat. It really has it all and those wheels are no joke! I’ve taken this stroller everywhere – from the mall to desert dirt roads. It truly can do it all, and is super pretty, which is always a plus. It’s easy to fold up, which I appreciate as well.
Another stroller favorite is the Doona Car Seat and Stroller Combo. This one folds up into a carseat and then the wheels drop down for easy on the go, still with your baby sleeping in the seat/stroller. It is genius! It also was so great when Oliver was little and we’d be on the go and he’d fall asleep in the car, we were able to just pop the wheels down and be on our merry way. (Also – side note, we always supervised him anytime he fell asleep in the seat/stroller.)
FEEDING ON THE GO: BIB + REUSABLE UTENSILS
Now that Ollie is a little older and he’s been eating solids, we try to eat out with him as much as possible so that he is used to it and comfortable in all different environments. I always carry one of these silicone bibs (the pocket is essential!), along with these reusable utensils (love these!), and placemat for on the go. We usually order him food when we’re out: avocado, toast, carrots, eggs, beans, rice, etc…., but if I’m unsure there will be something for him to eat while out, I pack some pre-made food I prepared in a Stasher bag. These small ones are great for him.
TEETHER + PACIFIER
Throughout every stage I have never left the house without a little bibdana on Oliver. They’re cute with his outfit and are great for attaching a pacifier or teething toy. These wooden pacifier clips are great for either, and now that he’s ditched the pacifier and is teething like crazy, I find these teething toys are great as well. Even if your baby isn’t using a pacifier anymore, I feel like these clips are so useful for multiple toys to sooth sore gums or just have a little toy attached. Linked some favorites below…
BOOK + TOY
I don’t bring a lot of toys when we go out. Oliver always has his teether, mentioned above, along with a book in my bag and additional toy. Right now he’s loving this soft giraffe. This knit rattle has been a favorite in the past too. I try to rotate out what I carry with me every other week or so. As far as books, this baby faces board book is a favorite and small, making it perfect to throw in your bag.
This is the only true travel essential I added on this list, that is more than just being on the go with your kid on a typical day, but figured I’d add it anyway. We’ve used the Lotus Travel Crib. The mattress isn’t too cushiony, it kind of takes on whatever surface it is put on, so after reading some reviews we decided to put a thick blanket UNDER the entire crib (not in the crib), just so that it’s a little more comfortable. I really like how it folds up into a backpack and is very compact. We’ve just done some local overnight trips, but I feel like this would be great to travel with on a plane if you needed to, and throw it in the overhead compartment.
EXTRA ON THE GO ITEMS
I think that about sums it up. I know some people throw in an extra onesie or outfit if needed, which is always great for back up. I make sure we always have a blanket and sweater/layer in the car for Oliver just incase a restaurant is cold, or he needs a little extra padding in a highchair (hence the blanket). While we’re talking about highchairs, a reader recently recommended this travel highchair, that folds up so nicely, for restaurants that don’t have highchairs. I felt a little weird, because if a restaurant doesn’t have a high chair, it probably means they don’t want kids there, but obviously just use your judgment. It’s so nice because it attaches right onto the table and your baby could be at the same level with you vs a little lower with a traditional restaurant highchair. We have loved it so far!
*More Baby + Parenthood posts HERE.