When I had only one kid, I would typically leave my house with a diaper bag that contained all the new mom essentials. “What are the new mom essentials?” you ask. Oh, you know, just the basics, or things like multiple burp cloths, diapers, snacks, hand sanitizer, wipes, clothing, Band-aids, toys, flashlights, strobe lights, spare tires, and tents.
Basically my diaper bag contained everything that I thought I would need if, by chance, my car broke down and some strange ship transplanted me on a foreign island with my baby. Yes, and along with my diaper bag, I would also carry a huge purse, which was usually filled to the brim with water bottles, snacks, diapers, wipes, lip glosses, umbrellas, and even some old string (sung in the same tune as that line in the Barney Bag song).
Like most new moms, I carried a lot of baggage, but I didn’t mind it all because I thought I needed it all.
But then I had my second child. And it was then that I realized that carrying it all along with a toddler and newborn was impractical…and hard. So then I got wiser. I streamlined my one diaper bag so that it could work for my two kids. And our outings have been a lot less stressful ever since.
“How did you do it?” you ask. Well, to begin, I pack only want I need. This means:
Rather than packing multiples of everything, pack only multiples of things that you’d need multiples of in a single outing (i.e., multiple wipes, diapers).
For my newborn, I pack:
- a nursing cover
- two pacifiers
- four diapers
- a bib
- one change of clothing
- two burp cloths.
For my toddler, I pack:
- a drinking cup
- four diapers
- one change of clothing.
For them both, I include a portable changing mat, hand wipes, and Band-aids.
Think about your children’s needs on a day-to-day basis. I only pack what we need on any given day. No more. No less.
Some other things I do to make room for two:
Remove any extra and unnecessary linings in your diaper bag, if possible. My bag contained a lot of supportive linings that took away valuable storage space. By removing the lining, I was able to store more of my essentials.
Leave just enough room for your purse/personal belongings. I am a huge fan of huge, massive bags, but motherhood has necessitated that I use smaller bags when traveling with my kids. My rule of thumb for a new bag now is that it must fit in my diaper bag after everything else is packed in the bag. Because my purse is smaller, I can only carry my necessities (i.e., my wallet, my cell phone, hand sanitizer, needed receipts, one or two lip glosses.) You could also ditch your purse and just use an inner pocket of your diaper bag to pack your essentials.
Other Good Practices
Do a “stock” check of your diaper bag regularly. To ensure I always leave the house with all I need, I do a check of my diaper bag every two days.
And lastly, and unless you need to do a refill, you should leave your diaper bag in the car. I’m sure you began doing this with one child, but with two children, this rule becomes even more imperative. Trust me.
With some planning and thought on your part, you’ll find that packing a single diaper bag for two is relatively easy and well-worth the effort.