14 things you’ll need in your baby bag, and the one thing you should NEVER leave home without!

14 essentials for your baby bag

This post is bought to you by Woolworths Baby & Toddler Club

As she took a shower, she watched him, carefully strapped into his bouncer chair on the bathroom floor.

She dried herself quickly as he started to fuss for food again.

She nursed him with the damp towel still wrapped around her, and looked anxiously at the clock.

She changed his nappy, and dressed him in a fresh, stripy onesie.

Minutes floated by as she fell into his clear, blue eyes.

She threw on her favourite jeans, a battered pair of Converse, and one of the few tops she had that she could comfortably breastfeed him in.

She quickly fashioned her hair into a messy bun (mentally thanking whoever it was who decreed that this was a legit hairstyle, when in truth it was the laziest thing she’d done with her hair, ever).

She smoothed on tinted sunscreen, a swipe of concealer under those bags, a slick of mascara, and checked the clock again.

As she headed towards the front door, she grabbed the essentials for her day out: the baby bag her buddies from work had given her at the baby shower, keys, purse, and her treasure – The Baby, nestled into his car capsule, eyes half closed in milk-drunk bliss.

Within minutes of arriving at her second Mother’s Group meeting, she found out she’d not put the nappy on properly, and he’d leaked all over that fresh onesie.

At the same time, a kind-looking woman in the group delicately pointed out the vomit mark that started on her shoulder and stretched down, down, down her back.”

Taking in deep breaths and holding back tears, she fumbled around in the depths of her baby bag for a fresh nappy, wipes, and a change of baby clothes.

But her heart sank when she remembered she’d used the last nappy yesterday in the baby room at the local mall, and forgot to put another one in. And that cute striped onesie he was wearing? She’d grabbed that from inside the baby bag this morning, and hadn’t replaced it with another outfit.

baby bag essentials fox in flats

To me, back then, this felt like ‘Mummy Fail’ No. 753.

I once again was unprepared and disorganised – and my son was only two weeks old!”

Back then – even though it was only seven years ago –  the main source of parenting advice came directly from family or friends.

Internet connections were dial-up only – which meant long loading times and frequent drop-outs – not a friendly tool for sleep-deprived mums who struggle to find time to shower, let alone sit at a computer. And information tailored to women with kids online was pretty limited.

Happily, we’re living in 2013 where the ‘net is faster and more reliable. And sites like the Woolworths Baby & Toddler Club serve up practical parenting advice at the clickety click of a mouse.

And now, after  many, many years of accessorising with my children’s vomit, and about 10,921 minor ‘Mummy Fails’ to my name – here’s the Fox in Flats version of what you need to pack in a baby bag.

Without this list, my ‘Mummy Fail’ score would probably be into six figures by now 😉

This list is like a standard recipe – tweak it to suit your child, their life stage, your lifestyle, and then season to taste.


14 Things You Need in Your Baby Bag

1. Something to change baby on

It’s likely you’ll find yourself changing your precious on living room floors and beds, in grassy parks, muggy public bathrooms, and even the boot of the car. So be sure to pack something to lie them on that’ll keep them comfortable and clean, and that will also protect the surface you’re changing them on – especially important if you’re doing an emergency change on your friend’s new carpet!

Look for a compact, waterproof, foldable, padded change mat for when baby is really tiny, and as he or she gets older, something simple like a sarong or wrap will do the job.

2. At least two nappies

Better to have a back-up (and even a back-up to your back-up) than find yourself high and (not) dry! Check out the Woolworths Baby & Toddler Club for great offers on nappies.

3. Disposable Nappy Bags

Handy for dirty nappies and wipes, banana peels, and used tissues, and when they’re older and toilet training, these bags are also large enough to fit soiled underpants and jeans.

4. Baby Wipes

Avoid lugging large, heavy packs around. Instead, look for travel-sized versions, find a re-stockable plastic container that you can re-load with wads of wipes, or include half-used packs in your bag.

5. Hand Sanitiser and Hand Cream

The sanitiser for obvious reasons. The cream because most sanitisers are so drying on your skin. Touche!

6. Nappy Rash or Barrier Cream

Depending on whether your baby needs it, include a sample-sized tube or two in your bag.

7. Tissues

Toss in a travel pack for runny noses, teary eyes, and dribble-covered chins.

8. Food and drink

Bottles of water, formula or breast-milk, and little containers of snacks are essential – the type and quantities depending on what stage your baby is at.  And look for squeezie packs of baby-food, yoghurts, custards and drinks when you’re in the supermarket like these packs by Rafferty’s that are on sale at the moment at Woolies – you’ll be surprised by how much room they’ll save in your bag.

Ensure you’ve got water and healthy snacks for yourself too (dried fruit and nuts are lightweight and compact), and stash all perishable food in a soft collapsible cooler bag.

9. Bib, Burp Blanket and/or Scarf

Otherwise known as the ‘Up-Chuck Kit’ it’s all about preventing vomit from landing on the cute little outfits you and your baby are wearing. The scarf is your fall-back cover-up accessory for when the inevitable mess does happen.

10. Small toy or book

There’s no need to overload your baby bag with things to keep them occupied – the big wide world usually provides enough stimuli. Remember, these little dudes are seeing everything for the very first time! But a tiny toy or book can come in handy as a distraction if need be, or simply pass them a set of keys or your phone.

11. Sunscreen

It’s always worth keeping a back-up tube handy in case you forget to apply before you go out, or if you stay out longer than planned and need to re-apply. Make sure the sunscreen is gentle enough for baby, and don’t forget to apply it to your skin too.

TIP: If you’re out pushing baby in his pram, pay special attention to the backs of your hands.

12. Change of clothes

Bottles of milk opening up and pouring over baby. Explosions ‘down-stairs’ that somehow end up creeping all the way up little backs. Entire outfits covered in spaghetti bolognaise. And tiny jeans drenched in pee. Just some of the more memorable messy moments you’re likely to face when you’re out and about with a baby. Pack at least one change of clothes.

13. Lipgloss, lipstick or tinted lip balm

Keep a tube of your favourite lip product in your baby bag as an instant pick me up. It really works.

14. Your mobile phone

So you can get  parenting tips from the Wooloworths Baby & Toddler Club (and/or tips for covering up baby vomit marks from Fox in Flats 😉 )



TIP: As soon as you return home from an outing with baby, unpack your bag and replenish supplies. It’ll make for a quicker exit next time.

TIP: So you never run out of high-turnover items like nappies, wipes and baby food, stock up when they’re on sale. Members of the Woolworths Baby & Toddler Club enjoy great deals on baby and toddler essentials all year round, and it’s free to join.


As time goes on, what to pack for outings with your baby will become second nature.”

Till you get to that point, why not print out this list, or make up your own list of The Things You Need in Your Baby Bag and keep it in a pocket of your baby bag to refer back to?


But whatever you do,

wherever you are going,

always, always pack a sense of humour.

You’re gonna need it.”



Do you have a ‘Mummy Fail’ moment like mine when you were simply not prepared?

And what else do you keep in your baby bag? 

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  • Lornie

    Thanks so much for this advice! I’m a Mama to be with no family near by to ask these things so I rely on the internet or friends to fill in my knowledge gaps (which I admit are huge!).

    • FoxInFlats

      Hi Lornie, My pleasure – and as you can see from the post, you’re not the only one! It’s a steep learning curve, this motherhood gig! x A

  • Donna Gilbertson

    Awesome list! I am happy (& surprised!) to say that my nappy bag contains everything on your list!! Apart from a scarf which I will promptly add! x

    • FoxInFlats

      Donna, you are one very organised woman! Am in awe! xA

  • Teegstar

    I love this list and my heart broke for seven-years-ago-you when I read that anecdote! Luckily at a mum’s group no one would be judging you because everyone would have been in that situation before.

    I’m not usually a huge fan of bulky nappy bags but as my baby has turned into a toddler there has been more gear to lug around. I found a great nappy bag the other day at Target that has cool-bags built into the sides for drink bottles and cold food, and lots of pockets and compartments so you can always find what you need with minimal rummaging.

    • FoxInFlats

      Teegstar, I still remember that day like it was yesterday and you’re right no one was judgy. In fact I’m still buddies with almost all of that Mother’s Group despite the fact we all live in different parts of the state/country now.
      That bag sounds fab – I’m in that stage too when it’s no longer nappies, more food, food, food and drinks. Sometimes I feel like I’m a travelling cafe. 😉 I’ll see if I can track that one down, sounds like what I need too xA

  • http://www.facebook.com/fayejenner Faye Jenner

    he he, and make sure you check it if Daddy has taken the little one and bag out……as I’ve often found there’s a nappy / change of clothes / nappy bags… missing!

    • FoxInFlats

      …or dirty nappies left in there! eew!

  • http://twitter.com/memybestandI Me my best and I

    Thanks for the tips – my friends just sent me the fab Marc Jacobs Elizababy so am keen to get stocking – just need a baby and I’ll be set (hurry up baby!! )

    • FoxInFlats

      You have the greatest friend ever!!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/liz.judd.16 Liz Judd

    Fantastic list! Thanks! My recent revelation was to pack an emergency bag that stays in the car for the days when I forget to stock the nappy bag. It includes a daggy change of clothes (i.e. ones that I won’t miss from the wardrobe), a nappy and wipes. It now just sits in the boot – just in case.

    • FoxInFlats

      Great idea Liz!!!

  • Pingback: 14 things you’ll need in your baby bag, and the one thing you should NEVER leave home without! :: Fox In Flats | Mothers Hub()

  • Bethany

    We live near the beach with a 5yr old and an 18mth old. A couple of compact extras in my bag of tricks is roll on insect repellent and a capsule of saline (eye drops) for when those little sandy hands rub their eyes.
    A notepad and a mini pack of crayons has also be a compact sanity saver!

    • FoxInFlats

      Great tips Bethany! I’ll remember to throw those into my bag this summer.

  • http://batman-news.com MrsGrayMorgan

    Anyone else get the feeling this post may have been sponsored by Woolies?

    • FoxInFlats

      Hi there – it is, and it says that upfront. :)

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