When you have a newborn, you have to pack enough supplies and items for your thirty minute Target run as you would for a week long expedition in Patagonia. You carefully go through your list of “needs” as if you are a teenager who just was given their license for the first time. Slightly terrified and slightly excited to venture out and see the world and talk to another adult. Bag? Check. Diapers? Check. Food source for child? Check. Crinkle book and squeaky toy? Check, check. Clothes for the inevitable blow out? Check. Your own belongs? Check. Baby carrier? Check. Baby? Check. Just trying to get out the door is a battle of the wills, and while I’d like to tell you it gets better, it really just gets different.
As soon as our LO didn’t really need a TON of items on our outings, I swapped out my diaper bag for a long over the shoulder purse that I had been neglecting in my closet. In it, I’d stuff my belongings as well as a few diapers, small pack of baby wipes, and snack items for my LO. In my car I’d leave extra diapers and wipes, as well as a few books and small toys, so that if I found myself in a bind, I’d always be prepared. As perfect as a system as this worked out to be (for us), with the addition of potty training, I am finding that we have to make a bit of a change.
If you aren’t familiar with potty training, or at least the method we are using, you state to your LO that diapers are ONLY and ONLY for car rides and sleeping (we also added the exception of the pool, because it was summer and we needed to get out of the house). What this means, is that when you have arrived at your destination you have to take the diaper off of your LO, use a public restroom, and hope and pray they don’t have an accident. To further this point, my once perfect system needed a bit more perfecting and requires a plethora of new items – aka ‘The Reinstated Diaper Bag’.
In a larger tote bag (that still feels like a purse) I place a handful of items that make outings possible and ease my worry of “What if” scenarios. First, albeit not glamorous, I have two large gallon Ziplock bags. This serves a dual purpose. One, it helps separate restroom essentials from her snacks and my things. Two, the bags can be used to store dirty/wet clothes. In the restroom bag, I have a travel pack of Lysol wipes (I’d really like to find a small spray version though), baby wipes, a couple of diapers, flushable toilet seat covers, and a roll of our dog’s poop bags (again for wet clothes if needed). In a wet/dry bag I have a few sets of extra clothes (shirts, shorts, socks, underwear). Now I know, this sounds a bit over-prepared, but to be honest, this is only temporary – just like the diaper bag when she was a newborn. As she gets better at using the restroom, I won’t feel it necessary to tote so many things around with me.
As with everything parenting, it all ebbs and flows. You’ll go through different stages that require more or less ‘need’ to survive, and the challenges and rewards will present themselves in new ways. Whatever the stage you are in, whatever your preferences are – do what works best for you and your child.