By the time your child becomes a toddler you may have become so good at packing a diaper bag that you hardly think about what you’re doing. Packing a diaper bag for a toddler is very different than when you packed it for a baby. It may just be time to reevaluate what is in your diaper bag.

I admit that I’m no the most thorough mom. My diaper bag is a little like my purse—it tends to accumulate objects—only without the bi-monthly purging. It took a pretty nasty spill before I dug deep into the bottom of my diaper bag and pulled everything out. I was surprised at some of the things I found that were still in my diaper bag. Many of them were very useful for caring for a baby but are just additional weight now that my son is a toddler. I realized that I have to change my packing style so that I will always have a diaper bag that best meets the needs of a toddler.

Diapers, Creams, etc

Whether your toddler is toilet trained or not you’ll most likely be carrying diapers or trainers. For changes you’ll want most of the equipment that you used when he was an infant: changing pad, wipes, rash cream, diapers/trainers and something to store the dirty diaper in until you can dispose of it.

Clothing

Toddlers seem to have just as many messy clothes as a baby ever did. If your toddler is toilet training it is important to keep several pairs of dry clothes on hand (not just pants but shirts, socks and shoes as well!). If you keep your spare clothes in the bag be sure to check the size regularly. Your toddler is growing quickly and you may find yourself with an outfit that is too small because it’s been stored in the bag longer than you thought.

Drinks and Snacks

This is one area in which it is actually easier to pack for a toddler. Prepare a sippy-cup before leaving the house. Bring along a small bottle of water and/or juice to tuck into the bag if you’ll be gone for a while. If you run out, water and juice are easy to come by in public. Snacks are also easy to pack for toddlers. Bags or small containers of cereal, pretzels or fruit are easy to pack and lightweight.

Medications

If your toddler regularly uses a medication, have some available at all times in your diaper bag. It is also important to keep a fever/pain reliever (such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen) and teething gel.

Activities

Board books are the easiest activity to tuck into a diaper bag. Be sure that there is at least one object or toy in your diaper bag that will entertain your toddler for a short while in case of delays.

The Bag

Your toddler is tougher to keep track of, and keep up with, than when he was a baby. The likelihood of having to lift and wrestle your writhing toddler is high and you don’t want a diaper bag working against you. Consider a backpack for a diaper bag, it is easier to carry and manage and leaves you with two free hands to care for your toddler with.

Photo by Jodi Gallegos