My Tips & Tricks for a Minimal Diaper Bag (From a Mom of Three)

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A minimal diaper bag makes life easier! Here’s how I pack mine.

minimal diaper bag

When my first child was born, I geared up (with baby gear, that is) in preparation! I’d registered at multiple stores and my sweet friends, family and coworkers threw me multiple showers.

I *thought* I was being minimal. But for the scary unknown of a baby, I also wanted to be well-prepared.

I hadn’t received a diaper bag as a gift, but since this was clearly a non-negotiable, I purchased an inexpensive satchel-style bag weeks in advance of my due date.

As part of preparing for her arrival, I set out to assemble her diaper bag.

I added some diapers, wipes and an outfit. But the bag was so big, it felt ridiculous to have it so empty. I knew I must be missing something since there was so much unused space, so I went searching. I packed another spare outfit, a receiving blanket, my nursing cover, hand sanitizer, a first aid kit, socks and lanolin cream.

It still seemed… awkwardly empty.

So I added more clothes and receiving blankets, burp clothes and nail clippers and travel sized diaper rash ointment. I threw in a few toys and little baggies for dirty clothes and diapers.

At that point my bag “felt about right” –full but not too full. And that’s about what I kept in there for baby #1’s young months.


By the time baby #2 was born, I wisened up about the whole “diaper bag” concept. Turns out, any bag works about as well. I began using a mid-sized purse.

I packed about as much for two kids that I had for one.

And now that baby #3 is here, I’ve finally reached what I would call minimal status with my diaper bag, and the world did not implode.

Here are some tips and tricks for those moms who are ready to minimize.

My Tips and Tricks for a Minimal Diaper Bag

1. Keep occasional-use items in a bag in your vehicle

I’d hate to be out of the house without a first aid kit or changes of clothes, but I don’t need to literally carry these around on my back during every outing. I keep them in our van, and if we ever need them, they’re never far away.

2. Don’t carry a dedicated changing pad.

There is no need for a dedicated changing pad.

Here’s how to change a baby’s diaper with out one (as explained by my dear sister-in-law and mom-of-four):

  1. Open the clean diaper and lay it under the baby’s diapered bottom.
  2. Unfasten the dirty diaper and use the front part to wipe away the bulk of the poop, folding it over to contain the poop but leaving it under the baby’s dirty bottom (still on top of the clean diaper).
  3. Clean baby up.
  4. Once clean, remove the old diaper from under the baby’s bottom and bundle it up with all waste and discard. Then fasten on the clean one!

If you want an additional barrier between baby and surface, any piece of fabric will suffice. Enter, receiving blanket.

3. No need to pack diaper rash and related creams

In most cases, their little bottoms can survive until you get home. Unless your baby is having a specific problem, “just in case” creams aren’t needed.

4. Leave the toys (all or in part)

There’s this funny thing about kids. They have an amazing ability to entertain themselves… even when no toys are available. As I write this my baby is happily exploring a plastic child’s hanger in her bouncy seat. Sometimes we create needy kids by over-providing.

Minimal moms say, here are two sticks, enjoy! 🙂

5. Find items that have multiple uses.

Such as:
  • Custom throw blankets. A single good blanket covers many bases
  • Covered Goods™ nursing cover. Besides being the best nursing cover I’ve ever tried, this is wonderfully multi-functional. It doubles as a car seat cover (which works quite well), and triples as a shopping cart cover. What’s more, if you want to keep your diaper bag extra light, you can wear it as an infinity scarf!



What’s in My Minimal Diaper Bag

My basic essentials as a mom of three (ages 4, 2 and 4 months) are:

  1. A muslin blanket. This serves as whatever I may need on that particular outing: a receiving blanket, a cover in a chilly store, a burp cloth or a changing surface.
  2. Covered Goods™ nursing cover. It’s thin and lightweight and folds up quite small. Also, when we’re out and about and baby Emily gets tired, I pull it over her car seat and she falls right to sleep.
  3. A clean onesie for baby. Emily spits up frequently and is a diaper-blow-out time bomb. I keep her spare clothing simple, often packing only a onesie and perhaps a clean bib. My older kids rarely need a change of clothes, so theirs are kept in our van. This changes based on need. During potty training, more clothes are carried.
  4. Diapers and wipes.

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If we’re going on a longer outing, I will include water cups for my big kids and snack bags. I don’t regularly carry these things anymore because I’ve realized it’s okay, even better, for kids to eat at organized intervals rather than constant goldfish grazing. My kids eat better all around when I provide fewer snacks.

But when they’re needed, I have plenty of space for them in my bag! If we’re going to be gone all morning, I always bring snacks.

I gave up on milk out of the house a long time ago. Water simplifies life. That’s good.

Covered Goods™ Nursing Cover

I am seriously so thankful for this nursing cover. I’ve religated my others to the drawer. Here’s why.

What I love about my Covered Goods™ nursing cover:

  • It’s unbelievably soft. I am comfortable.
  • It’s lightweight and breathable. Every other nursing cover I’ve used has been horribly stuffy for the baby. This one gets a pleasant draft right through. I am content.
  • It’s full-coverage, both front and back. Why aren’t all nursing covers this design? I am happy.
  • It stays in place. It’s a wrap-style, not a flappy thing that baby can bat aside. I am confident and relaxed.
  • It’s multi-functional. I enjoy using it as a car seat cover most, but it can also double as a scarf or cart-cover as needed. I am unburdened.

This nursing cover has been a blessing to me! If you are a nursing mom or know one who would enjoy this cover, purchase one here.

*This nursing cover was generously provided to me by Covered Goods™. All opinions are entirely my own!


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  1. Ashley says:

    Thanks! I rarely carried a diaper bag with my first. We were hardly out of the house for more than 20 minutes so most diaper changes could wait. I usually left a couple diapers and wipes in the car, just in case. But with baby #2 (and a mostly potty trained toddler) I know we’ll be out longer and I realized I’ll actually need a diaper bag! I was curious what other people carry but I knew there is a lot that probably isn’t needed.

  2. Yolanda says:

    Oh man, you punched me in the gut about us creating needy kids by over providing. I have a 7 & 6 year old and I was trying to figure out what to keep in my purse for them, which ends up pushing out stuff I want. They’re old enough to do with a little less. I think that was a wake up call for me, thanks for this post

  3. Cheryl says:

    this post helped me a lot, loved the idea of the extra clothes stay in the car, no creams and using a muslin for all ‘blanket’ needs. I bought the nursing cover with the bicycle pattern after reading. I’m modest and always feel exposed when I nurse in public. Also my cover is so stuffy, my newborn turns beet red and my toddler would just throw it off. Thanks!

  4. Lindsay says:

    I love this post, thank you! I’d love to know what bag you carry/the one displayed in the picture of the article. Thanks!

  5. Katelyn says:

    Woo hoo! I am so excited to hear about this nursing cover. I never found one I liked using with my first two and nursing away from home caused anxiety at different times. I knew I wanted to try something different and I am hoping it will be a different story when baby #3 comes along. I LOVE the full coverage, multi-use AND that’s it made in the USA 🙂 Thank you for your post and your thoughts. I also totally agree with all the diaper bag thoughts. I am so grateful for growth and learning I undergo with each child 🙂

  6. Lisa says:

    I completely agree. There just isn’t that much that kids’ need. I will, often, carry a few small toys, though. Usually something that all three of my kids can play with in a variety of ways. So like a bag of plastic rings or small farm animals or connecting blocks. They have come in handy in restaurants, waiting rooms, and other random places. But they are definitely not essential! The receiving blanket always came in handy when my youngest was a baby too. It can be used for so many things. I used it a lot as a blanket to spread on the ground to let baby sit/lay and play if we were out somewhere where that was possible.

  7. Whitney Distler says:

    I’m so happy to hear your review of this! It is definitely on my “to get” list for baby #3. That and a few more Aden and Anais blankets – those are our favorites & so versatile and awesome! I love items that have multi-uses. You definitely learn that full diaper bags are not much fun – I couldn’t agree more with you on keeping things as minimal as possible.

    • That’s funny. We are so like minded! This nursing cover is seriously the best thing ever. It’s going to become my go-to gift for moms who are on their second or third baby and already have most things. It’s fabulous!

  8. Diane says:

    Thank you for sharing this! You’d spend that much money on just a nursing cover alone. If God ever blesses us with another little one, I will definitely be using this!

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