I don’t have kids, so it’s always intriguing to me how much stuff parents regularly have with them. My friend Jen graciously agreed to write me a post explaining what it takes to just get on the road someplace.
Shopping trips are tougher when you’re bringing along a one-year-old. It’s not as simple as “hey, we’re out of shampoo, I’ll zip out to Target and be right back.” Before I can leave, I have to pack. Even though it’s just Target, it’s just 10 minutes away, and the trip will only take an hour.
I can’t leave home without a stocked diaper bag. I’ve heard of some parents shoving a diaper and a ziplock bag with wipes into a purse or pocket and just heading out the door, but I’m not that brave. I’d probably be fine, and I could buy anything I’m missing AT Target, but I like to be prepared. In general, the bag is usually ready to grab and leave with, because I don’t use everything up every time I go out. But getting ready to go involves checking my supplies and restocking if I’m low.
Diaper bag necessities:
Diapers, wipes, and changing pad. I probably won’t ever need more than one or two extra diapers, but I always bring four or five. I dread a poop emergency. Most places have a changing table in the bathroom, but I’ve had to change a diaper in the car or in the grass a couple times, so having the pad is helpful. It folds up pretty flat and doesn’t take up much room anyway.
Snacks. Never ever ever leave home without snacks when traveling with a kid. EVER. I keep a bag of Cheerios, Gerber Puffs, and chunks of rice cakes in my diaper bag or purse at all times. A hungry baby is an angry baby. I also keep a squeezy pouch around in case the crunchy snacks aren’t enough to fill him up. The pouches don’t need refrigeration, and they’re reasonably healthy even if most of them are 75% applesauce. I also bring a sippy cup of water. The Munchkin Click-Lock straw cups are the ones we use most often, because they’re more leakproof than most others we’ve tried, and they’re slender enough to fit in a cupholder or a pocket of the diaper bag.
Toys and books. I keep a handful of toys in the diaper bag and I rotate them every now and then so he doesn’t get bored. I try to pick things I can either clip or tie to the shopping cart or that I can easily wash off (ok, let’s be honest here, it’s more often “blow on them and/or wipe them on my shirt”) if he throws them in the parking lot.
Pacifier. We rely heavily on WubbaNubs. We’ve got 4 of them so we won’t get stuck if one goes missing. It’s half pacifier, half comfort critter, and it quiets him quickly if he starts getting cranky.
Change of clothes. There’s a 99% chance I won’t need them, but I’m not comfortable with even a 1% chance of having to drive home with a puke- or poop-covered baby. I also try to bring a burp cloth in case lunch goes wrong.
Once I’m sure all that is ready, I check my own purse for the presence of a wallet and phone. Then make sure kiddo’s got a clean dry diaper to start the trip with, and we’re out to the car. Strap him into the car seat, make sure he has a pacifier and a couple of toys he can throw onto the floor and yell about, and it’s off to Target we go!