Whether we’re going to church or out of town a few hours, the only thing that really changes is the number of diapers we take….here’s my 5 step primer (3 year old +newborn)
1. Pack a wet cloth wipe in a (thin plastic disposable wipe) case on the outer pocket of the bag for easy access and pack the rest dry inside the bag-this way nothing in the bag gets wet accidentally.
2. Pack a large wetbag (or two) depending on how long we’ll be gone. This helps especially if you have an older child who could get carsick, have an accident, dirty their clothes with cranberry sauce, etc. to have an extra bag. If you feel especially paranoid, ball up a grocery bag and stuff it in the pocket of your car door out of sight.
3. Pack spare clothes. I just recently thought to leave an extra ‘sleep sack’ in the diaper bag at all times, and just forget about extra ‘cute’ outfits. Babies are always cute, no matter what they are wearing. Buy a cheap sweatsuit in current or next size and leave it in your car for bigger kids.This will also help if you are there late, kids can be put in these spares for pjs and easy transfer to bed!
4. Pack diapers of course the cutest ones for the holiday, and always take 2 more diapers than you think you will need plus one in your glove-box. Take the EASIEST diapers for the holiday, too. AIOs, etc. Wash ALL your diapers the night before if you are traveling, to make sure that a. you have enough and b. that there’s nothing hanging out for a few days if you’ll be gone.
5. Pack very few extras. A nose bulb, burp cloth or blanket (multipurpose for covering, wiping up, laying down for diaper changes, etc). If you’re paranoid, take some baby tylenol with you, but in general, simple is best, don’t over pack, and try to use the multi-use items as much as possible. Don’t forget any items you might need for ‘mommy purposes.’
Since I’m breastfeeding, if you bottle feed, you’ll have to add those items in. Some people take bottled breast milk, although if you’re considering pumping JUST because you might make other people uncomfortable, consider forgetting that and nursing your baby anyway. You can easily slip into a spare bedroom and get some quiet time away from the ruckus. Fewer things to drag with you. For babies older than 6 months, let them eat table food. Mashed potatoes at the very least are a smooth food, although I prefer baby led weaning, so I would just let the baby ‘have at it’, with supervision. In other words: don’t pack baby food, either, although a small spoon and a bib is a good idea, unless you know your host has one! Decide if toys are really worth it. Only you can know this about your own child. You could also call ahead and see if your host has a few toys stashed away and ask them to get them out in the living room to stave off any ‘food is not ready yet’ tantrums. Our baby will sleep in our arms, but if yours needs quiet, don’t forget to toss your playpen in your trunk. Go ahead, do it now so you don’t forget.