As soon as I saw this changing bag on Pinterest I knew I loved it, and when I got gifted some money for my baby shower, I decided to treat myself and I 100% don’t regret doing so, it’s so beautiful and practical and well made! Definitely one of those baby purchases which was worth the investment and I would highly recommend. I also invested in the internal nappy bag, which is ideal for grabbing to go if you just want to change a nappy and leave the bulky bag with your friend (word of warning from experience though, if you have any inkling that a poonami may have happened, bite the bullet and take your whole changing bag into the changing room with you – 1st time 🙂 )
This post is to advise what I have learnt over the past year about the best things to pack in your changing back and how to do it in the most space-saving way, I hope it helps you out too. As ever my advice is based on twins as this is my reality but I hope singleton parents find this post useful too…
1st tip, when it comes to all material items, it’s all about the rolling, I always start off packing my bag with a change of outfit for each of my boys at the bottom, this consists (always has) as a short sleeve vest and sleepsuit, I simply roll each vest inside the sleepsuit so I end up with two cylinders rolls, this is the most basic change of clothes in case of poonamis or alike as often I have hats and jumpers with me if its cold, which they are wearing which can be saved to be used for layering in cold weather and blankets for the car or buggy, so none of these layers actually need to go in the bag which saves a ton of space. Also going for sleepsuits with feet, and in the early days built-in mittens means you don’t have to pack these items separately either, it’s all about the easiest and most space-saving way to pack.
The second item I always pack two off is muslin squares; my goodness they have so many uses; comforter, wiper, bib, to name but a few, but so so useful to always have to hand when you are out and about. I fold these lengthways twice before rolling and then put a normal rubber band round them to keep them together (this is also how I store them in the nursery drawers so they are ready to go when I need to go). You may have seen in previous posts that I’m a big fan of machine dying second-hand/worn items, just a side note here that this works excellently for refreshing muslin squares as they are pure cotton, especially the white ones which do start to look both grey and stained with mass usage!
Next is bibs (at least 1 per child, sometimes 2 if doing multiple feeds whilst out), it actually took me till very recently to find that there is a larger material bib you can get called a “feeder bib” which is much more practical, as the name suggests, for both feeding solids and milk alike. Again with bibs, I fold in half and then roll and seal with a normal rubber band to keep neat (again this is how I store in the nursery drawers so they are ready to go), but don’t fret if you do forget your bibs, use your muslin squares folded in half to make a triangle first works as an excellent bib. :). Also one more point on bibs, always go for popper seal rather than velcro, given the option when purchasing, as then you don’t need to remember to seal each one before washing in order to prevent them ruining your delicates!
Please find photos and links below to some cute ones currently on the market:
- TU Sainsburys Sleepsuits
- TU Sainsburys Short Sleeve Vests
- TU Sainsburys Muslin Squares
- Tescos Feeder Bibs
Next I’m going to list out the essential change items which I always pack, I am a great believer, having tried and tested, in supermarket own brands of all these items being just as good as big brands and much better value. I have linked Morrisons items below as this is where we currently do our weekly shop and we have been really happy with these and their equivalent at Tescos, Aldi, Sainsburys and CO-OP:
It is nice to use Waterwipes on brand new babies, but not necessary usually after the first couple of months. Also in my ideal world it would be nice to go for the biodegradable nappies like Naty, Bambo or Kit&Kin but frankly with twins this was simply not financially viable, it does frustrate me that this is still not more mainstream in this day and age but I personally think that changing that should be down to the suppliers making it more affordable to the mass market rather than the consumer having to bankrupt themselves to be green.
Anyway I digress… here is my essentials list:
- A pack of Fragrance Free Baby Wipes
- Petroleum Jelly/ Vaseline – I never leave the house without it as it’s so useful for any dry skin, but it is also a really good barrier cream for nappies, as advised by my HV so I always keep some in my changing bag
- Nappy Cream, I’ve found this Morrisons one to be a very good general cream and a little less sticky than Sudocream
- Nappy Sacks, these Morrison ones are really large so good for happily holding “double trouble” nappies or soiled clothes too.
- Nappies – I usually pack 4-6 when we go out so I know I will be covered, as I say I am more than happy with all the supermarket own-brands.
- Metanium Nappy Rash Ointment – This stuff sinks, and I didn’t feel comfortable using it on new borns as it is strong, but my goodness does it work on that nasty, blistery nappy rash you get on a teething baby, definitely worth keeping in your bag for that!
- Baby Bonjela – Really has helped us many a time with teething discomfort when out and about
- Anbesol Liquid – Is the same active ingredient as Bonjela but it is a liquid so can be easier to administer
- Calpol – Yes I always have some on me, because it is a pretty much fail-safe for when all else fails and that in itself is a reason to always have it on you. To save space I take it out of the box and I put a rubber band around it to hold the syringe on so it doesn’t get lost.
- Baby Sun Lotion is something I only keep in the bag during summer months, but is an essential then so I thought I would add it in to the list
- Antibacterial Hand Gel – well worth having in your tool kit for if you are doing a change anywhere where there isn’t a sink! Also good if you want to use to sterilize a changing area before or after changing your little, just squirt some onto a baby wipe and away you go! I like to go for the one with some added moisturiser so my hands don’t get destroyed in the process.
My final category of items is the feeding items, I am going to split this into two key lists of what worked for me when I was still doing multiple day milk feeds and what works for me now now we don’t.
Essentials for Milk feed days (based on formula feeding)
This lovely little combo of items basically gives you a self-made Perfect Prep machine whilst your out and about:
- 2 Tommee Tippee pre-sterilised sealed bottles – These are the bottles which I happened to get as a baby shower gift and they worked well for the boys so we stuck with them, they were easy to clean and also were made to go in the desktop steriliser which I sourced 2nd hand from another twin Mum, we did also have a donation of MAM bottles, which were an equal hit with the boys but a bit more of a faff to clean as there were more parts to take apart.
- A 4 compartment formula dispenser – I found it surprisingly hard to source one with 4 compartments, but in the early days when was needing to manage two milk feeds each kid whilst I was out (I used to carry two additional bottles at this time too) and I really didn’t have space or want to carry round another 3 compartment dispenser, then I found this one on Amazon, exactly what I needed! In terms of formula, we started off with Aptamil, as many folks do, as it is the one which everyone has heard of and it seems to have a more premium breast-milk-like image, but at at least £11 per tin when we were getting through at least 2 tins a week, this simply wasn’t cost-effective, so we switched to the ALDI Formula (£6.99 per tin), and never looked back. The boys loved it and I came to prefer it as it made up a far less foamy milk.
- Hospital bottles filled with cooled kettle water – this was a tip I received from another lovely twin Mum and it worked brilliantly for us when we were out and about, we just kept a stock of these bottles filled with cooled kettle water in the fridge and whenever we went out popped 1 per feed in the changing bag, 1 of these mixed with 2floz of boiling water from the thermos (next item) would happily make up a fully sterilised and ready to drink 8floz feed – #gamechanger
- Mini Thermos Flask – As you only need 2floz of boiled water per feed – to mix your formula in before adding your cooled water, you only need a little flask. This one actually wasn’t on the market when I went to buy so I ended up with a bit of a bigger one, which I guess at least will have potentially some more future use, but in terms of space-saving and practicality this one seems perfect and is a good price and well rated too.
Essentials once you aren’t doing multiple milk feeds and you start weaning:
I will go into out and about food ideas properly in a different post I think but these essentials do include some of the most helpful go to snacks when out and about…
- I found this Munchkin Straw Cup by accident really as, I just liked the idea of trying a straw cup with the boys after seeing a Mummy friend using one with her little of the same age, as we do our online shop with Morrisons I thought I would do a search for straw cups and this one came up and its turned out to be a complete game changer for water and for milk! The great thing about it is your kid can drink from any angle as it doesn’t leak (at least not very much at all, considering the level of abuse) and the straw is weighed at the end so follows the drink round the cup to the very end. This really is an amazing feature as my boys were struggling to understand to hold alternative cups at a specific angle in order for them to work :). I use these as water bottles for when I’m out and about.
- Little Clip Lock Boxes like these are so handy for carrying all manner of snacks in.
- Emergency Rice Cakes – have got us out of more than a few meltdowns, I usually have a little stock with me at all times in a Clip Lock Box. This brand is the best value I have found and are just flavoured and sweetened with natural fruit juice, so no nasties and the boys love them and they’re perfect size for their little hands, you can also get equivalent own brand ones at Aldi a bit cheaper again – but man I wish Aldi did online delivery as I never make it there 🙁
- These are my favourite weaning spoons I’ve found so far, again by accident during Morrisons online shop.
- Bananas! Such a handy any time and easy to eat snack – always have one on me
- Clementines – another excellent snack – which is always good to go, I do always usually break each piece in half to be safe and avoid seeds and chockable size, another favourite for the boys.
- Raisins or Sultanas – please don’t waste your money on mini boxes, buy a big pack like this and put in a small clip lock box 🙂
- Now these (specifically these two jars, in fact) HIPP Organic Vegetable Puree Jars are my favourite find in the puree aisle. As it is particularly and surprisingly hard to find pre-packed veg only purees, but these are they! And they’re organic and they’re generally on offer for 50p/60p per jar. So before your kids are willing to eat raw veg, this is so the way forward. My boys love the taste of them and they are so simple to pack for lunch along with usually some ham and cheese spread pittas.
- Pocket Highchairs – are something which only occured to me recently as being well worth the investment (especially at under £8 each for these particular ones), they just roll up in your changing bag and can be attached to almost any chair (or adult in fact) when you are feeding your child/children in my case. I would only use this design once your kids are sitting solidly, but it is excellent if you are out and about in public or at a friends house and there are not enough normal highchairs to go round 🙂
Right – that’s it! All the advice I currently have on packing a changing bag! I hope you have found it to be a useful read. I’d love to know anything else which has worked well for you, please do comment below. 🙂