Packing your changing bag for the first time can be a daunting prospect as a new parent. It's almost impossible to know what and how much you are going to need but if you are prepared with the basics you will be ready for whatever a day might throw at you (including any accidents or even a poonami!) We have spoken to mama and Babymel designer, Sherina about what she packed in her changing bag with a newborn and to celebrate Veganuary we have looked at vegan, cruelty free and sustainable alternatives to pack in your changing bag from some of our favourite brands.
The number one changing bag essential is a pack of wipes. With a new baby, all the way through to a toddler you will be endlessly working your way through packs of wipes for accidents, dribbles, spillages and all sorts of other things! There are thousands of baby wipes on the market and sometimes we know it’s easier to just grab whatever you can find or go for the cheapest option. When you are making a decision, perhaps just check if there is a plant based and biodegradable alternative, sometimes it's easier to research online first rather than searching the shelves in the supermarket! We love and recommend these baby eco-friendly wipes from Mum & You. A selection of Babymel changing bags also have a handy easy wipes pocket on the side of the bag so you are always ready to go with another wipe! Alternatively you could look into using reusable wipes which appear more hassle but will save you a lot of pennies in the long run and are actually really easy once you start using them regularly. We love the reusable baby wipes kits from Cheeky Wipes.
You should always leave the house with spare nappies as this is one thing you definitely don’t want to get caught without, but don’t worry we have all been there! Reusable nappies have been growing in the baby market over the last few years and there’s now some fantastic brands with beautiful designs and prints. Did you know an average baby goes through around 2,000 nappies in the first year? Reusable nappies are not only a great planet saving alternative but are extremely cost effective too. Our friends at The Nappy Gurus have a fantastic selection to choose from in a variety of styles and sizes. Discover the benefits of cloth nappies on our recent blog: Cloth Nappies: Q&A with The Nappy Gurus. We understand that sometimes you may want to use a mix of reusable and disposable nappies, if this is the case look out for eco nappies as an alternative, as they are not only better for the planet but also for your baby too. Ethical superstore have a great selection of eco nappies to choose from.
If you are looking into reusable nappies, you will also need a wet bag to store the dirty nappies when you are out of the house. These bags are reusable, waterproof and prevent odours and liquid from escaping into the contents of your bag - absolute essential! The Nappy Gurus have a selection of wet bags to match their cloth nappies and are available with their starter kits so you can try them out, but mama Sherina also loves the selection on Tickle Tots which she uses daily.
If you are using disposable nappies or a mix of the two it’s always useful to have some nappy sacks in your bag - they are also handy for a handful of dirty wipes or any messy accidents in public! Similarly to the wipes, there are hundreds of nappy sacks to choose from but make sure to look for the vegan and biodegradable alternatives as these aren’t made from plastic so don’t take a long time to decompose. We love the biodegradable sacks on Eco by Naty, also available at Boots.
Nappy cream is always handy to have in your bag incase of any nappy rash or irritations on your babies skin. There are lots of vegan nappy creams available, Sherina loves Childs Farm nappy cream, which also doubles up as a handy moisturiser on young or adult skin, so win-win for mama too!
Make sure to pack up a baby bottle before you head out for ease, if you exclusively bottle feed - also don’t forget formula milk too of course! All Babymel changing bags come with a handy built-in insulated bottle pocket or additional bottle holder which can keep a baby bottle warm or cool for up to 4 hours, which is perfect for travelling. For an eco-friendly alternative why not try a glass baby bottle? They are much more durable and have no risk of shedding micro plastics so are actually better for your baby too. We love the selection available on Mam.
Always pack a couple of muslins so you have a few to hand. They are great for cleaning everything from face to surfaces and are easily washed and reusable too. We love those made from 100% organic cotton, which is considered the most environmentally friendly material, there’s hundreds of beautiful designs and patterns to choose from to either match your bag, nursery theme or even outfits! We love the sensory collection of muslins from Etta Loves designed to stimulate your baby and keep them calm for you - everyone’s a winner!
Change of Clothes
It’s essential to carry a spare set of clothes (or even two) to make sure you are ready for any accidents, especially if you’re out all day as you don’t want to be taking home a cold or wet baby! Similarly to the muslins, if you’re looking for high quality clothing that is also better for the environment we suggest looking at 100% cotton baby clothes or clothes made from natural fibres. Most high street stores now include an organic cotton range for babies including H&M and M&S but we also love the range available on Kidly and The White Company.
Even from newborn, bibs are handy to have ready in your bag. For little ones they can help catch any milk, dribble or sick and prevent a full change of clothes and for the older ones they are super handy whilst eating and drinking while they are in the messy stages (although we all know how often we spill things down ourselves too!) We love the organic cotton range available on Mori, if you want something more solid for an older children to catch food, they also have a selection of silicone bibs too.
It’s always handy to have a blanket to hand, perfect to keep baby warm in winter and cool in summer. A blanket can also come in handy for you on a colder day too! Sherina recommends a cotton cellular blanket and loves the one available from Hippychick which can be used for years and babies to come.
We know there are hundreds of other items you can pack in your changing bag, but these are the most important staple pieces to always have in your bag.
Top Tip: It’s really handy to have duplicates so these items always stay in your bag so you can just top them up when you are home and you are ready to go the next day with a few additions!