It's the question every new Mama asks herself... "I've bought this beautiful new Alf the Label nappy bag, what the heck do I need to carry in it?"
I would suggest every baby bag is likely to be packed differently and you will no doubt add and take out things along your mothering journey.
But here is a list of the items I suggest should be considered to keep in your Stella or Ari nappy bag on the regular. I have also added links to some brands I have personally used/still use if you're wondering where to get this stuff.
Note: packing your hospital bag is slightly different - we will do another blog on that topic soon :-)
Alf items to carry in your Stella or Ari nappy bag:
Newborn size of course! We use Ecoriginals in our house, mainly because they are completely biodegradable and we didn't experience any nappy rash and very little leakage from this Australian made brand. For a newborn, It is suggested that you carry one nappy for every hour you are out of the house plus some spares.
Another brand which we have found great - and cheaper than the ones mentioned above are the Thankyou brand of nappies. They also come in super cute patterns which will match your Alf bag (if you bought a spotty one!).
I keep these in my Little Joy Nappy Clutch so they are on hand for quick trips to the parent's room.
The Ecoriginals brand are fantastic, for the same reasons as above. They are natural, biodegradable and low scent. I prefer not to use any chemicals on my baby's skin and we have been using these for 2.5 years so far - and still love them! They also come in handy travel sized packs if you don't want to take a full pack out with you.
Keep a travel pack in your Nappy Clutch.
Hand Sanitiser/Disinfectant Wipes:
Keeping your hands clean when you are changing your babies nappy in the back of the car, or in some unconventional location happens a lot... so having a small bottle of hand sanitiser for post-nappy changes is a great idea. I use the Thankyou brand in the travel size so it doesn't take up too much room. I also carry a travel sized pack of disinfectant wipes for those times when you sit down in a cafe and the highchair is revoltingly dirty... or you need to wipe down the trolley and the supermarket hasn't had the foresight to provide disinfectant wipes.
Keep a small bottle in your Little Joy Nappy Clutch.
Biodegradable Plastic Bags:
Because I generally use biodegradable nappies and wipes, I always carry a wad of biodegradable mini bin bags with me... for a while I used regular nappy bin bags, but quickly realised that it was a waste of time putting a biodegradable nappy in a bag which doesn't biodegrade!! Whatever brand of nappies you use, best to get some bin bags so you can properly dispose of the nappy when there is no nappy disposal bin around.
Keep at least one for each nappy in your Nappy Clutch.
Nappy Rash Cream:
I have always used the Weleda brand for nappy rash cream - although to be honest because we used the natural nappies we didn't have a lot of use for it! But many babies get nappy rash, so don't overlook this one!
Keep some in your Nappy Clutch just in case.
I had no idea about these before I had my daughter - but they are essential if you are breastfeeding! You can use the disposable brand ones (I used TOMS when I had my daughter, but I don't think they make them anymore!) - or there are some really handy washable ones around which I found much more absorbent and far cheaper in the long run. I used Miss Mae Studio reusable ones because it's nice to have something pretty to lighten up a milky mess....
I keep a spare pair of these in my Nappy Clutch - because you never know when you will need a change, no one likes smelling of stale milk.
Alf Padded Nappy Change Mat:
If your child uses a dummy you will WANT to use the handy key chain strap inside your Stella or Ari Nappy Bag - there must be nothing worse than a child screaming for their dummy and you riffling around in the bottom of your bag trying to find one which is on the loose.
Formula, Bottles and Water:
If you are using formula then you will love your Alf even more, both the Stella and the Ari have elasticised bottle holders for everything you need for feeding your baby. One of the bottle holders is also insulated if you want to keep water from getting too hot in the summer.
A must have... these versatile pieces of cotton will get used for all sorts of things, a sunshade over the pram, sheet/light blanket, swaddle, breastfeeding cover, picnic rug... you won't be sorry carrying one of these with you at all times, and they roll up really small so they can be easily stuffed into one of the many pockets in your Alf nappy bag. I love Pop Ya Tot and Bondi Beach Baby for swaddles... but you can get all sorts of gorgeous ones from loads of different brands.
This may seem like an odd thing to carry in your baby bag, however, cloth nappies are just the right size to use as a towel to wipe up baby spew, or dry your hands on, a blanket if it gets cold or an emergency nappy! Just as nana used to use! They can be bleached clean and folded up neatly will fit nicely in the flap pocket of our Ari nappy bag... or in one of Stella's many pockets.
You can buy cloth nappies at Kmart, or most baby shops... they usually come in a multipack.
Changes of Clothes:
Don't forget the obvious here - a newborn will definitely have leakage or little vomit on itself at some point, so a couple of changes of clothes is critical!! I usually carry a couple of onesies as they are usually the first layer to get soiled... and a spare tee for both baby and me (you will likely lose count of the number of times you will also get spewed on).
Alf Pram Straps:
For obvious reasons, keep your Pram Straps your Alf Nappy Bag so you don't forget to take them out with the pram - you will be annoyed with yourself If you get to the shops and can't properly hang your bag. I actually keep a spare set with me too because the pram straps are actually quite useful for hanging shopping bags off the pram too.
SAFETY NOTE: Make sure you hang the additional bags low down, so you don't topple the pram over if you take the baby out!
Teething rings, small toy, a little book, safe mirror, rattle or something else to give your baby to distract them if they start to get cranky or just need some stimulation is very handy... distraction items get even more important as your baby gets older, or you may never be able to sit and have a coffee in peace again.
White Noise Machine:
You may be blessed with an incredible sleeper - and if that's the case YAY! Otherwise, you might consider a small travel sized white noise machine. They are really useful when you can hang them on your pram or car seat. Friends of mine have claimed these are a lifesaver... you can buy them for around $25 from most baby shops.
Baby Wrap Carrier/Sling:
Because these fold up nice and flat I always keep one in my nappy bag. They are great for those times when you don't want to take the pram out of the car, or your baby totally loses their shit from being in the pram (my daughter used to do this on the regular) so you will end up in the supermarket using an empty pram as a trolley and carrying your baby in your wrap!
- Pram clips to secure your muslin sun shade when it gets windy
- Travel pack of tissues
- Nail clippers because you never know when you will get an opportunity to clip your baby's nails!
- Small hairbrush
- Bib - for drool or food... depending on the age of your baby
If you are lucky enough to have two little ones, you will need to carry some additional gear in your Alf Nappy Bag for your toddler.
Toddler Distraction Toys:
I'm telling you now. This is ESSENTIAL. I actually change up the things I carry weekly, so there is always something different to play with.
I tend to not let my daughter play with my phone etc, so always need something on hand - even for when we all go to breakfast etc.
Sometimes I'll take a thin book, a sticker book, colouring-in with a small pack of crayons or even a thin puzzle. It gives me at least 10 mins of peace. Which is just enough time to drink my tea!
I will always carry a small bag of nuts and dried fruit in my Nappy Bag. Little bags of natural popcorn are also a hit. Just pick something which isn't going to go off or stale if it's in the bag a while. Because these are just for emergencies.
A Bib and Kiddy Cutlery:
Have you noticed there are loads of cafe's who claim to be kid-friendly, only to dish out an adult-sized metal fork and knife to your toddler!? I have, so always take a little set of IKEA plastic cutlery in a ziplock bag with me. Much safer than risking an eye injury from a fork or them waving a metal knife around in someone's face. The ziplock bag not only keeps the cutlery clean but somewhere to stash the dirty set for the way home.
Don't forget to take a water bottle everywhere you go - having water on hand not only to drink but to wash scratches and cuts, your child's face or their hands is really useful.
Both the Stella and Ari Nappy Bags have an insulated bottle holder inside the bag for those really hot days when you are out and about. It wouldn't keep ice frozen but is designed to keep the water at a consistent temperature for a time.
Now let's not forget you will actually need to take your own belongings out and about with you - which is why we designed the Lil and Evie bags to match your nappy bags. Personally, I find it easier to have my own smaller handbag which fits everything I need:
- Diary (because I am a total organising nerd)
- Lipstick/lip balm
- Hair ties/bobby pins
- Spare nappy and wipes - just in case I am somewhere without my nappy bag and there is a poopy emergency.
However, if you want to keep your mama essentials in your nappy bag, there is a handy pocket at the back of each of the Stella and Ari Nappy Bags which is the perfect size for separating your belongings from your baby's.
So there you have it mamas.... also note, that I have been able to fit every item mentioned above in both the Ari and Stella Nappy Bags - and if you're smart about it, decanting larger packets of stuff into small bags or buying a travel size will reduce the weight of your bag further.
Go forth and enjoy!