What’s In My Diaper Bag (Cloth Edition)

What's In My Diaper Bag (Cloth Edition) - Chic and Domestic

What’s in my diaper bag, Cloth diapering on the go, and Momming like a BOSS.

Whether you’re a prospective mom, first time mom, or a mama with experience, you know that what’s in your diaper bag is the holy grail to a successful day out. Diaper bags contain everything under the sun, and anything that you could ever think to need for your littles. You would like to think that as time goes on the load gets lighter (literally speaking) but the truth is, the contents of your bag just slowly adjust.

The greatest way to mom like a boss, is to be prepared for any hiccups and mishaps your sporadic little person decides to throw your way, but you also don’t want your arms falling off from a heavy bag. Pack to be prepared, but don’t pack for the apocalypse. Diaper bags will give you a bad back or aching shoulders well before your time, and what mom wants that!?

It took me a few months to find my balance of what I needed and didn’t need, and my husband still thinks I have some searching to do. After three kids however, I would like to think I’m a pro at this diaper bag thing. I’ve decided to share with you which items are truly needed to pack the perfect diaper bag, and how to cloth diaper on the go.

Diaper Bag Needs

1. Diaper Bag
So obviously the need for a diaper bag is number one. Not necessarily an inside essential item, but for obvious reasons, you need to choose a good bag to start with. Now, any diaper bag will do, and if you simply can’t afford it there’s no need to splurge, BUT I would recommend investing in your diaper bag. I’ve always found a need for having two bags on hand at a time in case of spills, and normal mommy wear and tear, and there are numerous styles like the over the shoulder, (One of my favorites) tote style, and the backpack style diaper bag. As my kids get older, I’m starting to love the backpack style. It’s so much easier to be hands free, and not have to worry about my bag falling from my shoulders while I’m holding little hands. I love my over the shoulder bags and everything, and there are so many options now that look more purse like (Making me feel more like a woman, and not just mommy) but at times they can be a hassle to hold while wrangling the kids. I’m currently using my Carter’s Diaper Bag, but I also have backpack options as well.

2. Changing Pad and Wet bag
Most of the diaper bags today come with a matching changing pad. If not, you can always invest in one for a decent price. Changing pads are great for public changings, and containing a mess. I use the detachable changing pad that came with my Carter’s Diaper bag, and I also have a Skip Hop portable changing pad that’s incredibly useful for a quick on the go. A wet bag is essential for a cloth diaper mom on the move. A mom using disposables would just throw her diapers in the trash, or opt for disposable baggies, but because your cloth diapers have to return home with you, you need to make sure to have a spare wet bag. I like to bring two (When I remember lol) one for #1 and a bag for #2. I have some pretty cute Alva and Planet wise bags that I alternate.

3. Diapers and Inserts
Of course diapers are on the diaper bag essentials list. With cloth diapers, they take up a bit more space in the diaper bag, so I normally pack 1 or 2 prepped diapers, and a few extra inserts and covers. I normally pack at least 1 diaper for a 2 or 3 hour trip, 2 diapers just in case. I like to be prepared for blow outs.

*Mom Tip!* Depending on what bag I’m using, and how long we’ll be out, I find that rolling my covers and inserts saves me a ton of space.

4. Baby wipes, Cloth Wipes, Cloth Wipe Solution
Where there are diapers, there are wipes. I’m a cloth diaper mom, but when it comes to wipes, I like to stick to my Pampers Naturals or Water Wipes. Plenty of cloth moms, along with their diapers, also use cloth wipes however so there are a few extra things needed for that. For after use disposal they would also be coming home with you, so this is also a great reason to bring along 2 separate wet bags. Diapers and wipes together can eventually take up a lot of space. If you currently use cloth wipes, it’s possible that you already know all about cloth wipe solution. I’ve seen moms that emerge their wipes in a solution for moisture (much like disposable wipes) and others that just prefer to spray them before use. Either way, a bottle of backup solution would be great to have on hand.

5. Change of Clothes
For obvious reasons a change of clothes is ALWAYS necessary to keep handy in your diaper bag. Kids are just messy! They can’t help it. They spill things, they drool, they pee, they poop. A change of clothes quite frankly is an inevitable need for your little’s diaper bag. I normally pack neutral clothing that can be thrown together with whatever they’re already wearing when needed.

6. Rash cream, Toiletries, Medications
I always make sure to keep a plastic ziplock bag full of these items. This is where I always feel extra prepared for the unthinkable. I keep things like:
• Honest Company Diaper Rash Cream
• Vaseline for Baby or Aquaphor
• Lotion
• Gas drops
• Hand Sanitizer
• Nipple Cream (from my breastfeeding days)
• Zarbee’s Cold Medicine (Seasonal)
• Sunscreen (Seasonal)

7. Snacks, Sippies, and Bottled Water
Snacks for the littles, snacks for a breastfeeding mama, sippies, and bottled water has come in handy on several occasions. When breastfeeding, it’s important to stay hydrated, if you’re formula feeding, water could come in handy for mixing bottles, and I’ve also had bottled water come in handy for sticky clean ups while we’re out and about. Invest in a reusable water bottle to save a few long term coins. My littles are all done with bottles now, so we drag along their sippy cups for their hydrating.

8. Receiving Blankets
Receiving blankets can be used for multiple uses and I ALWAYS pack at least 2 in my diaper bag. When my children were babies, I would keep spare receiving blankets for swaddling, or covering their carseat. As they started to get older, I used them for things like play or tummy time while we were visiting family, burp cloths, or a makeshift changing pad at times. It’s a great idea to have a few on hand, and get innovative with their uses.

9. Toys
Always always always keep at least a toy or two handy for your littles. You never know when your child might need some extra entertaining. I try to bring things along like blocks (My daughter’s favorite), puzzles, and color books or loose paper, and a few crayons to color.

10. Mommy stuff
A diaper bag is obviously there to serve the needs for your baby’s essentials, but it’s such a hassle to bring along both a diaper bag and your purse at times. Don’t forget to pack little things for yourself. Your cell, keys, and wallet are hard to forget, and are normally the only things that I bring along for myself. Breast pads, lotion, or a small makeup bag could also be of use. Also, depending on where we plan to go, I always try to double check what’s already in there and adjust.

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Meal Planning 101. How I Meal Plan for my Family of 5

Meal planning for my family has been one of the most beneficial things I started doing in my household. I’ve been doing it for a while now, and I’ve got to say it feels great to not have to question what’s for dinner, and get asked a few million times, “What are we eating today?” I do the majority of the cooking in our house, (okay, maybe all of it) so having this to keep me organized keeps meals quick, easy and convenient. It helped me after I really got into the swing of things, to keep a visual meal plan in a central location, so the rest of my family was aware of what we would be eating. Using a dry erase board, chalkboard, or just a simple flyer on the refrigerator works just fine. First things first though, I’m going to talk all about how I meal plan for my family of 5, the benefits of meal planning, and a few useful tips when planning for your own family.

WHY you should meal plan
• Healthier eating
• It saves money
• It saves time
• It wastes less of your food
• Less Stress!

Meal planning is a huge help when you’re trying to stick to a healthier diet. When dinner time is approaching, and you still have no clue what you’re going to feed your family, it’s easy to want to just grab fast food or order take out. I’ve been guilty of creating this pattern in my house, but one day I simply had to put a stop to it.

I was finding that I was spending so much more on food between take out, and buying extra at the grocery store without a designated list. I would do this EVERY single time. Go into the grocery store thinking I knew what direction I was going in, and I would always end up forgetting ingredients, buying too much of something, and then still not having all of my ingredients, or buying perishable items that would quickly go to waste. More than likely, this was a combination of my scattered overspending in the grocery store, and ordering take out and not eating the food I did actually purchase on my grocery trip. Repeat this a few times a week and you’re looking at a step towards an unhealthy lifestyle, and digging an unnecessary money pit.

I save a ton at the grocery store when all of my meals are planned ahead of time, because I go in with the mindset to only buy the ingredients I plan to use in our family meals, and a few of our staple items. It also helps things to run smoothly during the week, because knowing what I’m cooking means that I can prep things ahead of time if need be, and it creates the possibility to use leftover items and ingredients in other meals during the week.

HOW to meal prep in 5 easy steps
• Schedule a consistent time for weekly meal planning
• Inventory your kitchen first, ALWAYS
• Look at your schedule
• Choose your meals
• Keep side dishes simple

First, you have to schedule a consistent time to sit and plan your meals. Maybe it works for you to utilize your free time before your kids wake up in the morning, during naptime, or after bedtime (I’m noticing a bit of a pattern here). It can also be beneficial if you choose to plan around what’s in the weekly grocery circulars, so you can shop using the deals at your store of choice.

Next, you should make sure to inventory your own kitchen. Check for things that need to be used before they go bad, items that you’ve been meaning to get around to using (but constantly forget about), and staple items that you might just have an abundance of, like rice, beans, or tomato sauces.

Now that you’ve done that, you should sit down with a pen and whatever you plan to keep your meal plan in. No need to be fancy initially, but in the future, a designated planner or notebook can be useful to keep track of things. I enjoy planning in my bullet journal the most. It’s just another way for me to get create, but there are a ton of planner and journal options available to you. You might also like to write down recipes you want to try in the future, or notes about recipes that you’ve tried, that you know your family really enjoyed.

Look at your family’s usual schedule, and keep in mind the things your family has scheduled for that particular week. If Thursdays you’re busy running carpool, and getting kids to and from practice, then this would be a day that you plan to cook an easier meal. Something quick and simple will add less chaos to your already busy day. Maybe this particular Friday you have family coming to town for the weekend. You would possibly be planning to feed a larger number of people, so maybe it would be best to plan a meal that stretches. At the same time, making a note of a family visit gives you a mental note to either purchase more food, or to mentally plan a take out, or eat out day. And yes, planning for takeout is still meal planning!

After you’ve built up some mental momentum, and gathered all of your thoughts, now it’s time to start planning your meals! I like to plan at least 2-3 meals with corresponding ingredients, at least 1-2 large meals that creates leftovers, and at least 1 crockpot or quick meal. You can also dedicate a certain day of the week, maybe one where your schedule is less busy to cook “first time” meals, or things that require more prep and cook time.

Once you decide on exactly what to cook, it’s always useful to keep your side dishes really simple and to the point. Let the entrees speak for themselves, and don’t put so much effort into side dishes that it makes dinner complicated.

A good way to decide what to have on what day, is to think about what you could possibly have left over that could be used later. For example:

Monday: Ground turkey Chili and rice (Make extra for leftovers)
Tuesday: Nachos or Taco Salad (Using the leftover meat and beans)
Wednesday: Grilled Chicken, Brown rice and Parmesan Asparagus
Thursday: Chicken Fajitas or Fish Tacos (Using toppings from Tuesday)
Friday: Baked Fish, Garlic and Herb Roasted Potatoes, String Beans (Using the fish purchased for your Thursday meal)
(Quick meals) Taco soup, Burritos, Burrito bowls, Leftover veggies from the week used in a Stir Fry.
Meal planning can be made easy. Just replace this same concept with your family favorites, and meals you plan to try. Happy Planning!

 

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Meal Planning 101. How I Meal Plan For My Family Of 5 - Chic and Domestic
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