You’ve seen them. Those big, bulky accessories that don the likes of every mom’s shoulder. Only those who are currently in the ‘baby club’ really understand what it’s contents are. The rest of us can only hazard a guess.
If you’re one of these moms, on the outer (albeit momentarily!), let me fill you in on the essentials that are carried by these mothers and why they need them, so that when it’s your turn, you don’t waste time faffing around, working it out the hard way.
1. Water bottle & snack for mom (do you like how this is my first point? We never forget the baby, we just forget about our own basic needs sometimes)
Moms get super thirsty when breastfeeding. It is estimated that producing breast milk takes up to 25% of a mom’s energy, so no wonder you’re hungry! Expect to drink up to two liters a day too. All fluids count, but water is the best source. So, pack a water bottle and a healthy snack!
2. If bottle feeding – you’ll need enough clean bottles and formula (in the separate container) for your estimated day out.
It’s essential to do your maths (and ensure you’ve been generous with your calculations). You don’t want to get caught out with a hungry, hysterical bub. Always pack at least one extra bottle and equivalent formula. Moms have to be prepared!
3. Breast pads
Don’t forget these little beauties. Don’t ruin that bra, or be left with the embarrassment of stains on your top. These should be changed with every feed. With a warm, nourishing environment, bacteria grows fast (this bacteria then enters via the nipple). Look for pads that are self-absorbent and lock away that moisture. With frequent changing, breast pads can help prevent infection (and keep your top cute and fresh!)
Look for breast pads that are shaped to your breast and that have a wide, self-adhesive strip so they don’t move around your body and end up on the floor of the Woolworths aisle.
This one’s a bit like the white t.shirt rule. You know if you wear one, you will spill that sauce on it. If you don’t take a generous amount of nappies, you will only regret it. It will be the day that baby poops a dozen times!
On average a bub will go through eight (disposable) nappies per day. If you’re using cloth nappies (btw you’re a better mother than me), you will go through closer to twelve. You’ll need to time your day out, or better yet, leave a bag of nappies (either disposable or cloth), in the boot of your car so you can head back there, if desperate or a bad mathematician).
5. Plastic bags
These are to pop your cloth nappies in, or to pop your poopy disposable ones in. Have three of these in your baby bag. They also cater for those milk-stained garments, that you swap baby out of and don’t want mixing with your mobile.
Oh my gosh. I’m in love with baby wipes. They are the true fix-it-all. These little suckers can wipe an array of horrors off anything – from your baby’s bum to the kitchen floor. I used one this morning to wipe the scuzz off my window sill. These little wonders will be in your bag years after child-bearing.
7. Change mat
Public facilities are pretty good these days, in terms of baby change areas. However, you still absolutely need your own change mat. Don’t put your precious bundle down on that change table (that every other poopy baby has laid upon). Put your fresh change mat down and protect her little body from germs and bacteria. Make sure it’s a waterproof one, that you can wipe down and keep fresh yourself.
8. Feeding cloth / cover
A muslin wrap is the best thing. It’s light, compact and it’s large enough to feed under discretely (if modesty’s important). Or better yet, grab your Ring Sling, that can double-up as a nursing cover, with its extra swathe of fabric. You can then attend to the leaks and posits with it too. If drenched (like mine always were), pop it into that plastic bag for the trip home to the washing machine.
9. Paw paw cream – or the likes
You’ll need to be looking after those nipples. You’re feeding a lot, and if you’re on the go, you may not be paying close attention to the perfect ‘latch’. Keep this handy and pop on after each feed.
10. Sanitary pads
Remember you will have a post-birth bleed that will last for up to six weeks. If you’ve newly given birth, you’ll need to have your supplies on-hand.
11. Hand sanitiser
For all on-the-go nappy changes (and for toddlers hands as well).
12. Spare change of baby clothes
Baby WILL SOIL her outfit at some point. It might be today, it might be tomorrow, but what are you going to do if you don’t have some ‘spare-sies’ ready. Remember to re-fresh these as the seasons change.
If you use one of these, you probably wont forget them. In fact, one is probably in baby’s mouth right now. I loved dummies! But many don’t. If you use one, pop a spare in as well, because dropping a dummy and sucking it yourself to make it clean is not cool, and you’re only going to in-troduce baby to the ground’s germs + yours!
If your baby usually sleeps firmly wrapped, she probably wont sleep well without it. This could ruin the day for you both. Bring a spare. Look for one using fibres that control bacteria and prevent bad odour. Your baby is too cute to go around smelling like foul-milk.
Many wraps are only 1mx1m and leave you tugging to get them to do what you want. Grab a generous sized one (120x120cm is perfect!), so you can pack-light and spend your money smart, by multiplying its purpose… as a pram cover, change mat, burping cloth…
15. Small toy/rattle
Age-dependent here. Most small babies are transfixed on their mothers and as they grow, are increasingly engaged in the world around them. Pop something in that is small and that they love.
16. AND a fresh top for mom
Regardless of how ‘used to it’ you get when you’re at home, you will always feel (and smell) better if you’re clean and fresh yourself too. Pop a spare in somewhere, even if again, it’s in the boot of your car. Remember it still needs to be breastfeeding-friendly A well-designed maternity top will be so discrete, no one will know just what it facilitates.
Well done. You’re now ready to head out for the day. Don’t forget the baby (not joking) and perhaps the ute. Lucky all moms are made of steel – we have to be, to carry those baby bags.
Mum of six fabulous kids and foster-mum to numerous others. Event manager, doula, childbirth educator, lactation counsellor, owner of Sydney Birth Support, Mamaway Advocate and an encourager of all mums out there giving it their best crack!