Monday, May 26, 2014

Diaper Bags - What to Carry AND an Awesome Giveaway!

To celebrate reaching 2,000 "Likes" on my Facebook page, The Natural Baby Company - Austin, TX is sponsoring a giveaway of an award-winning, eco-friendly Lassig diaper bag, valued at $154!  Check it out here - it's super cool - made from recycled materials and full of pockets and extra goodies like a changing pad.  You can enter to win below the suggestions for what you might want to carry in your diaper bag!

At MommyCon with Whitney, the sweet & lovely owner of TNBC.
A note about the giveaway: This blog and my Facebook page are, I think, equal parts local and global.  So don't let the name fool you - feel free to read and like from outside of Austin!  And after all, there's that whole "Think Global, Act Local" notion.  That said, the contest involves FB-liking local-to-me breastfeeding coalitions CTBC and TXBC, a diaper charity, and of course, The Natural Baby Co.  Even if you're not local, I'm sure you'll still see great stuff in your news feed as a result.  And you may be inspired to seek out similar organizations in your area - wouldn't that be cool?

On Diaper Bags

I'm no BabyGuyNYC, but I was a Girl Scout, so I know a little something about having an over-prepared, bulging-at-the-seams diaper bag. Now in the event of a Zombie Apocalypse, the only truly vital baby gear for me is boobs. But if we're just talking playdates and grocery shopping, you may want to have a bunch of crap for their... well, crap.

There are a few ways to go with diaper bags.  You've heard how moms sometimes handle a dropped pacifier with multiple kids, right?  Sanitize with the first, blow them off with the second, just hand it right back to the third?

Well, if you have just one child, you may opt to have one very large, very well-stocked diaper bag that will do double duty as your purse, because it will be with you always.

If you are on your second child, you might stuff a diaper and travel wipes case into your purse, and pop the purse into your big old diaper bag, so that the diaper bag can stay in the car and you can just grab your purse to run into places.

With the third kid?  Let's just say, hopefully there will be a few loose diapers floating around in the car if you've already used the one from your purse the next time Baby has a blow-out!

True confession, though - the first time I took my oldest down the street to see his pediatrician, the nurse, needing to weigh him without a diaper, asked me if I had a diaper for him.  I did not!  We lived just six minutes away, and it hadn't occurred to me that we'd need a diaper while we were so close to home for just a short while!

Actually, my wonderful first diaper bag that I'd left home that day finally crapped out (pun intended - sorry, couldn't help it!) when Bellybean, my third son, was wee little.  It was an extensively-researched, carefully-selected backpack.  The backpack part stunk when I was wearing a kid on my back, but otherwise it was perfectly awesome - full of many pockets so I could organize every little thing.

Its replacement, my new-to-me/consignment-sale-find, has a changing pad that does not detach from the bag.  If you don't win the Lassig bag and you're reading this still needing to buy a bag - do NOT get one with an attached pad.  These are stupid.  One messy change and the whole bag needs to go in the washing machine.  And if your oldest son cracks his head open doing a back flip into the pool while you're cleaning up a blow-out - well, then you're really screwed, cause you'll be rushing to the emergency room with that thing, terrified that you're going to get poo germs in your kid's head wound.  But I digress.  Or flash back. Whatever.

Anyway - here's a Girl-Scoutified list of what to pack in your (first kid's) diaper bag.  Grab some popcorn and settle in - it's very thorough.

Krisdee's Diaper Bag Crap Checklist
  • Bib - If you use one.  Is it lazy that I never did?
  • Blanket - There are blankets for swaddling that have Velcro to help you get it right - they're awesome. I have blankets that are just thin cotton fabric with a hem, which are perfect in Texas.
  • Bottles/Formula/Expressed Milk - If you're bottle feeding, be sure to keep all of the accoutrements ready to go.  If you're carrying EBM, you'll want some ice packs and a cooler, or an insulated pocket on your diaper bag.
  • Burp Cloth - Especially if you have a very spitty baby.
  • Business Cards - If you don't have any, consider printing some "Mommy Cards" to give to moms you meet while out and about.  Start building your mama tribe!
  • Camera - Hooray for cell phones!  When my 8.5-year-old was born, I don't think my phone took pictures.  Now if there's a Kodak Moment (does that phrase date me?), we've got our smart phones at the ready.  But, let's face it, even when you Instagram it up, many cell pics just suck.  It's nice to sometimes have a real camera along.
  • Car Seat Locking Clip - We don't usually use ours, but we have when we've traveled.
  • Change of Clothes - Or maybe two.  Including socks, which we sometimes leave the house without, but then want later when the air conditioning makes a place too chilly for baby toes.  Don't forget a change of clothes for Baby's potty-training older sibling, too.
  • Changing Pad - Eventually you may just change your kids on concrete or picnic benches, but to start, at least, you'll want a nice padded, washable (not attached to your bag) changing pad.  Two might be nice, to swap in the extra if one gets blasted and is in the laundry.
  • Checklist - With Kid #1, I'd use a checklist to be sure I'd restocked my bag every now and again.  You can find my free printable list here.  Save it as a Google Doc to customize it.
  • Contact/Emergency Info - Just in case, throw in an index card with your contact information, including an emergency contact or three and your pediatrician's number, and any allergy/medication information.  That way if your bag is lost or there's an emergency, there's information to help.  You might want to throw in a couple, and when you're in a large crowd you can put one in your child's shoe in case you are separated.
  • Diaper Rash Cream - California Baby is really nice, and is rated a "1" on the Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep® Cosmetics Database (a site I highly recommend!).  There are some that are a zero, though, too.  I should check those out...
  • Diapers - Enough for 2-3 days, because you won't want to have to restock on the daily.
  • Disposable Bags - If you're using disposable diapers, you can usually fold up a diaper and close it up with the tabs.  But some blow-outs require a plastic bag, because trying to get that diaper all closed up is like trying to get a tent back into a tent bag.  There are biodegradable bags for disposing of diapers, if you want to limit your ecological footprint to just the disposable diapers and not bags on top of that. I always re-used plastic grocery bags, but Austin is bag-free now.  Find a pocket on your diaper bag to zip these away when stored so they aren't played with, since they pose a suffocation risk.
  • Ear Plugs - Not a necessity at all, but the disposable ones don't take up any real space, and they've come in handy before when we've left our good ear muffs at home and we've been at, say, a hockey game, or concert, or a Chinese New Year celebration (lots of firecrackers!).
  • First-Aid Kit - Bandaids, mostly, but one of those little travel kits with extras might be nice.  Just be sure there aren't medicines that your little one could eventually tear into.
  • Hand Sanitizer - I prefer something natural like Burt's Bees, because the Triclosan in most antibacterial gels scares me.  If you saw that episode of "House" with the pathologist who has thyroid psychosis, then you know what I'm talking about. (Thyroid psychosis is not a medical term as far as I'm aware. But it makes more sense to me than "myxedema crisis.")
  • Hat - For sun or cold, depending on the season.  In winter it can be nice to have a an extra pair of mittens, too, in case it's colder than expected once you're out and about, or if you stay out late.  And in summer (so, February to October here), those baby-sized sunglasses not only help with half the job of a sunhat, they are cuuuuute - if you can keep them on Baby's head.
  • Instant Cold Compress - This seemed brilliant when I saw them in the Dollar Spot at Target long ago.  Never used it.
  • Jacket - Just in case it gets chilly or the coat (s)he's wearing falls victim to bodily fluids.
  • Lanolin - If you have a sample size or have had discomfort, it can be nice to keep some on hand, but you may never need it.
  • Nail Clippers - Because the only time you ever remember to trim your baby's nails is when you have no clippers handy.  Or is that just me?
  • Nursing Cover - IF you're more comfortable nursing in public with a cover, remember to tuck this in your bag.  Just know that they are not a requirement.
  • Nursing Pads - I had oversupply, so I've needed nursing pads when my babies were born, until my supply leveled out. There are cloth ones, disposable, & also silicone ones that stick to your boobs.
  • Pen/Pencil & Notebook - For making grocery/to do lists in the car while waiting for an interminable nap to end, or for whatever other writing needs arise.  This habit formed for me pre-smart phone, but still - batteries die.
  • Purse/Purse Stuff - Either your whole purse, or everything you'd usually carry in it - wallet, chapstick, keys, phone, etc.
  • Shirt for Mom - Leaky boobs and spit up can make this a nice extra to have handy.
  • Shoes - If you're like me and you often carry your toddler to the car forgetting that, now that (s)he toddles, (s)he needs shoes, throw an extra pair into the diaper bag.
  • Sippy Cup - Kleen Kanteen makes my fave.  Side note - as a lazy mom, I recommend water only in sippy cups.  A rogue sippy cup with juice or milk is not a sippy cup you want to find two weeks later...
  • Sling or Wrap - I like to keep a pouch sling in my diaper bag in case I forget to bring my Ergo with me.  It doesn't take up much space at all (I can even fit it in my pocket).  In Austin, you can get babywearing help (even rentals) here. Outside of Austin, look here for help.
  • Snacks - Pack healthy snacks for yourself, the baby if (s)he's eating solids, and anybody else whose hanger (the anger that results when a someone is insanely hungry) may impact your day.
  • Sunscreen - Because that stuff needs constant reapplications, so you can't get away with just using the bottle at home before you head out the door.  I don't want any chemical sunscreens being absorbed by my family members' skin, so although it doesn't go on as super easy and I have to try to rub it in well to avoid the ghostly pallor of a physical barrier sunscreen, my favorite is by Badger. It gets a good rating on Skin Deep®.  Recommendations are that babies under six months should not wear sunscreen, but should instead be kept out of the sun.
  • Teether - Rubber teethers are pricey, but are a safe, natural material. No worrying about BPAs, or whatever they're using to replace BPAs in plastics.
  • Thank You for Breastfeeding Cards - These are a must for me.  It's easier for me as an introvert who tends to feel shy, to approach a breastfeeding mom if I have a card I can hand her.  And since my own negative NIP incident, I've vowed to always say something nice to nursing mamas when I see them.
  • Thermometer - I've actually bought one when out and about - first kid, of course. Then I kept that one in the bag in case I worried and wanted to check his temp while we were away from home.  Seems kinda silly now, but I did say "over-prepared."
  • Tissues - 'Cause Mommy's shirt is not a Kleenex.
  • Toys - Because the sweetener packets on the restaurant table are only
    interesting for so long.  I've packed up an extra travel wipes case with little toys, a book, crayons, and paper.  (These are played with while supervised, since some could be choking hazards for my under-three-year-old).

Water for Mom - Especially if you're nursing - and especially especially if you're nursing in Texas - have a bottle of water in your bag.  I read that while aluminum is no longer considered to be linked to Alzheimer's, it does require a plastic liner, which could contain BPAs.  And single-use plastic contains endocrine disruptors, too, in addition to not being environmentally-friendly.  I opt for stainless steel with no plastic liner - I love our Klean Kanteens.
  • Wet Bag - Whether it's for cloth diapers or soiled clothes, you may want two of these.  Not the vinyl zippered kind, cause those are gross to clean.  Though I haven't actually used them, I think I'd prefer the drawstring cloth bags sold for use with cloth diapers.  Get two, so you've always got a clean one to keep in your bag.
  • Wipes - I prefer a good-sized bag of them because again, if you've just got a travel case, you'll need to restock often.  If you're using cloth wipes away from home, you'll probably want a little spray bottle so you can wet them.
I almost put pacifier on my list, but then I read this on Kellymom.  I waited until six weeks to try one with my youngest, because he and my oldest seemed to want to nurse even after they were full while I had oversupply.  And they can be helpful in the car.  But looking at research, I would not suggest them as a staple to a breastfeeding mom.

So, there it is - my complete guide to essential and utterly non-essential diaper bag paraphernalia.  And now...

The Giveaway!

Note the cool green interior.  Love it!
Winner will be chosen randomly and must be 18 or older with a U.S. mailing address.  Enter below from May 26 through June 10.  Winner will be announced June 11.  If (s)he does not reply within three days, a new winner will be chosen.

Good luck, and thank you for entering and sharing this with friends!

a Rafflecopter giveaway