Practical Dad

A PracticalDad’s Diaper Bag

Dad's Diaper Bag

Don't leave home without it.  Be Prepared.

You didn't know that these lexicons of daily life also pertain to your new ball-and-chain, the diaper bag.

Hell hath no fury.

And that's your mood when you find that it's not properly stocked.  You'll break a hip kicking yourself in the butt for when you don't have what you need.

Let's face it, you're stuck with it so here's how to make the best of it.

Not Your Mother's Diaper Bag

Congratulations and welcome to the new world.  Since your other half is probably working and you're doing your doody, that's going to include taking Philo to the store and other spots.  Don't be afraid to negotiate for a bag that, while obviously for babies, isn't embarrassing.  When I started this gig 14 years ago - geez, I'm old - all of the bags that we saw in the store had cute, cuddly themes printed all over them.  Ideal, since I'm as far from cute as you get.  My wife understood that there was a difference between looking like a parent and the village idiot.  Consequently, our bag was a stolid navy blue and sturdy enough to last through three children.

I wore out before the bag did.

Since then, the number of actively involved men - Stay-at-home Dads and otherwise - has burgeoned.  And a few fathers, who also tired of looking like village idiots, came up with design lines of diaper bags and vests for the well-appointed father.  New bags, from DadGear (www.dadgear.com) and DiaperDude (www.diaperdude.com), sport updated designs and motifs to compartments for your mp3 and Blackberry.

So What Do You Need?

First, regardless of the design and motif, you need something with a shoulder strap that allows you to keep your hands free for Philo.

Next, there should be a portable changing pad on which you can lay him while he's being changed.  Clean it regularly and even in a designated changing area, don't expect it to be particularly sanitary.

Third, a large enough compartment for the spare wipes and diapers.

Fourth, consider a separate compartment to hold any bottles or liquids that you bring along for a meal or snack.  Some are equipped with insulated compartments for cold-storage.

Finally, you need sufficient smaller compartments to handle personal effects, like pens and keys.  Oh yeah, an mp3 player, too. 

Stocking the Bag

Diapers and wipes are obviously first on the list.  Carry enough diapers to last you through nasty situations, like a diarrhetic kid in a traffic jam.  Okay, that scenario requires a carton, but you get the drift.  I typically kept four in a bag at one time and would restock as needed.  What else?

  • Baby wipes in a ziplock bag.  Wipe manufacturers provide a small box in which to carry wipes, but I replaced it with a ziplock bag after the clasp broke and I was left with stiff, semi-dry wipes.
  • A full set of spare clothes, including an extra "onesie" for Philo after his customary blowouts.
  • A tube of ointment for chafing and redness; one with zinc oxide is preferable.
  • A plastic grocery bag to hold particularly nasty diapers when there are no receptacles available.
  • A small plastic container to hold Philo's snack.
  • After he was weaned, a sippy cup for thirsty moments.
  • A small jar of Vicks Vap-o-rub for a nose dab during a particularly nasty mess.

Any Other Brilliant Suggestions?

Hell hath no fury.  Take a few moments to check out the bag and restock it with needed - and clean - items.  You can always stop at a local store if you're desperate, but when you need the bag isn't conducive for a Walmart run.  Finally, make it a point to regularly clean out the bag and wipe it thoroughly with a disinfectant wipe.  Philo's bottom is nasty enough, don't make it worse.

Damn, I would've liked the Skull and Maltese Cross look.

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