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Welcome to the very first edition of Ask Dr. Dina (to read all about our resident pediatrician experts, Dr. Dina and Dr. Anthony, head to this post)!
As a reminder, you can ask Dr. Dina your burning questions about baby nutrition (and more) and she'll answer them here. Keep an eye out for our Instagram story polls, calling for questions.
This month, we asked Dr. Dina and Dr. Anthony to provide us with a Doctor-recommended list of what to pack in the FEED Diaper Bag, from newborn baby to toddler.
Here's what they recommended. Plus, check out our IGTV segment to see them chatting through the below at FEED HQ!
Part 1: The Hospital & bringing home baby
Congratulations soon-to-be new mama! Getting ready for the big day is an exciting time! To prepare for your hospital stay, we put together a list of “must haves” for your overnight stay in the hospital (most vaginal deliveries will stay in the hospital for 48 hours, while babies delivered by c/section will normally stay for 3 to 4 days).
For Mom: It is all about making nursing more comfortable: nursing/comfortable PJs, nursing pads, Lanolin for sore nipples, gel breast pads, and a nursing pillow are helpful to have on hand if you decide to breastfeed.
- The simple comforts – and more – for mama:
- Slippers, robe, favorite music or music for delivery, flip flops for the shower and to wear home (sometimes your feet get swollen after delivery), ear plugs and eye mask (the hospital can definitely be noisy!), extra hair bands when you are delivering.
- Toiletries (the hospital may not provide or you may not like the shampoo/soaps/toothpaste/toothbrush they have there and taking a shower makes you feel like a new person after giving birth!), toilet paper (there is nothing worse than single ply after giving birth), your own sanitary/overnight pads (some moms find the hospital ones are too thick/uncomfortable)
- Regular pillow and nursing pillow
- Phone chargers, extra-long cords to charge phones,
- Lip balm and favorite hand lotion (those hospital rooms can be dry!)
- Stool softener like Miralax or senna (trust us on this one, but make sure your Dr. is ok with this!)
- Camera/video camera and magazines or a book (these though definitely might go unread).
- Don’t forget the snack bag (you might be in the hospital for a few days, and if you chose to breast feed, you will definitely burn calories and want your favorite healthy snacks with in arms reach!).
- For baby:
- Baby t-shirt/onesies (you may want to avoid the onesies that snap at bottom and just bring a snap shirt to avoid the cord from being rubbed up against)
- Hats, socks, mittens to prevent your baby from scratching him/herself
- Nail file for baby (sometimes babies are born with sharp nails and they end up scratching themselves!)
- Burp cloths
- Sensitive wipes or water wipes
- Going home outfit, car seat, and diapers (if you don’t like hospital ones). Don’t forget to put the base of the car seat in your car before you deliver. Your local fire station for free or some local companies for a fee can help make sure that your car seat is installed properly!
Part II: 0-6 month old
When you are brave enough to leave the house to go for a walk, travel to relatives or go with your infant for their doctor’s check-up, it can be difficult to make sure that you have all of the essential items that you will need. Your infant doesn’t need much so you don’t need to overfill your bag.
Here are the top things you should consider when packing your diaper bag to keep it light and organized.
- The must-haves: Always pack enough diapers, wipes and don’t forget the changing pad. Pack these items close together so you can easily access them when you need to change your child’s diaper! For wipes, we like Water Wipes since they have less chemicals and can be less irritating to your child. We recommend also carrying a few disposable bags with you to put used diapers in until you are able to discard of the dirty diaper.
- Breast milk and formula: Don't forget to bring food for your child. If you are using ready to feed or premixed formula or using expressed breast milk, remember to place bottles in an area with an ice pack. Packing an extra bottle of two can be helpful as you may not have access to clean the bottles before the next feed. If using powdered formula, pack bottled water if you won’t have access to tap water and a container for the powdered formula. A useful container is one that can hold enough scoops of formula for a certain volume of water to limit mixing when you are on the go.
- Bibs and burp clothes: Bibs gets it own number since you can never have enough bibs or burp clothes!
- Extra pair of clothes or two: Whether it's a large spit-up OR an up the back poop (you’re know it when you see it), always have an extra set of clothes or two to change into in case their clothes get soiled.
- Toys: A rattle or a chewable block or toy can be helpful. At this age, it is common for children to seem like they are teething but it can be months before their first tooth breaks through. Most infants will have their first teeth between 4 months and one year of life.
- Books: Reading to your infant is great. Bring one or two small or paperback books (they are lighter). Some of our favorite books are the touch and feel books and those that have mirrors. Your child’s eyes will develop a lot from birth to six months - from seeing shadows, black and white to colors.
- Hand sanitizer: A portable sanitizer with a clip that can be easily assessed is important especially if you are traveling on public transportation.
Part III: 6 – 12 month old
Your baby is now on solid foods and is growing up fast! To help ensure you have everything you need with when going out on new adventures with her, here is a helpful guide on some favorites for your 6 to 12 month old.
- Food: while spending a day out, we want to make sure baby is well-fed to avoid any unwanted tears, so having an ice pack to keep breast milk or formula cool, or having water on hand to mix with powder formula is important.
Children at this age will also be eating solids. We typically recommend offering one solid meal a day at around 6 months of age and then add an additional meal every month. By 8-9 months, your child should be eating solids approximately 3 times per day.
2. Therefore, it is important to bring a bowl and spoon as well as a bib to be able to feed your child on the go.
Most restaurants have high chairs and these high chairs can typically be turned upside down so that a car seat can be placed on top of it. Some kids especially at 6-7 months may have a difficult time sitting in these high chairs unsupported so he/she can be fed from their car seat. When starting solids, we also recommend offering your child a few ounces of water a day, so also remember to pack a baby’s favorite sippy cup!
3. Emergencies: We want to be prepared for any emergencies that arise, so it is always good to have band aides, hand sanitizer, antibiotic ointment, along with a thermometer and acetaminophen or ibuprofen on hand. Children’s diphenhydramine in case any allergic reactions occur, is always a must!
Part IV: Toddlers
At this age, your diaper bag will contain a variety of things to keep your toddler occupied when you are on the go. Whether you are going to the playground, traveling on a train or plane or going out for a meal, you want to have your bag organized and keep it as light as possible with easy access to all of the must haves for your child.
Follow this list to make sure you have everything for every situation:
- Diapers, Wipes, oh My!: Most toddlers will still be in diapers or pull-ups at this age. Toddlers will typically be diaper trained when they are 2-3 years of age but the actual time will vary based on the child. Bring diapers and wipes! Though some kids can be changed while standing up, having a changing pad can still be useful especially for a messy diaper change.
- Extra clothes: Always pack extra clothes in case your child gets dirty, clothes get wet. This is especially important if they have just potty trained – accidents will happen and are completely normal. Bring extra underwear, outfits. If coming back home late
- Snacks: Kids at this age will have three meals and two snacks per day. Some good non-perishable snacks include apples, crackers, dried fruit, and low sugar granola bars.
- Water, water, water: Bring a filled straw cup of water. A thermos is good as it keeps the water cool when you out for the day when it is warm out. It also is generally leak proof so it won’t soak the contents of your bag. Some diaper bags have an outside compartment for the water bottle which is great to keep it accessible and away from things that you want.
- Games/crayons: If you are traveling on the train or going outside, there are many easy games to play with your child. Paper, coloring books and crayons are great. Play dough for older toddlers and we personally like Wiki Sticks which are moldable wax sticks that come in a variety of colors and you can turn into rings, bracelets, glasses and many other things.
- Books: Reading to your child is essential to help them become excited young readers as they get older. Ask your child what book they would like you to bring with them. We like to pack a paperback book or magazine such as Highlights magazine which is lightweight and easy to travel with.
- Sanitizer: Toddlers touch everything. If you are in a public place (library, gym or park), sanitizers can help prevent infections.
- Emergencies: Toddlers are definitely prone to falls at this age, and we want to be prepared to help any boo-boos. Bandaids, antibiotic cream are musts at this age, along with children’s diphenhydramine in case any mild allergic reactions occur.