Stock your stroller and car like a seasoned pro (not like a rookie)

Kerry and her husband Rob, are the authors of the new book, How to Have Your Second Child First: 100 Things That Are Good to Know… the First Time Around (Chronicle Books).

When our mutual friend Lisa introduced us, I told Kerry that I am frankly too lazy to review her book since it’s no longer possible for me to have my “second child first”, but that I would like to know if she could share some advice with some actual rookies. “How about what to pack your diaper bag, or what a new mom should stock in her car?”

Here’s what she said:

Stock Up

It’s a classic new parent moment: You open your diaper bag at a restaurant, and realize it’s got a thousand things in it—but not one actual diaper. Or you drive to your old office to show off your newborn, and realize you have spit-up (or worse) on your shirt.  These are but a couple of examples of why you should keep your car stocked! By keeping a few things in a cardboard box on the floor of your trunk, you have a constant insurance policy….and you don’t have to pack a bunch of stuff every time you leave the house. Want to stay longer than expected at a friend’s place but it’s almost baby’s meal time? No problem. Breasts leaking on your way to a job interview? You’re covered. Here’s what experienced parents advise keeping in your box at all times (and don’t forget to restock!) I guarantee it will save you more than once.

  • Five diapers
  • Full-size pack of wipes (to clean hands, faces, and clothing, as well as bottoms)
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Bottle of water (for drinking, dealing with messes, or mixing formula)
  • Baby blanket (for warmth or to use as a changing pad)
  • Nonperishable snack (if baby’s on solids), such as a couple of wrapped teething biscuits or zwieback toast
  • Nonperishable snack for you (like an energy bar or trail mix)
  • Sustenance for one meal if your baby is not breast-feeding exclusively (i.e., bottle and dry formula and/or one jar baby food with spoon and bib)
  • Change of clothes for baby (make sure it’s size- and season-appropriate as the months pass)
  • Change of shirt for you (and spare breast pads if nursing)
  • Towel (for any number of things, from drying off playground swings to mopping up spit up; this is a great way to recycle your ratty dishtowels)
  • Extra pacifier, if your baby uses one
  • Extra favorite toy, book, or lovey, to pull out in a pinch

Going out on foot with your stroller? Don’t lug that huge diaper bag around with you. Keep two diapers, a zip-top bag of wipes, a blankie and/or small folding changing pad, and an emergency five-dollar-bill (in case you need coffee or a cookie) in the stroller basket at all times, so you can head out in a flash—without feeling like a pack mule.

Want more from Kerry and Rob? Check out their book and their blog.