Mum Bag MUST HAVES When Leaving the House with a Toddler
When I was pregnant I read so many different blogs about the 'perfect' changing bag and what I needed to pack, little did I know that I would spend hundreds of pounds and probably use it for a whole two weeks, tops.
There actually comes a point at around six months old that you don't bother taking your big clumpy changing bag out anymore, because you're past the honeymoon period of having the baby and everything being a novelty, you're passed needing to take massive lady pads out with you because you're still bleeding three months post birth, you're past that stage where you panic that you haven't got seven outfit changes just incase and you are at the point where you just want to get out of the house, so you stick a nappy and a pack of wipes into your handbag and hope for the best!
Then your baby hits one year and suddenly everything changes. Now, that cute bundle of joy that just sat in their car seat before and smiled at you, walks. runs. falls. gets VERY muddy, quickly and screams, loud and often.
So here is my rundown of ABSOLUTE NECESSITIES you need in your mum bag before you even consider leaving the house!
First off, the most important of them all is the iconic 'Mum Bag'. The holy grail of parenthood. The Mary Poppins bag that fits in everything including the kitchen sink (you probably need that too)
The trick is pockets. Pockets and compartments, make it so much easier to keep your bag organized, so you can find things in an emergency, like when your toddler is having a meltdown in aisle five.
My bag is from Jem+Bea, its actually made from a soft nylon – a material made from reclaimed fishing nets and certified by the GRS (Global Recycle Standard), so its completely sustainable, lightweight, waterproof and absolutely stunning! It has lots of compartments and pockets, including two zipper ones for added security (from the toddler).
Did you know it takes up to 500 years for one nappy to decompose?
We use washable nappies as much as possible, yes I'm a realist, I still have a bag of disposable nappies in the cupboard and the car for emergencies, but we try our best!
The Miosolo nappy is just as easy as a disposable, its simple, stylish and super soft, its also one size, so you don't have to keep buying more, they grow with your baby, from baby to toddler. The nappy comes apart really easily, making it quick to wash and dry and get back on again!
This recommendation comes from ALOT of research. I have been through so many different brands of wipes, from thin to thick, aloe vera to fragrance free, organic cotton to compostable. But none of them even compare to Water Wipes. Yes, they are slightly more expensive that other leading brands, but they are so strong and moist that I probably use one water wipe to six other branded wipes. They are also the only wipes that have no added chemicals, even others that say they are 99% water, they're not if you read the ingredients, so they're super soft on baby skin. So these will always be our number one choice of wipes.
An absolute necessity to keep your bits and bobs in, there is nothing worse than having to search the entire contents of your Mary Poppins bag to find the nappy cream, one handed whilst you have your toddlers legs up in the air mid nappy change!
Mine is, again, from the wonderful Jem+Bea, and also from their sustainable collection, made the same as the bag, from reclaimed fishing nets! It is strong and waterproof, and the inside is wipe clean, so no need to worry about any accidents. How cool is the 'baba' design too!
Travel Changing Mat
Whilst I'm still on Jem+Bea's high horse, the changing mat comes as part of the changing bag. These travel mats are absolute essentials, I don't think I've ever been anywhere with public changing facilities and found the changing table to be clean! I always have to get my sanitiser out! So these travel mats are perfect for when you have to use public changing facilities.
Right, this is a big one for me as Bowie suffers from patchy dry skin, which seems to get irritated by the slightest things, like a change in weather, sticky food around his mouth, other peoples washing powder, soft play centre's and pretty much anything really. I use Soothing Baby Salve, by Green People. It is AMAZING and has been a lifesaver for us. Its a really thick balm so you only need a tiny bit, it works on all areas of the skin that needs attention, its a rescue balm for irritated skin, made from organic lavender and calendula so perfect for a nappy rash or dry patches. Since we started using it, Bowies dryness has cleared up almost completely, but I still keep it in my bag for emergency skin rescues.
Always a necessity, if like me, you like to take 'insta' worthy photos throughout the day! Bowies hair is constantly scruffy and full of food so I'm always having a quick sweep over with a hairbrush and wipe! I use a super soft goats hair wooden brush from Naturisimo.
Change of Clothes
Another big change with the one year milestone! your baby is now a toddler, meaning he is walking. running. falling. laying down in mud. splashing in puddles and getting constantly filthy. I usually take two outfit changes and hope for the best.
Luckily for me, Bowie isn't overly fussed for plastic toys. He absolutely loves musical instruments and anything that he can bang together to make noise! So my first choice when grabbing a couple of toys is a musical instrument. The one in the photo is a cinnamon stick shaker from Grasp and Gather, who do a beautiful range of natural musical instruments and other children's toys made from materials inspired by nature.
Okay, this is life or death. Leaving the house without snacks is mum suicide. I usually go for easy to eat snacks that are least messy, like raspberries, blueberries and packaged oat snacks. Organix do little bite size oat bars that are full of natural ingredients but still sweet, so your toddler thinks its a real treat!
I always have water available for Bowie whenever he wants it, he isn't great at drinking throughout the day to be honest, so I've tried to make it more fun by bringing along his bright water bottle from Rex London! As he is now one, I'm trying to reduce his milk consumption during the day, if I gave him a bottle he would just down the whole thing in about five seconds, so I now give him his milk in a carton, he's really slow at drinking it as he can't be bothered staying still long enough to hold it! I use Alpro soya growing up milk which contains all of the vitamins and minerals that he needs.
Tinted Moisturiser (FOR ME)
I am constantly exhausted and look like a walking zombie, so its always important to have a little bit of tinted moisturiser handy to refresh myself! Since becoming a parent, I find putting a full face of make up on impossible, so I stick to easy and quick alternatives. Luckily when I found this beautiful tinted moisturiser from Green People, It does two jobs in one. It gives my skin some much needed TLC, whilst at the same time protects it from the sun AND gives me a nice even coverage so I don't like an extra on The Walking Dead. Another one of those products that I've spent hundreds of pounds trying to find the right fit for my skin! Now I have it, It doesn't leave my side and comes to my rescue in times of need (usually multiple times a day).
Now I know most of you will have your calendars on your smart phones, but I'm old school and I like to write everything down and organise it all in one place. I'm usually writing to do lists and planning events on bits of paper that get lost in my bag and all over the house, so this is why this is a MUST HAVE for me. I use the Perfect Parent Planner, oh my gosh its incredible! Its all of your list dreams in one. It has your usual diary section, but also has a finance tracker, a vacation planner, a 5 year plan, Christmas gift plan, Birthday party organiser and even a gratitude mood board! So yes, it is a necessity as it lets me take all of the information out of my head and manages it all in one compact space! Amazing, I know.
I always have some bamboo cutlery and a reusable straw, as I always get caught short when I'm out and have nothing to eat with. Not only that, but it takes 400 years for a plastic straw or plastic cutlery to decompose! Awful.
Travel Play Mat
And last but absolutely not least, a necessity for any Mum with a messy toddler. A travel playmat! There has been so many times when I have been out and needed to find a spot to let Bowie have a run around and feed him some lunch. A coat just doesn’t cut it anymore with a self feeding toddler! I use the gorgeous Eco Vegan leather Mats from Lolly + Kin. they fold up small, are wipeable and have an aesthetically pleasing, matching carry sling. Also great for messy play at home when you need to protect your carpets, table or anything that those messy hands can be wiped over!
*All recommendations are completely my own, some items have been gifted, but I do genuinely use all of these products myself daily.