Top items parents pack in baby bags – including nappies, wipes, and toys

Nappies, wipes, toys, and snacks top the list of what parents pack in their baby bags before leaving the house with their little one, research has found.

Mums and dads say they typically spend seven minutes packing a bag before heading out, packing a minimum of 11 items – including a change of clothes, bottles of milk, and a packed lunch.

The item that would cause the most stress if left at home was a soother – and 17% would abandon a trip entirely if they forgot their baby bag of essentials.

The poll of 2,000 parents, including 500 who have had a baby in the last five years, also compared the contents of baby bags today with parents who had a baby before 1990.

And it seems that today's mums and dads are more safety-conscious than their own parents were – as 39% of the older generation admit they took a more “relaxed” approach to packing a baby bag, compared to just 27% of parents today.

Today's mums and dads are almost twice as likely to pack a first aid kit (22%, compared to 13% 30 years ago), as well as suncream (56%, compared to 33%).

Additionally, 29% of today's parents make sure they have antiseptic cream on them, compared to just 17% of those who had a baby before 1990.

And a modern essential that parents now rarely leave the house without is an iPad or tablet, to keep their youngster entertained.

As a result, the research, found that seven in ten of all those polled reckon being a new mum or dad now seems more complicated than it was in the past.

Lisa Parkhill, managing director of MAM, which commissioned the research as part of its Soothement campaign, said: “The findings show how prepared parents are for every eventuality.

“Key staples can make all the difference to ensure parent and baby have a relaxing day out, versus a stressful, fraught experience.

“Parents are doing their research, with no stone left unturned to ensure they don’t get caught out if a tricky situation arises.

“Innovation in baby care products has come on leaps and bounds over the years, and it’s a good thing that parents can have an array of items in their armoury to soothe baby every time they leave the home.”

The study also found that, as a result of being more thorough with their packing, only 16% of parents today find themselves forgetting an item at home – compared to 20% of parents 30 years ago, who admit they always left something behind.

And 35% have received comments about how much they carry, with 69% admitting they carry more than they need – but 31% wouldn’t trust their partner to pack a bag as well as them.

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And 27% said that, if they forgot their bag of essentials, they would head to the nearest shop in search of new supplies.

Soothers were an item most likely to stress a parent if it was left at home, according to the OnePoll data.

And nearly six in ten parents (58%) said they relied on them in the first year, with 38% revealing their child couldn’t go without.

Parents who used soothers with their child said the biggest misconceptions other parents have around a child using one were babies becoming too reliant on them, or even hooked on them – or that they’re purely used to keep an infant quiet.

But while 30% believe certain types of soothers are better than others for a child’s teeth, it’s a common misunderstanding that using one hinders breastfeeding.

Lisa Parkhill, from MAM, added: “It’s interesting to see that one of the key items it’d be a disaster to leave the house without would be a soother.

“It can be a key tool in the early days to ensure infants are happy and relaxed when out and about, giving parents one less thing to worry about.

“It’s also been great to see how aware mums and dads are of the misconceptions that remain incorrectly around soothers.”


  1. Nappies
  2. Wipes
  3. Toys
  4. Snacks
  5. Change of clothes
  6. Drinks bottle
  7. Baby food/pouches
  8. Socks
  9. Nappy cream
  10. Suncream
  11. Bottles of milk
  12. Calpol
  13. Hat
  14. Changing mat
  15. Blanket
  16. Fruit
  17. Change of pants
  18. Packed lunch
  19. Coat
  20. Formula
  21. Book
  22. Teething gel
  23. Spare bib/eating bib
  24. Teethers
  25. Soothers/dummies
  26. Mittens
  27. Comforter
  28. Boxes of raisins
  29. Waterproofs
  30. iPad/tablet for entertaining

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