Getting out of the house for long or short outings has often been vital to keeping my sanity. Since having children there are a couple of baby and toddler essentials I try never to leave the house without. In my view these are must have essentials for any trip duration-long and short- even popping out to the supermarket and definitely for wandering down to the playground.
1, Wet wipes
Once you have a baby it baffles you how you actually survived without wet wipes before children! These little white damp squares are universally handy for wipping anything and everything! You name it, you can wipe it…and boy do kids make you discover new highs and lows of the use of wet wipes. I found the ones with the plastic snap close lids are best and I tend to start using a pack at home first before it migrates into my bag – half-full.
The plain old muslin takes up little space and has a million uses from makeshift sunshade drapped over sleeping baby in the buggy, through bib to emergency towel. They are easy to wash and often dry quickly too. Muslins are also great play accessories for when you are forced to wait somewhere. You whip it out and play peek-a-boo, become a princess’ with a cape or use it as a picnic rug for the teddy bears’ picnic.
3, Spare clothes
At least one set of spare clothes is always with me. Generally a unisex combination, which will fit Little Man or Little Miss. It is used on a 1st come, 1st serve basis. I always carry a spare pair of underwear for both, because you never know when there is too much excitement to remember to spend a penny. I still have an emergency nappy in my bag too (even now that 2.5 year old is dry during the day).
4, Bottle or sippy cup of water
And it is water, not juice or squash that I opt for: There is nothing worse than a thirsty child- often even the child will not recognise that it is thirst making them irritable.
From when Little Miss was 6 weeks old I had a baby bottle of boiled, filtered water with me. This was despite breastfeeding. I found it much easier to take the bottle out to give quick drink of water when I was caught out by the timing of a feed. The only disclaimer I would add is that both mine were thriving very well and delaying a feed by half an hour was buying me and them sanity, giving us the opportunity to prepare for a much more relaxed feed.
5, Emergency source of food
Again, even though I breastfed exclusively I always carried a tetra pack of pre-made formula for my babies. (Only ever used it once and I suspect that was because I didn’t want to throw away the pack that was coming to its expiration date.) I believe in having a back up for the vital things and this was one which I saw as vital.
When my Littlins started on solids I added breadsticks (plain, unsalted ones) to my essentials list. Now they are older raisins, dried blueberries and apricots have replaced the breadsticks. These are easy, but healthy energy sources. Quick and not too messy.
Carrying a small clip box of these also saves me going in to a store and buying alternatives I wouldn’t be as happy with.
6, Favourite small toy and dummy
The reason I lug these around is to help my children calm down or to give some extra security in unfamiliar environments: When out and about tiredness hits very quick for children- babies to preschoolers. They’re having fun, we’re having fun and in the process we miss the signs…only to realise we are all on the verge of a melt-down. This is when a favourite small toy and/or the dummy has come to the rescue on numerous occasions.
Now I know this is a limited list, one which can be expanded …and even I often do. The challenge is keeping it light and manageable, while taking appropriate steps towards risk management!