Diaper bags in Japan are called マザーズバッグ (yes, a little gendered…) and are a must-have for every parent. As outlined in my article on what was in my diaper bag for my 3-month-old, these bags contain everything you need to go out with your little one, from diapers (of course) and wipes to bottles and extra clothing.
When I had just become a new mother in Japan, I was pretty panicked when it came to going out with my newborn. I worried that I would run out of something or not have an essential item, so I over-prepared. I don’t regret it, though, because that is what worked best for me and my daughter.
As my baby grew, I found that I needed to change the contents of my diaper bag, so I thought I would share what my diaper bag looks like now for my toddler, who is currently… 21 months old! Time sure does fly
when you’re trapped in a never-ending pandemic.
Once my daughter started walking and the pandemic was in full swing, I decided it was time to change my diaper bag from the anello backpack I had been using for almost a year to something lighter more accessible so that I could easily grab sanitizing wipes and other things.
This shoulder bag is also by anello, so it’s high-quality and comes in eight different colors. One of the best things about it is that it has a lot of pockets. We’re talking ten pockets here! This way, I am able to place something in each pocket for easy access.
So why did I change bags? For one, my daughter needed fewer things when we went out as she got older. Second, before she was born I predicted that I wouldn’t like using a backpack as I would have to take off the backpack to get things out. I also found that when I was out and about and needed to change my baby in a public restroom, there was nowhere to put the backpack. It was incredibly annoying for me. With a shoulder bag, diaper changes have become super easy because everything is right next to me. However, one thing to note is that if you’re going to be carrying a shoulder bag for long periods of time, it may cause shoulder or neck problems as the weight of the items is not evenly distributed. This was one reason why I chose to go with a backpack when I had a newborn, not to mention I was wearing her in a carrier a lot so the strap on a shoulder bag would have been bothersome and awkward at the time.
As you can see in the picture, I also have a small bottle of hand sanitizer hanging from the bag. I have had this since before my daughter was born back in 2019 and imagine many of you have this as well now given the pandemic!
So What’s Inside a Diaper Bag for a Toddler in Japan?
The anello bag has four outer pockets, which I used for the following:
- Hand and face wipes (手口ふき)
Another essential item, not only for when she eats outside but for cleaning her hands or even wiping down her clothes if she falls or her nose if there’s some dried gunk on there. The ones pictured are from Nishimatsuya but you can buy other brands of 手口ふき online as well (I also like these ones by Wakodo). I don’t have any covers for these because I go through them quite quickly but you can buy small plastic covers or lids at any 100 yen shop or online.
No explanation needed!
- Alcohol-free sanitizing wipes (除菌シート)
This is a must-have given the present global circumstances so that I can quickly wipe my daughter’s hands after she touches something outside, like a window or table. The ones pictured are from Nishimatsuya but you can buy other brands of ノンアルコール 除菌シート online as well.
- My smartphone (not pictured because I was using it to take these pictures!)
Now let’s break down what’s inside the bag:
Lots of smaller bags!
I like to place my daughter’s things into smaller bags according to the category because that makes it easier for me to find what I’m looking for in an instant. After all, with a toddler, who has time to dig around for something? (I’m afraid to say I have yet to do this with my work bag, which I should really stop putting off, but anyway…)
Portable Changing Pad/Sheet
- Portable changing sheet/pad
Now that my daughter is a toddler, she doesn’t exactly need to be changed lying down but I prefer having this just in case, especially as some changing rooms can be quite gross. I have her stand on this, or lie down depending on the mess I’m dealing with.
- More alcohol-free sanitizing wipes
This is to wipe down the portable changing sheet.
- A bag for the changing sheet and sanitizing wipes
Diapers and Wipes
- Merries L-size pants-type (pull-up) diapers
I loved Merries pants-type diapers when I reviewed them and several months later, I am still using them! I carry about five. I thought it was excessive but once we went out and ended up with only one diaper left, so I prefer to be safe than sorry. (Can there be more diaper vending machines in Japan in the future, please?)
- Baby wipes (おしりふき)
Definitely a must-have for any diaper bag! The one pictured is from Nishimatsuya but you can buy other portable baby wipes online. The Little Twin Stars cover is from Daiso and works like a charm.
- Diaper trash bags
These are important to have if there is no place to dispose of a used diaper nearby. I also use these for garbage and once for clothes that my daughter puked on during a road trip, so I think these are pretty essential (for me at least)! I thought these were really expensive when I added them to my Amazon Baby Registry back when I was pregnant, but as I’m still working through that package I got almost two years back, I believe these are a good investment.
- A small pouch for all of the above
I got this for free from a magazine back when I was pregnant and have been using it ever since my daughter was born! Actually, a few weeks back, I saw another mom with the same pouch and a child around the same age as my daughter and it made me happy, because I am weird like that.
Food and Drinks
- A portable cutlery set
Believe it or not, this is from Daiso!
These are great for when you’re on the go and have a hangry toddler who wants her noms. The ones pictured are shirasu (whitebait) and wakame senbei (rice crackers) as well as roasted sweet potato cookies. If you haven’t had a look already, check out my article all about the different snacks in Japan for babies and toddlers.
- Vegetable juice box
I always have a juice box or two for my daughter. The longer we’re going to be out, the more juice boxes I pack.
This furikake is for babies 9 months and up as my daughter prefers this kind. I pack it in case I’m out running errands and need to eat but there’s not much toddler-friendly food available — that way, at least I can order plain white rice and put the furikake on top for her.
- More snacks
These little round cookies, a gift for A from my mother-in-law, are for babies 7 months and up
- A disposable bib
I absolutely love these disposable bibs, called bibsters. I’ve found them to be the best quality out of all the disposable bibs in Japan that I’ve tried and excellent for using when I’m out and about with my daughter. I’ve been using them since she started solids but now, at 20 months, my daughter is starting to hate these now and will rip it off…
- An insulated ICREO bag for all the food/drink items
I got this for free as well when I bought two cans of ICREO formula from Akachan Honpo
- Spare clothes
Specifically, a dress, socks, and leggings. This is nice to have on hand if you’re going somewhere somewhat far from home and not a place where you can easily buy clothes (like a mall) in case your baby/toddler leaks through their diaper, throws up, spills something on themselves, falls into a puddle of mud, and the list goes on.
- A bag for the clothes
I also have a bottle of sunscreen, which I place in an inside pocket, my wallet, my keys (and thanks to all the pockets in the bag, there’s no digging involved!), as well as a reusable shopping bag (that I got for free from Lupicia… yes, I do love my free things). When it gets warmer and the bugs start coming out, I might start packing an insect repellant as well. And yes, everything fits!
What’s in your diaper bag for your toddler?