a day out with the littles and what’s in my diaper bag!

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there are a lot of areas in this whole motherhood thing where i feel like i’m still learning and figuring it out as i go along. sometimes i am totally completely 100% faking it and just crossing my fingers i’m not botching it all up too terribly.  but one area where i feel like i’ve got a bit of a grasp on it all is the “getting out and exploring and going and making the most of a day out in new york with my kids.” that was a long sentence. can that area count for anything?

when we first moved back to new york city from DC, i remember it took me a couple of months to get the courage to go on the subway alone with eleanor and samson. let alone head to a different part of the city with the two by myself!  it was intimidating. and overwhelming. and i felt like i always needed to be somewhat close to home, incase of an emergency or an accident or what if i ran out of diapers?! but, i eventually learned that all of new york city can feel like home. you can take care of and deal with an accident on the go, and running out of diapers? that’s what the drug store on every other corner is for. ;)  i started to learn where the cleanest public bathrooms were located, where the best spots to sit and nurse could be found, where every blessed elevator is hidden in the subways and how to just GO, and explore, and have the best possible time doing so with my kids all the day long.

so now there are days where the littles and i pack up the stroller with a bag of snacks and supplies and while we don’t have any concrete plans exactly, we head out for the day together and don’t arrive home until dinnertime (or sometimes not until bedtime in the summer months!).  this is all thanks to having kids who love being out, who have only ever known this urban lifestyle, and who nap really well in the stroller and on the go.  this is also thanks to living in a place where there are endless playgrounds and parks to explore. where hopping into a museum or shop to steal a few moments of air conditioning is acceptable, and if you run out of supplies midday, there’s a drug store or corner deli within a block of you.  this is all thanks to a city where every day, even in the same neighborhood, it can feel a little bit different, because this city is one of a kind. and just rolling with the punches as we go along, is how we do. :)

one of my most asked questions these days revolves a bit around this and what advice i have for getting the most out of a day in the city together, when it’s just me out numbered by my littles.

i’d love to share the tips and tricks i have found most helpful for myself, below!

1. FIND YOUR PREFERRED WAY OF GETTING AROUND
we’ve used a double stroller in the city for several years now, but have recently started using a more compact stroller with a ride board as eleanor and samson are walking more.  sometimes we’ll walk miles and miles in one afternoon, and their legs are still so little, that the double stroller is still pretty handy.  when i’m out with just the smaller stroller, i always try to bring some sort of baby carrier with me as well (i store it in the basket under the stroller). this way, if everyone is exhausted at a certain point in the day, i can baby wear conrad while eleanor and samson take turns using the seat and ride board.

2. A BACKPACK FOR A DIAPER BAG IS THE WAY TO GO
i wish i would have figured this one out sooner.  i’ve been using a few different light weight backpacks this past year as diaper bags. i think a backpack helps to evenly distribute the weight of what i’m carrying, and my shoulders and body appreciate it more than you know at the end of the day. i also love how it frees up my arms and hands to focus on my three little ones. i can also keep it with me on my back while i’m running around the playground with my kids, so i don’t have to worry about anything important being stolen that’s sitting off the side on a nearby bench with my stroller (because that has unfortunately happened to me before.)

my latest backpack you see in this post i just got from sole society. (it’s actually on sale right for a steal if you’re in the market.) i absolutely love it. (here is one in black and brown i also think is functional and pretty.)

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3. PACK LIGHT  (AND MY DIAPER BAG ESSENTIALS BELOW)…
you don’t need to take everything with you! right before conrad was born, i was in such a great diaper bag groove. i hardly took anything with me because we were practically out of the diaper stage and eleanor and samson didn’t require as many items while we were out.  i have to pack a bit more than i’d like right now since conrad is still so new, but i only bring out what i know i’ll use during my day.

lovetaza-whats-inside-my-diaper-bag

my everyday diaper bag (or backpack!) essentials look something like this photo above.  sometimes we add swim stuff for the splash pad and different toys or snacks, but it always looks something like this.

i pack an extra onesie for conrad and i still always carry an extra t-shirt of some sort for samson (he knows how to make a mean mess! another reason why i carry a bleach pen, too. ha!) these teethers have been great toys for conrad. i can strap one onto his stroller buckle which keeps him content and his gums happy as we go along. and i bring some kind of swaddle blanket with us still for naps and cuddling while nursing or what have you. we’re always using it. the only items i really pack for myself these days are my sunglasses, my wallet, my lipstick (i don’t ever leave home without it. ha!), and my iPhone. i’ve been carrying one of the micro mats we designed with let’s playground because it rolls up really small and is the perfect size for a diaper changing mat! these indestructible books are genius (my friend nicole recently introduced them to me) and they are light and small enough to roll up and carry around all day..and i can’t rip them even when i try. conrad loves them! i always pack plenty of diapers and wipes, too.  my friend amber recently introduced me to these amazing reusable sip’n soft tops for any baby food pouches and i don’t know how i didn’t know about these with my first two babies! third time is a charm i guess! we also carry plenty of other snacks for the older two like almonds and water in a bottlestickers are a life saver when the kids are needing something to keep them busy on the subway or in line someplace. and band-aidshand sanitizersunscreen, and my trusty old friend the bleach pen are always in my bag as well.  also, not pictured but carry cash! cause some how in this city so much is “cash only” and i’m always the idiot who never carries any. and also not pictured but the portable potette has sort of saved our potty training world this year. (i put it in the carrier under my stroller.)

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4. WEAR COMFORTABLE SHOES
just do. flats, sandals, whatever works for you. ps. here’s a post on all of my favorite comfortable walking shoes for the city. and i’m wearing these sneakers in this post.

5. KEEP YOUR SCHEDULE FLEXIBLE, AND ROLL WITH THE PUNCHES
you got this! don’t ever let anyone tell you otherwise! and happy adventure-ing with your beautiful little crew.

do you have any other tips for other mama’s (and myself!) on getting the most out of a day out and about? what are your diaper bag essentials?

  1. This is such an awesome post – thanks for sharing. I can’t imagine being able to cope with the subway system and three littles – kudos for being fearless + figuring out how to make it work for you and your family! xo

  2. Anna

    Great post! So helpful :)

  3. K

    I’ve been following you since E was a baby and its it feels like overnight she has gone from looking like a toddler to a little girl. So gorgeous, where has the time gone!

  4. great list – definitely learned a few things here! we’re often out and about and traveling as well and i’m with you on the travel light but know what you need.

    we always have a couple of ziplock bags in there as well, just empty ones – they have so many uses; a particularly messy diaper, a collection bag for something found, split apart as a changing pad in a pinch…

    we also live in europe where kiddie things aren’t the norm in restaurants etc so I always have a small pack of colored pencils in case i need to keep them busy at a table.

    • TAZA

      ziplock baggies are smart. i should have mentioned having some sort of trash bag stuffed somewhere. i always am in need of one and the days i remember to bring one with i’m like, “gold star!”

  5. Mini_mi

    So nice your blog.

  6. Kristin

    Excellent ideas, thank you!!! Love the bag!!!!xo

  7. Nadine

    So inspiring!! I always wonder what’s in other peoples bags- especially the stickers for the queues / public transport issues. Thank you thank you for sharing!! X

  8. Kendra

    I’ve been looking for a backpack! Is the lining of this one cotton or nylon?

  9. Amy

    I would LOVE to know where your jeans are from. Your style is impeccable.

  10. Amy

    I would LOVE to know where you got your jeans. Your style is impeccable!

    • TAZA

      thank you! they are from madewell!

  11. Stephanie

    I have three kids as well and recently have been using skip*hop’s walk along handle to keep my 3.5 year old close when he wants to walk himself. My older kids will use it when we cross the street too or on crowds. It’s easy to just keep attached to the stroller all the time as well. Such a genius simple gadget!

  12. Melissa

    Ahhh just bought the backpack! Although not for the same reason lol but it will get a lot of use on our vacation next month. Thanks for the recommendation, and a great price!!
    http://www.melismcgrath.com

  13. erica

    Eleanor’s expression in the last pic is priceless! I always love to read about your life in the city with little ones. Thanks for sharing!

  14. Sarah

    a back pack is genius! and makes so much sense! i also throw in a little neosporin with my band aids (and maybe a couple of little lolly pops!)
    i love the cash call, you never know when you’ll see a mister softee truck!

    • TAZA

      right?! especially for mister softee. ;)

  15. Brandy

    I completely read the title as “A Day WITHOUT the Littles”, and once I was done reading, I thought, “Um…this post was all about hanging out with the kids….” I feel like such a nerd right now.

    Great post regardless!!

  16. Clara

    Can I ask where you got your white top? Love your blog and posts – always makes me happy to read them. Thx for sharing!

  17. Cindy

    I love this post! I am a first time Nonna to my little Junebug. I’m fifty six! I watch her 3 days a week. (I am so blessed!) We do not live in NYC, but I love going out with her walking. There’s a park nearby and as she gets older I want to go all over creation and back with her. This was very helpful, I love checking out all the new fangled baby stuff there is out there. Anything that can make a Nonna’s life easier is ok by me. I treated myself to the back pack. Soooo excited! I am going to be one prepared Nonna! Thank you!

  18. Bekah

    I’ve been wanting to make the switch between bag to backpack, so I just snagged that Sole Society backpack! So cute, and it looks functional, too.

  19. kelly andrews

    Amy is my awesome sister who started Indestructibles. So glad baby Conrad loves them!!!

    • TAZA

      no way! please pass on my THANK YOU’s as a mother because those are just incredible. how cool!

  20. I bought the bag. Couldn’t resist.
    I purchased a different convertible back pack diaper bag (from China) and I can’t stand it. It looked so cute online and when I got it, it looked terrible. ..
    so excited to get this one it looks so cute on you, plus it was on sale!

  21. You guys are the reason I want to live in the city after college! You make raising littles in an urban area look so fun!

  22. Bethany R

    I’m 38 weeks pregnant (come on baby, come on) and we got a Boken bag as our diaper bag….. check it out, it’s incredible! I know I sound like an infomercial but it’s seriously so great- I love that we can wear it as a tote, messenger bag, or backpack!

  23. Great post! I’ll be picking up one of these backpacks – Target also has some really cute ones right now on a BOGO sale, plus an extra 10% off with code JULY.

    I think your point about remaining flexible and going with the flow is the best advice – I am always disappointed when I make a plan, because with kiddos it always ends up changing. I’ve learned that that’s okay and it’s part of the fun! One thing I always pack for myself (I’ve learned!) is an extra pair of underpants for my four year old since once in a while she gets so busy playing she forget to listen to her body ;-) …and I always remember to bring an extra shirt for myself. My 11 month old just loooooves eating strawberries and I always end up with most of it on me! Bleach pen – great idea! Going to add that to my list!

  24. ellen

    Hi,

    How have you dealt with the heat while being out and about?

    Thanks.

    • TAZA

      i think we’re on the move so much, the heat isn’t too big of a deal. there are always patches of shade as well. one summer i bought one of those little electric fans that goes on a water bottle and hooked it up over my stroller to help keep a cool mist and air around samson when he was a baby.

  25. Bev

    Awesome post! Not a mom yet, but one day I’m sure all the advice will come in handy!

    Where did you buy your blouse? It’s gorgeous!

    ~Bev

    • TAZA

      thanks! it’s from anthropologie several years ago.

  26. Sonia Cheek

    Sunlasses and headphones! My little ones sneeze when there is too much sun in their faces and also helps them nap in the stroller. The headphones provide additional distraction when I don’t want to keep giving them snacks and they’ve tired of books and toys. Oh and hats. Because hats are awesome! PS – Thank you for your blog I absolutely adore it!

    • TAZA

      do they keep the headphones on? that’s super smart. i don’t think mine would!

  27. carly

    It is so fun to explore a city with a little one. And I definitely think a back pack is key for mental sanity, being hands free, and preventing shoulder pain
    Dresses & Denim

  28. Shelby

    Totally curious-on the same vein of things getting stolen-do you ever worry about that with a backpack? On the train or when you’re standing still that someone will reach in your backpack and try to steal something?

    Or do you just keep the important stuff (wallet, phone, cash) at the bottom of the bag?

    • TAZA

      no i definitely worry. when i’m on a crowded train i usually put my backpack in front of me, between my legs to make room behind me. but i feel like if the wallet and phone, etc are at the bottom of the bag, they can only really reach and steal a diaper! ha!

  29. Carrie

    You forgot number 4!!!

    • TAZA

      lol! thanks for catching that. i only had 5 things and when i was finishing this post and saw #6, i was like, that’s weird! i should have looked into it more. ha! thank you!

  30. hanna

    Great tips, your kids are so cute! –Hanna Lei

  31. Jenn

    Last year our family took a road trip across the US and the diaper bag back pack was very handy. The item I love the most is Aquaphor! This helps with my baby’s rash and I was able to use it when I had dry skin while camping! And you can find it at target hehe!

  32. Ashley

    Thank you so much for this, taza! I’m doing the gig in Chicago with a 2 year old, and new arrival this coming October, and you’ve been such an inspiration! Sometime would you be willing to write about how you manage restaurants with your littles? You guys looks so good and it, and it’s always a bit of a disaster for us ;) Thanks!

  33. Ashley

    Oops, typos :) *You guys look so good at it.

  34. L

    curious about the bugaboo riding board for the bee….does it tip back if you have a big kid (nearly 40lb) standing and a smaller baby in front??

  35. elaine

    You are awesome… can’t believe how you manage NYC with 3 littles. and the back pack is sold out. wish i’d seen it sooner but still available in black or brown. i need it for girls camp! haha

  36. margo

    Love all your tips and hints for Mums….kids don’t come with instructions.

    I was a private Nanny for a family who had 4 kids in 4 years, the stroller I used was a Phil & Ted….it is no bigger than a normal jogger stroller but so practical as it will take 2 kids even if they both need to sleep and the 2nd child can go on the front or the back….such a lifesaver when little ones are really tired.
    I agree with you, a backpack is the best daiper bag even with only 1 child.

  37. Me and my husband have always been a little terrified taking our little one out (yes, just ONE!). Especially when she was itsy bitsy. It’s comforting to know its not only me who initially found it overwhelming. You have great tips! When I have three kids, I hope I’ll be as brave as you are in the city!

  38. eva

    what do you eat all day long?
    my kids are such picky eaters i canno timagine being out all day without me cooking them several different meals plus i want them to eat healthy homemade food….
    also,don’t they get tired and whiny? my 4 year old gets tired after a couple of hours and cannot walk so he ends sitting in a stroller and i need to carry my younger one.
    bleach pen doesn’t bleach colors?
    my kids get super dirty when eating ice cream etc.so i carry a bib always:-)
    and do you ever lose your patience? i’m a nerve wreck with kids constantly fighting over toys&co.

  39. Chris

    Great tips! I’ve always been curious how you nurse while out all day long wearing most of your dresses? I’m currently nursing my third baby and live in nursing tanks with a flowy shirt over it. Seems like you’d have to pull your whole dress up?!

  40. Isa

    My kiddo LOVES stickers but will plow through a pad of them in 10 minutes – and they aren’t reusable! So to keep my 3 1/2 year old occupied when we are waiting in a queue or are on the bus (we live in the very walkable, always out-and-about city of Oaxaca de Juarez), we always keep pipe cleaners and animal finger puppets on hand. The puppets have been a hit since she was a baby – and now she usually wants to use them to entertain me instead of me having to dream up a story each time! And the pipe cleaners are wonderful for making silly moustaches, eyeglasses, stick figures, geometric shapes.

  41. Rachel

    I love your backpack diaper bag. That is what I have and it is SO convenient! LOVE it!!

    Rachel
    Simply Rachel Nicole

  42. Though I always try to have refillable water bottles and a kid friendly cup to keep him out of mine (sure my sweet son, have a sip of mamas drink and thanks for the extra gift left behind) so I love to keep these “green sprouts bottle cap adapters” floating around. They turn standard disposable water bottles into sippy cups.

  43. Marie

    Amazing post ! I am living in Paris and i wish i could find a blog like yours which give tips for walks and discoverings in Paris. Thank you for sharing with us your daily life in NYC city with kids, you are sending a great message for all families which made the choice to live in a big city.

  44. Mary

    LOVE your daughter’s romper with black and green chevrons. Where is it from? I need to buy one!

  45. Kelly

    Your kids are seriously the cutest!

    xx Kelly
    Sparkles and Shoes

  46. Imogen

    where abouts did you get these jeans from? The colour and style is what I am looking for!
    Imogen

  47. I am so amazed at how much you and the kids go out! you’ve definitely gotten over your fears of subways etc with the kids! It’s incredible how much they get to discover of NYC with you.

    Valentina
    Valentina Duracinsky Blog

  48. Lauren T

    We’re fellow UWS-ers with two babes (er 2&4y/o) expecting our third this December :) we absolutely love our Bee 3 and picked up a seat for our wheeled board which our 4 year old loves: Kleine Dreumes Twoo Bugaboo Wheeled Board Seat – Black/Silver https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00A9NK4VI/ref=cm_sw_r_awd_aaxRvbQJX9WP1
    It’s encouraging to see another mom livin’ the urban dream with three ;) xx

  49. Such a great post! Good tips for this mama-to-be! :) Thanks!

  50. Lisa

    I just sent this to my friend who moved to NYC this weekend with her two littles while her husband does a 2 year fellowship. They are currently out & about a lot right now since the movers still haven’t delivered anything! I really like the hand sanitizers that are wipes…so I can wipe down the table/highchair or their hands. Also, if you sit your kiddos backwards on the potty, the narrow part of the pot fits their little bums better & they can relax & not hold themselves up. They even potty this way at home.

  51. what a great list! Thank you for sharing. What baby carrier do you use?? I have a 19 month old and and will be having another in a few weeks. I have a feeling I’ll be “baby wearing” a lot! We are also moving and I have tons of plans about exploring our new town. So I was just wondering what carriers you liked/worked best for you?!

  52. Ashley

    Great tip on the backpack! I have 4 kids and have not once considered the fact that a backpack is more convenient/comfortable than a diaper bag. Jude bought one for our next outing.

  53. Eleanor looks so much like little Natalie Wood! So precious!

    xoxo, kerri

  54. Vanessa

    Great post ! very helpful.

    Can I ask where you got your red sunnies from?

  55. Bekah M

    Love it!
    Im about to have baby number two and will most likely have a third in a few more years. My toddler does not love sitting in the stroller so I think we need a sit and stand similar to yours. What stroller are you using here? Do you like it?

    Thanks for your sweet and inspiring posts!!