I am known to pack light. My friend once told me that she can’t believe me and my husband had an overnight stay in Kuala Lumpur and survived just on a fannypack. What can I say? We really hate to carry things. When I was single, I did not even carry a bag. Back then I wore clothes with pockets and made full use of my pockets. When I had Livia, and because I babywear her, I carried a really small size sling bag. My parent friends often can’t believe how small my bag is. Then they say, wait till you have more kids. I always reply, I will find a way to pack small. These days with four kids, I switch between a tote and a backpack, depending how long we are staying outdoors. If its less than 3 hours, then a tote, and anything more will require a backpack or a combination of a tote and backpack. In any case, I always keep an additional ikea bag (aren’t their totes awesome and ultra durable) in my bag if I require another bag. The thing is we are already babywearing three kids, so we try to be kind on our backs by packing light.
I basically learnt the art of carrying bags within bags in America. I used to wonder why women enjoyed carrying bags within bags, and why they had a container for everything. Well now I know why. I also had many hippy dippy friends in USA and they all used their own bags rather than plastic bags when going grocery shopping. I am not like super environmentally friendly but I found a super plus point about carrying your own bag. You can sling it on your shoulder, or carry them a lot more comfortably than using plastic bags. See we don’t own a car and so we use public transport, so it was imperative that we use very durable bags that can carry heavy. You don’t want a spillage situation to happen while on public transport.
I’ve survived on my Vera Bradley tote for 5 years now. Its very weathered. I just purchased a new Herschel Supply Co. Market XL Tote because I heard good things about its quality. I also have the famous Japanese RooTote XL. So I alternate between these bags.
Here’s an inside look of what I would pack when we go out with the girls, yes all 4 of them. All of this fits nicely in my tote bag. I didn’t include a photo of my personal belongings like keys, wallet and phone. Its assumed every bag has those regardless of kids.
1. LunchSkins Snack Bag: I love snack bags, simply because they take up a lot less space than containers and I could have more than one and they are not bulky at all. I put Livia’s snacks and fruits in them. Usually her biscuits. I used to use Itzy Ritzy Snack Happens bags but the quality was pretty bad for the price. Overtime, the wear and tear of washing caused the inside waterproof lining to peel.
2. Beach Sarong: For a short outing I use a beach sarong for the triplets to lie on. We usually go to open spaces where they can lie down because they can’t sit yet. For longer outings, or if we are going to a beach for example, I bring my thick outdoor blanket. That requires a whole other bag to carry because its thick. But for short, simple outings, a beach towel, sarong, or quilt is enough. My beach sarong also doubles up as a towel (to clean up vomit, spit or if the girls get wet like if we chanced upon a water play area).
3. Pupsik Studio Wet Bags: These are one of the cheapest wet bags in town. I really love them because they are big and they have two compartments, one for wet and one for dry. I always bring out two. One for Livia and one for the triplets. Inside are all the girls’ wearables – sunblock lotion, extra diapers, sun hats, and extra clothes; and if we’re going to a water-thing, then swimsuits. And whatever gets wet, goes into the wet compartment. We don’t bring things like soap, moisturizer and what not. We just want to dry the girls sufficiently enough and do the major cleaning when we get home.
4. Book to Read: For Livia’s entertainment. Sometimes I don’t bring it if its already exciting day. She rarely ever gets bored. But I guess I always like to bring one because everywhere and anywhere is a chance to read to the girls.
5. Water-bottle and Two Milk Bottles: I don’t breastfeed so I have to bring milk bottles. And I bring two instead of three for short trips because we can only feed one each anyway. We just refill it with hot water at the nearest nursing room or at a fast-food restaurant to feed the third baby. That’s the awesome thing about Singapore, its so easy to find hot water everywhere and restaurants are usually quite nice about filling them for you when you ask. I like the Contigo waterbottle for Livia, it never spills.
6. OxoTot formula container: For a longer trip, I would bring two of these.
7. Wet Wipes: Used to just carry wet wipes on its own and found it annoying that the flaps are so flimsy that they often disappear and cause the wet wipes to dry out. So I got this Skip Hop wet wipe case – problem solved.
8. Hand towel: For all the drools, spit ups, and vomits. I usually carry it in my carrier because they need to be wiped quite often. I bring between 1-3 of these, depending how long we are going out.
9. Pacifiers: A MUST for when they want to sleep or feel anxious. I just put them in an Avent storage container. Some parents use fancy pacifier holders but I’m fine with just a container.
10. Notepad and pencils: For Livia. I rarely bring these. Maybe for a clinic appointment where there is a long waiting time.
11. Extra foldable tote bag: I got this for $1 at Cotton On. I thought it was cute. But usually I carry the small 30cents ikea tote. They fold down easily and in case you buy something or you are in a hurry to pack and can’t pack neatly, you can just throw your things in this extra bag. I just really hate plastic bags so I always bring an extra foldable tote – besides they can be slung onto your shoulder.
I don’t bring the girls’ solids out. At this stage, if head out, they only drink milk. Its just too troublesome to bring containers of mush, spoons and what-not. I could buy those solids in jars and containers where you can just squeeze them onto a spoon but they really taste weird to me. Going out is a luxury so skipping on solids for a day once in a while its not too bad. And they can fill in on solids when we get home.
So that’s inside my bag. As the triplets get older, the less I actually bring. The girls tend to be able to entertain each other so I don’t need to bring extra books and stuff. I also don’t bother bringing an iPad or whatever not for my entertainment. I mean honestly, when do I ever have the time. There’s always someone to watch over.
So we carry these, plus our girls and Livia walks. Its so convenient and economical that we can actually take the bus. We often hear whispers and gasps when we are on the bus. And I know its because they are marvelling at the triplets. They should really marvel at how economically I pack for everyone! I am quite proud of my organisational and packing skills. If we are taking a taxi, we sometimes bring a single stroller, especially if we are going somewhere to sit for a long while, but its usually for carrying our thick outdoor blanket than a baby. Strollers and public transport however is too difficult. When I see parents with only 1 kid and they bring a big stroller and struggle up the bus, I often think, why? My mom used to make me carry my little brother’s stroller up and down the bus (I was 12 okay) and those days strollers are not as awesome and lightweight as they are now. Those memories were so painful I never want to do it again.