Need help figuring out what daycare essentials your baby will need? Don’t sweat! I’ve got you covered.
Putting your child in daycare is a huge step in parenthood. As a new mom, it may be the first time that you’ll be separated from your baby. This means that thinking about what you need to bring to daycare will probably be the last thing on your mind.
Though most daycares will provide a list of essentials that you’ll need to bring, it’s always good to hear from other moms.
I’ll be sharing my daycare packing list. It includes what I send with my daughter each day and things that I bring on a weekly basis. I’ll even share my hack that makes getting her ready each morning a breeze.
Before I jump into the list, let me give you some encouraging words about preparing for the first day of daycare…
How should I prepare for my first day at daycare?
The first day of daycare can be a mix of emotions.
In reality, you may be excited to finally get some help and even some free time. On the other hand, you may struggle with mom guilt. These are both valid emotions to have and they both can exist together.
Don’t beat yourself up about feeling this way and know that it’s completely ok to cry on your kid’s first day at daycare. You’re doing a great job and making the best decision for your family!
Aside from preparing your tear ducts, there are a few more things that you should do beforehand.
1. Visit the facility & meet the teacher
It’s likely that you’ve already done this when you where doing your daycare tours. But, in the instance that you haven’t, take a moment to visit the daycare beforehand. You’ll want to know
- What time they open
- Where to park
- How to enter the building/security protocol
- What class to drop your child off in
- The latest you can pick your child up
2. Plan to get up early
Although I’ll share everything to help you get prepared, you’ll still want to have some extra time just in case.
For instance, your child might have a massive blowout that’ll set you back 15 mins. Or, they may spit up on your clothes and you’ll have to change.
These are both very likely occurrences, so leave time for chance. The last thing you want to feel is rushed and frazzled.
3. Pack ahead of time
Packing ahead of time can alleviate some of the stress of the first day. I suggest packing your baby’s daycare bag at least the night before with their essentials.
I purchased a completely separate bag to pack items for daycare. This way, I always have a diaper bag at home that I never have to unpack.
There are the bags that I use:
I typically don’t have to unpack my daughter’s daycare bag unless I need to replenish items. If I do, I’ll handle it when she gets home so that I don’t have to remember in the morning.
4. Label your items
Before the first day, you’ll want to make sure all of your baby’s items are labeled. This includes their food, bags, and you may want to label their clothes.
Food, specifically, is required to be labeled for health and safety reasons. Everything else is a matter of preference unless specified by the school.
When it comes to labeling bottles, save yourself the headache of having to peel and replace tape everyday. You also don’t need to get a fancy labeler either. I strongly recommend reusable labels.
These are not only easier to manage, but they’re also good for the environment. They allow you to update the information by simply washing it and using an erasable marker.
5. Take the day off or clear your schedule
If you’re a working parent, I suggest taking the day off from work. Or, perhaps starting your child in daycare before your maternity leave is over.
Taking the day off allows you to be available if anything happens and you need to go back to the daycare. It also gives you a day to (finally) be by yourself and breathe. You’ve been working hard and deserve a break!
Catch up on a nap and take advantage of the time.
Ok. Now that you’re prepared for your baby’s first day at daycare, let’s get into what you’ll need to bring…
Weekly Daycare Packing List for Babies
Remember that some daycares provided many of the items that your baby will need. This is often included in your tuition costs and they’ll also let you know. So don’t worry about bringing those items unless you absolutely want to bring your own.
Most daycares have storage to allow you to keep a few items at the facility. This means you’ll only need to bring them in when they need to be replenished.
In some cases, it may not be weekly. Always check with your child’s teacher to make sure you’re not running low.
Each week you’ll want to replenish your child’s supply of diapers. I recommend bringing an entire pack on the first day to give them a good amount to start with.
After that, your child’s teacher will likely notify you when they’re running low. You can also be proactive and bring a half sleeve of diapers each week. It’s always better to have too many than not enough.
Daycares document all diaper changes for your child. You can use this information to get a more accurate estimate of how may diapers you’ll need a week. Plan to bring at least that much and a few extra.
Check with your daycare to see if they accommodate cloth diapers. If so, be sure to include your cloth diaper essentials.
A good way to never run out of diapers is to get them on Amazon subscription. They’ll send your items on a recurring basis so that you don’t have to think about it. We’ve used this for our diaper pail bags.
2. Diaper cream
You’ll likely have to fill out a form giving your child’s daycare permission to apply diaper cream. Once that’s done, you can leave that particular brand that the school for daily use.
Depending on how often you instruct them to apply it, you may need to replenish it weekly. I suggest leaving multiple bottles so that there’s always a backup.
3. Crib Sheets (optional)
Some daycares will require that you bring your own crib sheets. This is something that you can switch out on a weekly basis, as daycare facilities handle laundry services.
Check with the daycare to get the correct size for the sheets. We made the mistake of thinking that our sheets from home would fit at daycare and they didn’t. Luckily, this wasn’t a requirement. If it were, we’d be scrambling to find sheets.
You may want to leave an extra sheet at the daycare so that they can easily rotate them out.
4. Wipes (optional)
Wipes are also items that your daycare likely provides. However, if they don’t or if you prefer your own, plan to bring them weekly.
Just like the diapers, start with a couple of packs to leave at the facility. From there, you may bring a pack or two weekly to replenish.
If you need a suggestion for wipes, I recommend using Water Wipes. They’re great for babies with sensitive skin and they stay wet, which helps with chaffing. This is also something that you can put on your Amazon subscription.
5. Sunscreen (seasonal)
When the weather warms up, your baby will be taking some outdoor adventures. Make sure that you have sunscreen available to coat their precious skin. Much like the rash cream, this is something that you can leave at the daycare for them to use as needed.
Be sure to check with your doctor on what kind of sunscreen is most appropriate for babies.
Daily Daycare Packing List
Here are the items that you’ll need to bring to daycare on a daily basis. Include these in your child’s daily daycare bag.
Depending on your child’s age, you may just be sending milk or a mixture of milk and solid foods.
Most daycares will require that bottles are pre-made and properly labeled. This means that if you’re using formula, you’ve already added the water and it’s ready to serve. If you use breastmilk, it should already be thawed and in the bottle.
Solid or pureed foods will also need to be packaged and labeled. I preferred using the Infantino Disposable Squeeze Pouches for my daughter’s homemade pureed food.
I also purchased the detachable spoon and kept it in her bag so that she had her own spoon.
Once she began eating finger foods, I put her food in the Baby Bullet storage containers.
You definitely want to make sure that you have enough food to last them throughout the day. This is another case where it’s better to have too much than not enough. You can always serve it to them later, as long as it’s still good.
2. Extra Clothes
You can probably leave your child’s extra clothes at daycare; however, I like to bring these home every day. It’s all a matter of preference.
Here are the items that I keep packed in a gallon-sized Ziploc bag:
- 1 extra pair of socks
- 3 Onesies (short and long sleeve)
- 3 pair of pants
- Hat (seasonal)
If you do decide to leave clothes at school, you’ll need to make sure that you exchange them once they’re too small. You’ll also need to bring more to replenish if they have to use them. I just think it’s easier to make this a part of your daily check.
When you pack extra clothes, make sure they’re season-appropriate. For instance, in the Spring you may want to include a light jacket for those chilly mornings.
You may also want to include an empty plastic bag for any clothes that get soiled during the day and need to be washed.
3. Bibs (optional)
Bibs are another item that may be optional. My daughter’s daycare provides these for the children so that parents don’t have to worry about it. I believe its also less of a hassle for them trying to keep items separated.
In case your daycare doesn’t provide bibs, include it in your child’s daily bag of items as well. You’ll want to have several to last them through mealtimes and also if they’re teething.
4. Pacifier (optional)
If your baby uses a pacifier, you’ll definitely want to make sure this comes with them. In fact, I recommend having a duplicate pacifier that you just keep at daycare.
Of course, you’ll want to make sure their pacifier is labeled. You may even want to invest in a clip that will keep it on their person.
If your pacifier doesn’t come with a pacifier case, you can always get one to help keep it organized and clean.
5. Toy/Stuffed Animal (optional)
You baby may have grown fond of a toy or stuff animal that you’ll want to send to daycare with them. In this case, be sure to label it so that it doesn’t get mixed or accidentally taken.
Some daycares have policies on this, so be sure to check beforehand. It’s likely that they won’t allow you baby to sleep in the crib with it, so keep that in mind as well.
6. Medication (as needed)
If your child is on medication, be sure to include this in their daily bag. You’ll likely need to fill out a form with the daycare with instructions on how to administer the medicine.
Advice before you send your child to daycare…
Sending your child to daycare can be scary, but they will be ok. Kids adapt quickly. Before you know it, they’ll be loving their new environment, learning, thriving, and making friends.
Before putting your child into daycare, I definitely recommend reading the book series by Moms on Call. These books helped me get my daughter on a solid schedule before putting her into daycare. They also provided information on things to expect as she developed.
Don’t worry, you’ve got this!