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What to Pack for Daycare

June 10, 2021

The time has come! It’s time to prepare your little one, and yourself, for daycare. Adjusting to a new routine of daycare drop-off can be stressful but making sure your child has everything he or she needs can make life and the transition a lot easier. Here are some tips on what to pack for daycare. We’ve even broken it out by age to make it easier for you. Take the stress out of worrying about what to pack for daycare by checking out the list below.

0-3 Months

While it might not be the ideal situation to put your newborn in daycare, some parents have no choice but to go back to work before 12 weeks. Here is what to pack for daycare for an infant.

Diapers & Wipes

You’ll want to make sure you have a good supply of diapers to last throughout the day. Figure out how many diaper changes your newborn usually has and add a few more for good measure. If you don’t feel like making sure there’s enough diapers each day, you could buy a box and drop it off on a Monday to the daycare.

When it comes to wipes, it’s best to pack a full package of at least 50 wipes as well as a refill. Make sure to check in with the daycare to see if you’re supplying enough wipes and adjust accordingly. Many daycare providers have recommended amounts that they expect parents to provide.

Ointment or Creams

Whatever you use on your newborn during diaper changes will need to be packed for their time at daycare. You can probably pack a tube of this in the bag, and check it a few weeks later to see if it needs to be replaced.

Medicine

If your newborn is on any medication, you’ll want to make sure you have enough packed. In addition, you’ll want to leave instructions of how often your newborn needs the medicine. It’s best to speak to the daycare, but also write it down for reference. In addition it may be helpful to include a doctor’s note if this is a prescription to ensure that the instructions are specific and clear.

Naptime Essentials

Blankets, mats or even a cot or bassinet. Check with your daycare to see what your newborn will need to sleep in during the day. If you need to send a cot or bassinet, make sure to pack sheets. Keep an extra set of sheets at home so if you forget to do laundry one week you have a set ready to go!

Formula or Breast Milk

Depending on what your newborn is eating, you’ll want to pack enough formula or breast milk for the day. If items need to be refrigerated, check with the daycare if it has a place to store the milk or formula. If not, use an insulated bag to keep the milk or formula cool until it’s ready to be used. And while you’re packing your newborn’s meals, make sure to toss in any feeding accessories, such as bottles, nipples, bags, etc. Lastly, when it comes to milk and formula, make sure to pack enough burp cloths.

Clothes

As we all know, babies have accidents. They spit up. They get dirty. Make sure to pack extra outfits, onesies and even swaddles so the daycare can make a quick change easily.

What to Pack for Daycare

4-6 Months

This is the time that most children will be entering daycare. In addition to diapers, wipes, creams and medicine, here is what else to pack for daycare.

Bigger Bottles & Baby Food

Your child is probably drinking more milk at this point, so it’s best to provide bigger bottles for easier feedings. In addition, if your baby is transitioning to baby food, pack a good supply for the day. Include bowls and spoons as well.

Teething Items

Once your baby starts to teeth, you’re going to want to make sure they’re comfortable while at daycare. Pack a soothing cream or a teether.

Clothes for Different Weather

In addition to extra outfits, make sure your child has an extra jacket or coat in the colder months. Pack a hat or visor in the warmer months. And toss in sunscreen in the summer months.

7-9 Months

As you and your child get used to daycare and what to pack, check with the daycare about what is being used each day and adjust your supplies accordingly. For example, you probably don’t need as many diapers as you did when they were younger. Here are a few more things to pack for daycare.

Toys

By now your child is probably playing with toys. They might even have a favorite toy. Pack it in their daycare bag to keep them entertained. If it is truly a favorite toy then make sure you have extra at home in case it gets lost, broken or dirty at daycare!

Snacks

If your child is eating crackers or some other snack, make sure to pack it for snack time! When it comes to drinks, you might want to ditch the bottle and stick a sippy cup in the bag. Just make sure to clean it daily!

10+ Months

As your child grows up, maybe even too quick, you will need to adjust what’s in their daycare bag. Here is what to pack for daycare as your child enters the toddler years.

Shoes

Once your child starts walking, just like clothes, you’re going to want to include an extra pair of shoes or slippers.

Lovies

As they get older, they may start to miss home. So along with their favorite toy, think about packing their favorite stuffed animal or blanket. Something that will remind them of home.

Underwear

At some point, your toddler will be potty-trained, but accidents happen. Make sure to pack a few pairs of underwear. Keep plastic Ziploc bags for easy transfer of dirty clothes.

Other Essentials

No matter the age of your child, it’s important to pack the following when getting ready for daycare.

Labels

You will want to label everything. Their initials or last name should suffice. Place them on bags, bottles, food storage, utensils, etc. Essentially anything that you want to make sure comes home with them.

Medical/Contact Information

The daycare should have all of the important information about your child, such as allergies or medical conditions. They should also have your emergency contact information. But you might want to keep an index card within your daycare bag with that information for easy reference in case of an emergency.

Leaving your child with anyone else can be tough. But knowing what to pack for daycare should make the transition a little bit easier. And as always, check with your daycare about what you are allowed to bring ahead of time. This way you and your child will be prepared. Also check out our list of daycare hacks and advice on how to help your baby nap at daycare to help make the transition as seamless as possible!

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