Your bags are packed, everything is labeled, and you can finally sit back on the couch with your feet up and sip your wine while perusing Netflix. Yet, you still can’t shake that feeling that you are going to walk with baby into daycare in the morning and feel your heart sink because you forgot something. Mama, have no fear! After reading this post, you will be able to sleep confidently knowing you have an ultimate daycare checklist for:
- Things to drop off before baby’s first day of daycare
- What you need to bring daily
- Things you need to bring weekly
- How to keep it all organized
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Why You Need a Daycare Checklist
There are so many things that you need to bring when first starting daycare that it is almost impossible to feel like you are remembering every single little thing. Your emotions are running on high because you have to leave your little one with new caregivers all day and you don’t know what to expect.
Of course, you don’t have the mental clarity to be able to remember every thing baby needs when you are sobbing that your little one is growing up so fast.
Having a daycare checklist to organize everything you need is a must-have so that you can focus less on your packing and organization and focus more on snuggling that sweet little darling of yours.
Looking for more of a guide to help you get back to work, mama? Check these out….
Things to Drop Off Before Baby’s First Day
Your first morning is going to be hectic and emotional. You do not want to be carrying baby or making three trips back and forth to your car in order to bring all of your supplies in. These are the things that you should definitely drop off before hand when you go in to meet the teachers.
Whatever your favorite brand of diapers are, stock up on them and bring in a large box. Everybody has their personal favorites, but after trying many different brands, these classics were ours. We just seemed to keep going back to them!
My all time favorite wipes are 7th Generation. They are unscented and great for sensitive skin. They are thick enough so that you can gently clean little tushies with ease and less wipes…saving you money in the long run.
3. Extra Clothes
…especially for younger and teething babies. When my little one was teething, I found that he was getting changed more than once every day. I always liked to pack 6-7 outfits per week, which left me with one per day plus an extra if needed. Gather them in a labeled ziploc bag and you are good to go! These rompers are such an easy daycare outfit and are comfortable for baby.
These bibs are perfect for daycare because they catch falling food to cutback on waste, are easy for daycare teachers to wipe clean, and are dishwasher safe so they minimize your laundry load.
If your baby takes a pacifier, you definitely want to stock up on some that are designated for daycare. Then you won’t have to worry when you get home and realize you left the beloved paci behind!
If your baby is eating solid foods, then you will definitely want to stock up on puffs, yogurt melts, and teethers to just leave at daycare. This way, you don’t have to worry about packing snacks every day. Happy Baby is a great company that offers healthy, organic snacks for baby that aren’t loaded with sugar. They also make dairy free coconut melts called creamies that are made with coconut milk (our personal favorite!).
7. Crib Sheets
A lot of daycares provide crib sheets because their mattresses are not the standard size. However, if you need to supply your own, 2 crib sheets should be sufficient. Double check the size of the mattress before purchasing!
8. Burp Cloths
Grab a bunch of burp cloths to have on hand so that the caregivers can be prepared for spit-ups, runny noses, and the like. These Burt’s Bees cloths are ridiculously soft and very absorbent. A perfect addition to your supply list.
9. Freezer Stash (If Breastfeeding)
Another thing to bring ahead of time is some of your freezer stash of breast milk. You never know when your daycare providers might need more food for your little one and you always want to have some back up. Make sure you are storing it in bags that can be clearly labeled with name, date, and amount.
10. Diaper Creams
Make sure that your caregivers have whatever diaper creams/ointments that you prefer at the ready. You never know when that pesky diaper rash is going to pop up and you want to be sure that everyone is prepared.
Things to Bring Daily
There are some things you will need to pack and bring with you daily. When you make packing these daycare checklist items part of your morning routine, your mornings will become smoother and worry free.
1. Bottles/Sippy Cups
Whether you are feeding baby breast milk or formula, you will want to stock up on your favorite bottles and eventually sippy cups. I found it easier to have double the amount I needed in a day so that I always had some extra at home. This way, as a pumping mama, I had clean bottles to put my milk in when I got home from work.
If your baby is eating solids, you will also want to stock up on containers to bring your foods in, especially if you are making your own homemade baby food. These are the best bowls and containers for baby food that can be easily labeled and keep food safe and secure.
Spoons/utensils are also necessary to bring daily. You should pack one spoon per meal that you send in to daycare. This ensures cleanliness prevents the possibility of more germ exposure.
4. Bottle Bag
You will need to have a bottle bag to bring all of your bottles and food in to school daily. This one is amazing because it fit all of my bottles and food containers for the day. I also love how it has space for an ice pack to keep items cool.
5. Feeding Bibs
If your daycare is unable to clean the silicone bibs that are mentioned above, they may send them home everyday for you to clean. Make sure to pack back ups for the next day!
Things to Bring Weekly
These are things that you probably already brought in before baby started daycare. However, daycares normally send these things home to be laundered so that they can start fresh on Monday. This weekly daycare checklist helps you to remember to bring all of this back in on every Monday!
1. Extra Clothes
Every week, check on your stock of extra clothes and refresh as needed. Whether it be from paint, spit up, drool, or food, daycare can be messy. Make sure baby has enough clothes to make it through another week!
2. Crib Sheets
Normally at the end of the week, your daycare provider will send home the sheets they used in baby’s crib to be cleaned. I always make sure that as soon as laundry is done, I put the crib sheets back in our daycare bag so I don’t forget them.
3. SleepSack/Wearable Blanket
If your baby is still in a sleepsack or wearable blanket, be sure to refresh those as needed too. Most of the time daycare will send these home on Friday to be washed, but it’s always a good idea to change them out yourself if they don’t.
4. Drool Bibs
During teething, drool bibs are a must! Without them, you will be coming home with 3 changes of dirty clothes to throw in the laundry every night. These bibs are fleece-lined making them more absorbent, protecting the clothes underneath, and ultimately baby’s sensitive skin.
5. Burp Cloths
Burp cloths will be used up fast and probably will be sent home daily as a dirty item. Add them to your weekly laundry load and send them back fresh and clean on Mondays.
Keeping it All Organized
Sometimes, no matter how much you prepare, it just doesn’t come together until you throw in a little organization. These items will help you feel more organized and help you keep track of all of the items on your daycare checklist.
We love Mabel’s Labels for their huge variety packs of labels. They stick on anything and are very affordable (compared to other companies out there). You can personalize them with your child’s name, favorite color, and an icon.
2. Ziploc Bags
You will need a bunch of ziploc bags to send in your extras and keep them organized in your child’s cubby at daycare. If you pack up extra clothes, drool bibs, socks, etc. in their own ziploc bag and labeled, you can keep everything organized for when the teachers need a quick change. They will love you for this!
3. Travel Tote
You will have a lot of things to carry back and forth on Mondays and Fridays and they probably all won’t fit in your diaper bag. We keep one of these cheap, reusable totes to carry everything home on Friday and right back to school on Monday. We keep it at school all week so we don’t forget to bring it back on Friday. It makes it easy to unpack, clean, and get everything all ready for a brand new week.
4. Diaper Bag
Your diaper bag is essential for your organization. Keep your diaper bag at daycare so in case of an emergency pick up where you can’t get your baby, whoever is picking your cutie up has access to it.
When It Feels Like Too Much….
There’s a lot of things that go into making sure your little one is prepared for daycare…enough to make your head spin. Take a deep breath and know that you are doing an awesome job. Being a mama is hard work and trying to remember it all is no easy task. Your daycare will be understanding if you forget things here and there. Get to know your child’s teachers and ask them what types of products help them. A lot of my daycare checklist is feedback from our daycare providers and what they find is easiest on parents.
What are some of your favorite daycare essentials?
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