Dropping your baby at day care for the first time can be overwhelming for a new mom. And while any seasoned mom will tell you that, yes, there is a lot you need to juggle and have packed, it does all become part of your normal routine. There are some things you can prepare ahead of time to make sure your mornings aren’t as crazy and you can be sure baby has what she needs during the day.
Start by purchasing a second diaper bag that will be used for all your child’s items that need to go back and forth to day care each day. The week before you head back to work practice getting up and getting you and baby both ready by the time you would need to leave for work. A few nights before you head back after baby goes to bed, practice packing all your child’s items in her bag (including making any bottles) so you know how long it will take each night.
Use our day care checklist to make sure your baby is prepared for his day.
Sheets, swaddles and sleep sacks. Some day care centers require that you provide crib sheets and it is best to start with one your baby has slept on for one night at home. Your baby will notice the familiar scent from home, and it can ease the transition to sleeping in the crib at day care. Whether your baby is still being swaddled or has moved onto sleep sacks, send an extra set in the case of a nap time diaper leak.
Diapers, wipes and creams. Start your little one at day care with a full supply of diapers, wipes and creams that you know works best for him. Check on the supply every few days to know when you need to send in refills. Keep a little extra of each in the bag you take back and forth every day in case your supply starts to run low.
Extra pacifier and lovey. Your baby may have a favorite of each that they go back and forth from home to day care with each day, but you also want to have an extra of both at day care. Purchase a lovey that is just like their favorite from home and pack a few extra pacifiers in a clear labeled storage bag for easy access. It is also a good idea to keep an extra lovey at home in case their favorite gets left at day care and you don’t realize until bedtime.
Extra clothes. Send a clearly labeled bag with a complete set of a change of clothes. Make sure to check these often to ensure they are still right for the season and temperature. In colder temperatures, be sure to send in extra outerwear including mittens, hats and shoes.
Bibs and burp clothes. Purchase a full set of burp cloths and bibs that can be left at day care and used throughout the week. Keep an extra set of these in your diaper bag to take back and forth each day as these get messy and mixed up easily.
Bottles. You don’t want your nights completely filled with cleaning and preparing bottles, so purchasing an extra set can save you a lot of time. In the evening you can take the dirty bottles from the day at day care and let them run through your dishwasher while you prepare another set for the next day. If you are using formula, don’t forget to send in a little extra powder just in case.
Labels. Purchase a set of dishwasher safe and machine washable labels. Before baby’s first day, spend a night labeling all the items that will be going to day care with your baby and keep extra labels for new things that need to be sent throughout the year. This set from Mabel’s Labels has just what you need to get started.
Don’t stress too much! You will quickly get into a routine of unpacking and packing the day care bag each night so you can focus on getting extra snuggles in the morning before heading out.