Reader Question: Packing For Daycare

Before we started Camille at daycare, I remember feeling overwhelmed about what to pack for her for an entire day! I was used to having everything she'd need for the day at my disposal during my three-month maternity leave. Diapers, wipes, extra clothes, bibs, her lovies, any necessary medications, books, toys, bottles, milk, the list goes on -- suddenly I was sending her off for 9 hours a day and the responsibility was falling on someone else to provide for her what she needed.

I received this email the other morning from a reader, and with her permission, I've shared it along with my suggestions for packing for daycare. 

So, first things first: Your own daycare should be very helpful for you in what they provide and what you will be responsible for providing! I emailed a few times with the daycare staff to make sure I was packing Camille's bag correctly and that I understood what they needed us to provide.

When she entered the newborns room, I had to pack a lot more for her than a year later when she was in the pre-toddlers room. Here's a breakdown:

NEWBORNS ROOM: 3-4 bottles of milk, baby food (6+ months), 2 changes of clothes, pacifier
INFANTS ROOM: 2 big bottles of milk, baby food, 2 changes of clothes, jacket/hat, pacifier
PRE-TODDLERS ROOM: Cup of water, 2 changes of clothes, pacifier, blanket

And the extras:

Diapers: On our daily sheet, the teachers let us know when we were running low on diapers, and then we sent more. I sent a big pack at a time. Pampers = our favorite brand.

Wipes: Each month, every daycare family was responsible for providing 4 packs of sensitive wipes. These were all shared between children which is why they requested sensitive -- but each baby had their own assigned wipe dispenser with their name on it.

Ointments: We were responsible for providing ointments and medications of our choice for our children. I had a few tubes of diaper rash ointment that I kept at the daycare for the teachers. Each time I introduced a new brand, they had a permission form that I needed to fill out. When they were running low, they let me know on her daily sheet.

Sunscreen: We also provided our sunscreen of choice to the daycare and they applied this to the babies before they went outside to play. They did not go outside as newborns, only the older rooms. 

As I mentioned, packing for Camille got way easier as she got older. By the time she moved up to the Pre-Toddlers room, around 12 months, she was on table food and cow's milk. Our daycare provided breakfast, lunch, and an afternoon snack along with organic whole milk. So we didn't have to pack anything at all besides a cup of water for her to have during snack and a freshly cleaned blanket each Monday for naptime on the cots. 

Thank you, "T", for your email, and I hope that this has been a help to other mothers too!

Oh, and because I never shared any photos of Camille at daycare (#paranoidmom), now that she is no longer enrolled there, here are two photos from her very last day there!


  1. Great list! I didn't send my to daycare but I'm going to send this to all my friends who are so they know.

  2. This is a super informative, but also not super overwhelming list April!! Super helpful for moms who are sending their babies to daycare for the first time! Hope you are having a great day! :)

  3. This is a great guide! I too remember being overwhelmed at what to pack for our boys when we had to return to work!

  4. Any other tips on daycare and going back to work in general?! I go back in another week and have NO clue how many bottles to have, how to make life easier (lunches, dinners, getting ready, etc.), you name it!

  5. great tips!! im not sending vi off to daycare anytime soon but i'd love for you to do a post about preschool (when that time comes!) love little miss in her CAR :) too cute. xo jillian - cornflake dreams

  6. This is a great list! As the owner of 4 child care centers, I am going to create a cute packing list for new parents to ease the transition. The info is included in the enrollment packet but a list would be more parent friendly. Please be super sensitive to the fact that some states require items to be labeled by the parent a certain way before bringing the items into a child care facility. And others do not allow medicine and ointment at all.


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