Written by Hillary Bennetts

My maternity leave is over: What items do I send with my baby to their first day care?

My maternity leave is over: What items do I send with my baby to their first day care?
Estimated time to read 2 minutes

Your maternity leave is winding down and you’re getting ready to make the transition to being a working parent. It’s a tough emotional journey for many of us, and it can also feel a bit overwhelming when it comes to logistics. So we’re simplifying the process as much as possible for you with a comprehensive list of what to pack, plus tips to ease the transition. 

It’s important to know that different daycare providers have different guidelines around what they want you to provide and pack (and what they prohibit) so be sure to ask in advance what is expected. For example, some don’t allow glass bottles while others have no restrictions. Some like a big stock of diapers on hand while others want you to bring them weekly.

Preparation is key to minimizing those first day jitters and bloopers, so let’s get to it!

What to Pack

  1. Diapers
  2. Wipes
  3. Diaper cream
  4. Extra outfits (blowouts and spills happen!)
  5. Sleep sack (if used)
  6. Bottles with breastmilk or formula
  7. Pacifiers 
  8. Bib (if baby will be eating solids)
  9. Sunscreen and/or hat (if outside time is part of the day)
  10. Food (if solids have been introduced - of course our pouches and puffs make great healthy and portable snacks!)
  11. Sippy cup (if water has been introduced)
  12. White noise machine (if your baby uses one at home and your daycare allows it, it can help improve naps)

Tips to Ease the Transition

1. Label everything!

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Lots of baby items look alike, and things get misplaced easily. Don’t be surprised if your baby comes home in another baby’s socks! The best way to avoid lost items - label EVERYTHING!

2. Record your baby nursing

If you’re still nursing, consider recording a video of your baby nursing. Watching it while pumping during the day can help to stimulate a letdown.

3. Consider easing in 

The transition can be tough on both the baby and the parents. So consider easing into it by starting with a half day at daycare, or starting daycare a day or two or before you actually go back to work (go indulge in some self care while baby is being cared for!).

4. Talk about it

If you have specific concerns about your baby at daycare, write them down and then talk them out with your partner, daycare provider, or friend. Just getting the feelings out can be quite helpful!

5. Expect bumps

There will be days when your baby won’t sleep, may cry at drop off, or refuse a bottle. They’re all part of the transition, and while they are SO HARD in the moment, these bumps will get better. Try to not question all of your life decisions when things don’t go perfectly, and know that baby will adjust!

They Grow Up So Fast 

Making the transition to daycare after time at home with your little one can feel like a lot of overwhelm with a side of big emotions. But a little prep can go a long way to smooth daycare days and feeling empowered to fully focus on work during work hours, and your little one the rest of your day.

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