At most childcare facilities, infants are required to have their own daily supplies. Preparing to take an infant anywhere can be intimidating, especially with your first baby, so packing everything they’ll need for a full day at daycare can be especially emotionally and physically draining.
Here are a few suggestions on the top 3 things new moms want to know when getting ready for their babies first day of daycare.
When your baby is still young, your biggest concerns probably center around feeding.
If you’re breastfeeding, your biggest question may be how much milk to send. Unlike formula feeding, you are unlikely to have to measure out each amount you feed your baby.
The American Association of Pediatrics says that one way to estimate how much a baby will need is to give them 2 ½ ounces of food per pound of their body weight. Keep in mind though that these are estimates. Every baby is unique!
But as a general rule, by about 4 weeks, many babies have about four 4-ounce bottles each day, so that would be a good amount with which to start.
Always send a bit extra, and if you can store up enough before starting daycare, it’s a good idea to send up to a full week’s worth if you have the option to store some there.
If your baby takes formula, you’re likely a lot more aware of how much you end up measuring, preparing, and feeding your baby each day and can adjust accordingly. Most places want you to bring enough for the first week, and some prefer you to provide enough for two weeks.
When packing each day, don’t forget the burp cloths or bibs. If your little one likes to have a pacifier, be sure you bring several. And be sure to label everything you possibly can (except the baby)!
Switching now to the opposite end of the spectrum, you might be wondering how many diapers to send each week.
Most care providers try to do a diaper check every 90 minutes or so unless there is an overwhelming indication that someone definitely needs to be checked sooner (in which circumstances, there is no waiting, there is only changing)!
For an eight-hour day in care, you should send 8 to 10 diapers. For a week’s worth, that would be 40 to 50 diapers. Most places would like for you to start off, again, with two weeks’ worth of diapers so you’ll have a little grace in getting into the routine of bringing things with your baby to drop off.
Wipes are provided in some facilities, however, you should be prepared to bring two weeks worth that first day.
After the first day, you’ll likely be able to set up a day each week when you should bring in the next week’s supplies. It quickly becomes part of your new routine, but until you get into the habit, have your care provider put the empty diaper or wipes container in your diaper bag as a reminder that you need to bring more.
In addition to diapering supplies, you’ll need at least three seasonally appropriate, complete sets of clothing in your child’s current size. Place each set in a bag (preferably disposable or washable), and if your baby needs a wardrobe change, your caregiver will replace the clean outfit with the one that needs laundering.
We’ve already addressed the need to send pacifiers, but when it comes to soothing your baby and calmly sending them off to dreamland, you’ll need a few other supplies.
First, crib sheets are often required. If you do need to provide crib sheets, two is better than one (so one can be laundered while the backup is in use). And of course, be sure to label it before sending it. Some places launder all of the sheets there and may share what detergent they use and give you the option to provide your own since babies are often very sensitive to changes in detergent.
Second, don’t forget to send sleep sacks (or if your baby is still being swaddled, their swaddling blankets). Again, always send an extra, just in case there is a mess and a backup is needed.
4. The Most Important Thing
Babies and young children are incredibly resilient, and the first day at daycare is usually far easier for the baby than it is for mom & dad.
Remember to take it easy on yourself. Get to know your caregiver, and take advantage of your baby-free moments so that when you are back together again after work is done for the day, you can relax and enjoy giving your sweet little one all the attention you’ve stored up for them while you were apart.
And know that although they adapt well, and they are probably pretty happy anywhere, they do know you are their parents, and they really will be so happy to see you again when you come back to get them.
The best part about dropping them off for their first day of daycare is absolutely picking them up again in the evening.