Daycare Packing List for Babies

Follow our list to feel confident your baby has everything they need

Pink diaper bag

Ruth Jenkinson / Getty Images

Whether you are a new mom taking your baby to daycare for the first time or a veteran daycare mom, it can be a challenge to get out the door in the morning. You have to remember to pack so many things so that you and your baby have a good day.

Every care provider will have policies and suggestions about supplies, so find out what those are ahead of time. You will feel more confident when you follow a detailed daycare packing list for babies.

Pack These Essentials

The best way to pack for daycare is to have two bags. One bag will stay at the daycare with extras like diapers, wipes, clothing, and bedding, and it can get replenished as needed. The other bag will go with your baby every day and come home with you every night. 

Daily Bag
  • Diapers (a few) and diaper cream (if needed)

  • Wipes (small supply)

  • Pacifier

  • Stuffed toy

  • Bibs

  • Bottles, cups, and food (if necessary)

Weekly Bag
  • Diapers (a week's supply)

  • Wipes (large container)

  • Spare pacifier

  • Bedding

  • Extra clothing and bibs

  • Medications (if permitted)

  • Sunscreen and sun hat

  1. Diapers. At the beginning of every week, bring in a labeled pack of diapers to stay at daycare. If you're unsure how many diapers your baby will need, pack eight to 10 per day. Then, in your daily bag, pack a few extra diapers just in case. It's better to send too many than not enough. If you're using cloth diapers, make sure to include extra plastic pants and a resealable bag or container for the dirty ones. At the end of the week, assess how many diapers your baby used to get an accurate count of how many to send in the future.
  2. Wipes. Send a full container of wipes in your weekly bag. Check every few days to see when you'll need to pack a refill package. Include a smaller package in the daily diaper bag. These can be used in case you forget to bring a refill for your at-daycare stash. It also helps to keep a notepad and pen handy in the outside pocket of your daily diaper bag or start a checklist on your phone to note any supplies that need to be replenished. Make it a habit to review this list each evening when you are packing for the next day.
  3. Diaper rash cream or ointment. Parents have different preferences on this one. Some people don't want the daycare to use any medication, and others do. Use your discretion about how often you need to send in a new cream or any at all. Typically, it is best to send the cream or ointment back and forth in your daily bag.
  4. Pacifier. If your baby loves having a pacifier, you may want to pack extras. They are easily misplaced; you wouldn't want your child to go without one. Pack an additional one for emergencies in your weekly diaper bag, too. Once your baby is mobile, make sure to label the pacifier with a non-toxic marker.
  5. Sheets and blankets. Some daycare centers require you to provide crib bedding for your child. Although some centers have laundry services, pack an extra set of each to be on the safe side. You can put the extras in your bag that stays at the daycare center. If you are worried about your baby sleeping at daycare, make sure the sheets you pack have your scent. A parent's scent will be recognizable and help your baby settle down more easily.
  6. A cuddly toy or stuffed animal. If your baby has a favored toy, it might be wise to pack this toy daily. It will come in handy if your baby needs it to sleep or is particularly fussy. Just be sure to check the daycare center's policy on bringing in stuffed items.
  7. Extra clothing. Send two to three gallon-size, resealable plastic bags with an extra outfit in each. Don't forget socks, because accidents can travel far! These extras can be kept in your bag that stays at the daycare. Caregivers can use plastic bags to send home dirty clothes. Beware: Some things you send to daycare will get lost or ruined. Your baby is there to have fun, which includes playing with arts and crafts and maybe even food. So stains will happen. Avoid sending in anything that can't be easily replaced.
  8. Bibs. Consider purchasing a separate supply of bibs just for daycare. Include both small bibs for drooling (especially if your baby is teething) and larger bibs for mealtimes. For younger babies, consider packing burp cloths as well. Put them in labeled plastic bags to make transporting dirty bibs home much easier. Four or five of each size bib should be sufficient. Include a few extras in the labeled plastic bags in the weekly daycare bag.
  9. Medications. If daycare policies permit, put together a bag of medicine you would like your child to have if they are feeling uncomfortable. This bag might include a thermometer, pain reliever, fever reducer, gas drops, and a topical teething ointment. Be sure to include a dropper as well. Write your child's name on the individual medicines as well as on the plastic bag or first aid bag. These items will go in your daily bag.

Label everything you send to daycare. There are many options available for labeling your child's clothes, blankets, and supplies. Permanent markers work well for plastic bags, diaper boxes, and other containers. Consider iron-on labels for blankets, crib sheets, and clothing. Masking tape, painter's tape, or wide rubber bands are all good options for labeling bottles.

Milk and Meals

In your daily bag, send in enough labeled bottles for the day plus an extra in case of an emergency. If your baby drinks formula, pre-measure it in each bottle. If you use powdered formula, your daycare provider can add water at feeding time. 

If you are sending breast milk, ask your daycare how they want you to pack it. Some may ask that you send it in thawed. Others may have freezers and will want you to send in clearly identified frozen bags that they can defrost.

When your baby starts eating cereal, ask your daycare provider how you should pack it. You could send in full boxes labeled with your baby's name and replenish them as needed. Or, you may send in pre-measured portions on a daily basis. If you pack it daily, use small plastic containers with lids to avoid spills.

Once your baby begins eating baby food on a regular basis, you should pack labeled baby food jars or small plastic containers with screw-on lids that are labeled. Also, find out if you need to pack a bowl and spoon. If so, don't forget to label them. 

While most daycare items can be packed in your diaper bag the night before, baby food and bottles of breast milk and prepared formula need to stay refrigerated. Put your keys in the refrigerator next to the bottles, or put a bright sticky note reminder on your keys.

A Word From Verywell

Keeping your daycare supplies organized will make life easier for you and your daycare provider. Remember, what's helpful for your provider is ultimately helpful for your baby. And when your child is well cared for, you are happy. It is a win-win for everyone.

By Sue Kay
Sue Kay is a working mother, time-management and organization writer, and vice president of business development for InHealth Systems and Services.