A Weekly Daycare Packing List for Babies

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

Follow our baby packing list for daycare so your baby is all set for the day!
Getty Images / Ruth Jenkinson

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. In order to feel more confident when you leave the house, follow this detailed daycare packing list for babies.

Pack These Items Your Baby Can't Go Without

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 get replenished as needed. The other bag will go with baby every day and come home with you every night. Here is a list of things to include in the bags.

  1. Diapers. At the beginning of every week, bring in a labeled pack of diapers for your bag that stays at the daycare. If you're unsure how many diapers your baby will need per day, pack eight to 10. Then, in your bag that goes with your baby to daycare, 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 initially in your bag that stays at the daycare. Check every few days to see when you'll need to pack a refill package. Also, include a smaller package in the diaper bag you transport back and forth to daycare that can be used in case you forget to bring a refill.
  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.
  1. Pacifier. If your baby loves having a pacifier, you may want to pack extras. They are easily misplaced; and you wouldn't want your child to go without one. Pack an additional one for emergencies in your diaper bag that stays at the daycare, too. Once your baby is mobile, make sure to label the pacifier with a non-toxic marker.
  2. Sheets and blankets. Some daycare centers require you to provide crib sheets and blankets 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 been slept on one night by your baby. The scent on them will be recognizable and help your baby settle down more easily.
  3. A cuddle 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.
  1. Extra clothing. Send two to three gallon-size, resealable plastic bags with an extra outfit in each. Don't forget to include socks because accidents can travel far! These extras can be kept in your bag that stays at the daycare. Most importantly, label every item you put in the bag including the bag itself. This makes it easier for your daycare provider to identify your baby's things. Also, they can use the bags to send home dirty clothes. And, it makes it easy for you to dump them in the washing machine.
  2. 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 daycare bag that stays at the center.
  3. Medications. Put together a bag of medicine you permit your child to have when 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 bag that travels to and from the daycare center.

    Plan Milk and Meals For The Week

    In your bag that goes to and from daycare with you, 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 it 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. Make sure the containers are labeled too.

    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. 

    Review These Final Packing Tips

    Label everything you send to daycare. There are many options available for labeling your child's clothes, blankets, and supplies. While permanent markers work well for labeling plastic bags, diaper boxes, and containers for wipes, you may be hesitant to use them on other things that come in direct contact with your baby. Consider using iron-on labels for blankets, crib sheets, and clothing. Masking tape, painter's tape, or rubber bands are a good option for labeling bottles.

    Some things you send to daycare will get lost or ruined. Avoid sending in anything that can't be easily replaced. Your baby is there to have fun, which includes playing with arts and crafts and maybe even food. So, stains will happen. Send in things that you won't mind tossing in the trash when you can't get the stain out.

    Also, you won't remember everything all the time. Keep a notepad and pen handy in the outside pocket of your daily diaper bag or start a checklist on your phone. When you're told your child has run out of something (diapers, wipes, ointment and so on) make a note of it. Then, make it a habit to review this notepad or note on your phone each evening when you are packing the diaper bag for the next day.

    While most daycare items can be packed in your diaper bag the night before, certain items such as baby food, formula, or bottles of breast milk need to stay refrigerated and can only be packed the next morning. You can't leave without your keys in the morning; so either put them in the refrigerator next to the bottles or put a bright sticky note on them reminding you to get the bottles.

    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.

    Updated by Elizabeth McGrory

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