daycare bag with baby items around it

What to Pack for Daycare: A Comprehensive Checklist for Parents

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Along with the many difficulties of sending your baby to daycare, knowing what to pack for daycare is certainly one of them.

In this post, I want to share with you my checklist of top essentials you need to have in your baby’s daycare bag. Here’s a sneak peek at some of the essentials:

DiapersBaby bottles/ sippy cups
Baby wipesFood/snacks
Diaper rash creamBibs
2-3 changes of clothesCrib sheet and other bedding
Outerwear (for cold weather) Pacifier
Sunscreen or sunhatLovey

Download your own free daycare packing checklist:

*This post contains affiliate links, which means if you click on the link and make a purchase, I’ll earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. All opinions remain my own.

I remember being a new mom and being a nervous wreck in the weeks leading up to my 4 month old’s first time going to daycare. I remember overpacking her bag on her first day, nervous that she wouldn’t have enough milk or her favorite pacifier.

Over time I got the hang of what she needed to have in her daycare bag, and what items could be left out because either the daycare had plenty or it simply wasn’t needed.

By the time I had my second baby, I created a checklist of items for each kid so that I wouldn’t forget anything they needed in their daycare bags each morning.

Check out the full detailed list below!

And if you’re a new mama still searching for the right daycare for your child, here is a comprehensive guide to help you decide: What to Look for in a Daycare- 17 Important Factors

What to Pack for Daycare: 25 Daycare Essentials

baby sitting and playing with toys

Here are some tips and essential items to get you started on packing for your child’s first day of daycare:

Diaper Changes

1. Baby wipes- I really like The Honest Company Clean Conscious Wipes as they’re plant-based and hypoallergenic.

2. Pack of diapers- Honest Company also makes diapers, and they’re the only brand I use on my kids due to their excellent leak protection.

3. Diaper rash cream- many pediatricians recommend Boudreaux’s Butt Paste as it works well on sensitive skin.

Change of Clothes

4. Extra set of clothes- 2-3 changes of clothes including extra socks and underwear (more if potty training)

5. Jacket or sweater as needed

6. Plastic bags to put dirty clothes in- I use Ubbi Disposable Diaper Sacks, which are lavender-scented.

7. Beanie hats

8. Other outerwear for cold weather, like scarves and gloves

Meal Time

9. At least 2 snacks per day, preferably more (no peanut products)

10. Baby bottles

11. Refillable water bottle

12. Sippy cup

13. Breast milk or formula

14. Baby food (if your baby is eating solid foods)

15. Burp cloths and Bibs (check out these bibs for mess-free meal time)

Nap Time

16. Crib sheets

17. Sleep sack

18. Extra pacifiers

19. Extra blanket/lovey for nap time

Miscellaneous or Seasonal Items

20. Sunscreen

21. Sun hat

22. Mosquito repellent

23. Monogrammed or special comfort toys

24. Family photo (some daycares will ask for this)

25. Pain reliever (ie. Tylenol) or fever reducer

What to Consider Before Packing

toddler playing with daycare toys

Here are some important considerations to take before packing for your baby’s first day in daycare:

The daycare provider’s policies

Before packing your child’s daycare bag, you should carefully review the daycare provider’s policies and required items. I also recommend looking through the daycare center’s website for suggested items, such as:

  • what sort of diaper changing station they have;
  • what sort of activities your child will be doing (for example, painting, crafts, etc.);
  • how many meals they provide (if any);
  • and if the childcare provider has a list of things to bring for your specific child (such as their favorite blanket or sippy cup).

This will give you a good idea about what you should pack, what you might not need, and what might be forbidden in daycare.

For example, many childcare providers are completely nut-free and do not allow any snacks or treats with nuts in them. I also took my kids to a daycare that provided all diapers and wipes, so those were less items I had to pack.

Your child’s special needs and preferences

You should also consider your child’s needs and your preferences. Are there any food allergies that you need to consider? Is your little one an avid thumb sucker or binky (pacifier) lover? Do they have sensitive skin? Do you prefer cloth diapers? You may need to pack special items based on your child’s individual needs and notify your child’s teacher about them.

Note as well that if your child requires prescribed medication or pain relievers, many daycares will require a doctor’s note with specific instructions. Even if they don’t, it’s highly recommended to do so to ensure that your child gets the right dosage.

Labeling your child’s items

You should also remember to write your kid’s name on every item you send to daycare. Why? Because it’s very easy with so many kids in one daycare room to lose or misplace items and confuse them for someone else’s. So to be safe, label everything with permanent marker!

A separate daycare diaper bag

One extra tip for you! Even if you already have a diaper bag that you use daily, you should get an extra one that you use just for daycare. With a separate “daycare” diaper bag, you’ll have everything you need and ensure that it’s not overpacked with items you don’t need.

If you’re breastfeeding/pumping breast milk, it’s a good idea to get a diaper bag that doubles as a pumping bag. Check out this post for a handy list of breast pump bag ideas.

Best Daycare Bags to Keep You Organized

One of the best things you can do to keep yourself organized and make it easy for your child’s daycare to find everything is to get a good, spacious daycare bag.

Here are some great options for daycare bags for infants and toddlers:

Daycare bags for babies

  1. BabbleRoo Diaper Bag Backpack– for tons of storage

2. Pomelo Diaper Bag Tote– with plenty of exterior pockets to hold essentials

3. KiddyCare Diaper Bag Backpack– stylish, convenient and durable

Daycare bags for toddlers

  1. ALAZA Dinosaur Toddler Backpack– adorable print design perfect for toddlers

2. Wildkin Backback for Kids– comes in multiple designs and is easy to clean

3. Vaschy Lightweight Backpack for Toddlers– lightweight with plenty of pockets


The best thing you can do to prepare for a smooth transition to daycare is to make sure your child has everything they need for day one! Plan what you’re going to pack in your child’s bag at least one week in advance so you can run out and buy any missing items. At the very least, pack a few days’ worth of backup clothing, snacks, diapers and wipes (if they need them), and a favorite toy or game. You can always supplement or reduce items in the bag over time.

Your checklist may look a little different depending on what your daycare’s policies are and your child’s needs, but this list should prove to be a good starting point!

If you found this checklist helpful, don’t forget to Pin the image below and share with a friend!

Frequently Asked Questions

There are a few things that a mom can do to prepare for her child’s first day of daycare.

  1. Make sure your child has a good night’s sleep, so your child doesn’t go to daycare tired and cranky in a new environment.
  2. It’s a good idea to spend a little time playing or having breakfast with your little one that morning.
  3. Finally, when you drop off your child at daycare, say goodbye to them in a positive but casual way. Avoid making a huge deal out of daycare dropoff- even babies can sense their mom’s nervous energy!

You should pack in your daycare bag everything your child might need throughout the day. This includes diapers, wipes, formula or food if your child is breastfed or eats solids, bottles or sippy cups, a change of clothes, and any medication your child might need.

You need at least 2 to 3 outfits in your child’s daily diaper bag in case of accidents and spills. For babies, extra clothes might mean 2 to 3 onesies and socks. For toddlers, 2-3 each of shirts, pants, socks, and underwear. Make sure to wash them every week and to update the backup outfits in the daycare bag for seasonal changes (ie. winter outfits, summer outfits).

At the very least, you should pack 2-3 bottles for your baby. You should calculate how many feedings your baby will have while at daycare and add one more, just in case. So if your baby feeds every 2-3 hours and will be in daycare for 8 hours, 3-4 clean bottles may be more appropriate.

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  1. This is such a comprehensive checklist, thank you for sharing! I never would have thought to buy/pack a sleep sack–what a great idea.

  2. This is a very comprehensive list! I don’t pack nearly all these things, but every daycare requires different supportive things from home, so it’s nice to see everything that may be needed. As you say, talking to your daycare is an important step.

  3. Such a great thorough list! It can be so hard to remember everything that is needed. Especially when you’re in a rush to get out of the door!

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