preparing infant for daycare

The world of new parenthood is full of firsts, magical moments, and memorable milestones—all of which are usually followed by a whirlwind of emotions.

Each new milestone is equally as exciting as it is overwhelming—and taking your baby to daycare for the first time will be no different.

However, a bit of extra planning goes a long way when preparing your infant for daycare, ensuring the transition is as smooth as possible for you and your little one.

Preparing Your Infant for Daycare: Common FAQs

As new parents, you may be unsure of how to cope with sending your baby to daycare for the first time. From logistics to emotions, there are many factors involved, which is why we’ve compiled a list of FAQs and tips to help ease the transition.

Just remember that no matter how prepared you may be, when the big day arrives, it’s still okay—and completely normal—to feel all of the feels!

When Should You Take a Baby to Daycare?

Whether returning to work fulltime or simply seeking a few mornings of solitude, most families must face the nerve-wracking decision of when to send their baby to daycare.

While the timing is different for every family, transitioning your baby to daycare can happen anywhere from six weeks to six months.

Deciding when to transition your baby to daycare is unique to each family and can be made by evaluating factors such as parental leave, financial needs, and alternative childcare options.

What do Babies do at Daycare?

With significant physical, cognitive, and socio-emotional development in the first two years of life, babies learn and acquire new skills every day.

A high-quality infant program will provide a nurturing environment with personalized care, alongside a variety of activities designed to support the development of these foundational skills.

Activities may include:

  • Storytime
  • Baby signs
  • Attentive talking
  • Rhyming & singing
  • Rocking & cuddling

How to Prepare a Breastfed Baby for Daycare?

Many logistics are involved when preparing your infant for daycare, and for many new moms, breastfeeding is one of them!

Establishing a consistent feeding schedule in the weeks leading up to the first day can help regulate your baby’s internal hunger clock. Recruiting someone else for bottle-feeding can also help your baby adjust to their new routine of being fed by someone else at daycare.

If your baby is not yet comfortable with a bottle, experiment with different types. Sometimes a simple switch of the shape, nipple, or flow is all it takes!

In addition to making sure your baby is well equipped for the transition, practicing and preparing for your new nursing routine is just as important — pumping takes practice!

Consult with your childcare provider to determine precisely how much milk to send based on your baby’s eating patterns and schedule at daycare. You can then establish a system that works for you to pump, pack, and store milk for your baby. Breastmilk storage bags are a great option — allowing you to store extra milk for 48 hours in the fridge or up to six months in the freezer.

The Breastfed Baby Essentials:

  • Burp cloths and bibs
  • Extra bottles, nipples, and liners
  • And of course, don’t forget the breast milk!

What Should a Baby Wear to Daycare?

While it may be tempting to dress your little one in a favorite fancy outfit for their big debut, it’s important to remember that daycare involves many messy moments, clothing swaps, and diaper changes.

A good rule of thumb is to keep things easy! Easy-on, easy-off, easy to wash.

Dressing your baby in layers is also helpful, so your childcare provider can easily regulate your baby’s body temperature throughout the day by removing or adding layers.

Undershirts and onesies, long sleeve shirts and pants, socks or soft slippers, and knit hats are great staples for your baby’s daycare wardrobe.

When preparing your infant for daycare, always be sure to keep comfort and simplicity in mind!

What Should I Take to Daycare For My Infant?

Parents wondering how to prepare their baby for daycare may feel overwhelmed when thinking about all of the things they’ll need to pack.

It is a good idea to pack ahead of time and print out a checklist with everything you’ll need, such as:

  • Extra clothes (extra layers with at least 3-4 outfit changes)
  • Diaper supplies (diapers, diaper cream, wipes)
  • Nap supplies (blankets, sleep sacks)
  • Feeding supplies (bottles, nipples, liners, milk or formula)
  • Transitional objects (stuffed animal, pillow, or blanket)

Most daycares have a cubby for each child where parents can keep backup belongings — so preparing for daycare doesn’t have to be from square one each morning!

Find a Nurturing Daycare For Your Baby

Knowing how to prepare your baby for daycare may come with its challenges, but finding a nurturing daycare doesn’t have to.

Knowing that your baby is in a place as nurturing as your own home will provide an unparalleled peace of mind that each family deserves.

As one of the top childcare providers for the last 20 years, Cadence Education has been committed to providing that peace of mind for every family, every day.

Find a Cadence Education facility near you to learn about the exceptional care and early education programs available for your baby.