17 Daycare Essentials for Your Little One

By Published On: August 9th, 2023

Everything you need to pack on the first day of school (and every day after).

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There’s a lot to keep track of when getting your child ready for daycare. You’ll want to pack extra clothes, breast milk, formula, baby food, and any medications your child might need, as well as some standard “others” to keep them happy and healthy while away from home. We’ve compiled a list to get you started and keep you organized, but it’s always a good idea to ask your daycare provider if they have any additional requests.

After unpacking and cleaning out their daycare bag at the end of the day, restock and gather items in a centralized location (back in the bag if possible), so you don’t forget anything the next morning. It’s also a good idea to get in the habit of packing items in the same part of their bag each day. This way you can easily double-check things on the way out the door. Happy packing!


Ten Little’s 12-inch recycled backpack is the perfect size for toddlers who insist on wearing it “like a big kid.” We love that it is made with non-toxic, 100 percent recycled textiles that are comfy to wear and easy to wipe clean. The main pocket can fit a small lunch box, a change of clothes, and a beloved stuffed animal, and the exterior pockets are perfect for bottles or sippy cups. It’s such a winner that you may see other families with the same one. Just be sure to write your child’s name on the interior name tag or use a name label so the right bag is sent home with the right kiddo.


You probably know that Bento boxes are all the rage. The Bentgo Kids Chill Lunchbox has four compartments for separating snacks and packing appropriate portions. The removable ice pack keeps perishables cold, and the box is dishwasher- and freezer-safe. Plus, Bentgo purchases support Feed the Children, a nonprofit that provides food and resources to hungry children and families across the country.


The Little Cup by Lalo is made from non-toxic silicone and helps transition kids from a traditional sippy cup to something a little more advanced. We love that it can be easily adjusted to a child’s drinking preferences; they can take a sip from the spout or straw, or the removable cap allows for drinking like a big kid. The handles are easy to hold, and although your little one might not be able to remove the cap on their own (probably a good thing!), putting the straw in place is great practice for their fine motor skills.


Of course, you’ll probably want to pack your child’s bottle of choice to keep things consistent. If you use glass bottles at home, the Chicco Duo Hybrid Baby Bottle is a good option for daycare. The inside glass is bonded to an exterior, shatterproof plastic. That way, you don’t have to worry about broken glass if your child’s backpack gets jostled around. Plus, it’s safe for the dishwasher, bottle warmer, and electric sterilizer.


If your baby is prone to teary drop-offs at the daycare center or midday crankiness, you’ll want to add pacifiers to your packing list. They may already be partial to a certain paci, but if you have a noncommittal newborn, you can take these NUK Comfy Orthodontic Pacifiers for a test drive. We love the orthodontic line because it’s designed to fit your child’s palate and promote proper oral development.


Your early morning brain fog will thank you for choosing to pack your babe the Ritzy Rattle with Silicone Teething Rings. It’s easy to hold, and in between chomps, your child can entertain themselves with the rattle. It may seem too simple to hold their interest, but rattles stimulate baby’s eyes and ears while giving them a chance to practice fine motor skills. And hey, if they’re unimpressed, at least they can get some relief from those incoming teeth.

Spare Clothes

Sure, you can pack what you already have, but we especially love this Adjustable Fit Set from H&M. The soft, stretchy, organic, cotton fabric, extra long cuffs, and two rows of diaper area fasteners mean your young fashionista will get more wear out of this outfit. As long as they don’t need a change during the day (fingers crossed for no blowouts!), you can pack this set and forget about it for a while. No need to constantly pack new clothes as your little one gets, well, less little.

Wet Bag

Accidents are inevitable. Keep a reusable wet bag in their backpack or diaper bag so their dirty clothes aren’t sent home loose or in a single-use plastic bag. We’re big fans of the Bumpkins Wet Bag. The polyester fabric is waterproof, but there’s no need to limit yourself. The multipurpose bag is also a perfect organizer for other baby items (wet or dry), and it’ll fit perfectly in your little one’s cubby. Grab another one for teethers, pacifiers, toys, and more. After it’s been used, small messes can be wiped away or hand-washed, or the bag can be thrown in the washing machine and then hung up to dry.

Diapers and Wipes

Your child’s daycare teachers will likely ask you to pack a daily supply of diapers and wipes. Sign up for a bundle from hello bello and split the monthly shipment of seven packs of diapers and four packs of wipes between home and daycare. Childcare providers probably don’t have a brand preference, but we love that hello bello diapers and wipes are hypoallergenic, eco-friendly, and high quality. Plus, you can choose up to seven different (adorable) diaper prints per shipment, get a 15% discount on additional products, receive occasional freebie products, and the subscription is easy to manage, modify, and cancel as needed. We also love that their shipping boxes feature fun designs and are meant to be played with. So cute.

Diaper Rash Cream

The Boogie Bottoms Diaper Rash Spray is a must-have at daycare and home. We also suggest throwing one in your diaper bag for on-the-go diaper changes. This spray eliminates the mess and is a hands-off product for caregivers. With a few spritzes—and no rubbing necessary—your babe will get the relief their diaper area needs. Each 1.7-ounce bottle of this soothing solution is good for 200 sprays. Grab it in a three-pack and be set for the year.


Easily overlooked but absolutely necessary, sunscreen is a common request for outdoor adventures. Earth Mama products are a fan favorite, and we love the Twice as Nice Baby Mineral Sunscreen Set includes a stick for your baby’s face and a lotion for everywhere else. The SPF 40 formula is pediatrician and dermatologist tested, water-resistant, protects against both UVA and UVB rays, and is reef-safe. And with ingredients like cocoa butter and organic aloe, it’s sure to also moisturize your kiddo’s skin as they are out in the sun.

Burp Cloths

You have one less thing to pack when you go for the Boutique Mother Earth Bibs from Aden + Anais bib-and-burp-cloth combo! We loved it for your registry, and we love it for daycare, too. Your daycare provider can throw one over their shoulder as a burp cloth or snap it around your baby’s shoulders as a bib. The hypoallergenic fabrics are machine-washable, and the Mother Earth line uses organic, sustainable materials. We love a 2-in-1 that works overtime and keeps the planet in mind!


We can’t get over how sweet the loveys inside the Angel Dear Pair and a Spare 3-Piece Blanket Set are! There are more than 15 animal sets to choose from, and they are all machine-washable (are you noticing a trend?). The genius behind the three-piece set is that you can keep one at home, send one to school, and have a spare for whichever goes missing or gets gross first.


Burt’s Bees isn’t just for mamas! Their children’s line includes these 100% organic cotton fitted crib sheets that more than 11,000 Amazon reviewers are in love with. Shoppers say the sheets are just as soft as they were when they were purchased years ago, and the extra fabric and elastic along the bottom keep the sheet in place. “I will not use any other sheets but these,” said one happy customer—well, there you have it!

Sleep Sack

Sleep sacks are another nap-time comfort that should be rolled up in your child’s backpack. We love the dreamy designs, the breathable cotton fabric that keeps your little one cool, and that Yoofoss sleep sacks come in a pack of three. (Yes, we are obsessed with multiples!) If you dread the thought of daily laundry, first, we feel the same way, and second, you’ll be glad to have clean ones for the next day.

Bottle Cooler

Your child’s daycare probably has a fridge, but if you’re sending breast milk to daycare with your babe, make sure your liquid gold arrives safely. This Grab & Go baby bottle bag by Skip Hop is perfect for storing premade bottles of breast milk, so you know exactly how much your little one will be eating that day. What’s more, it’s insulated and keeps bottles warm or cold for hours.

Nap Mat

If your toddler has outgrown the cribs in the infant room, chances are they’re sleeping on tiny cots and need of a Hi Sprout Kids Nap Mat for quiet time! This easy-to-roll mat comes in nine adorable patterns. With a comfy pillow and breathable blanket, your wee one can cuddle up as they doze off.