Working Mama 101: What to Pack for Daycare + How Not to Run Late in the Morning {Our Family Roost Style}

as promised last week in my post all about the adjustment to being a working, pumping and breastfeeding mama, i’m back to share two lists of sorts: a list of what we pack for Q for daycare {and, to keep it equal, what we pack for L as well} and a list of morning and evening “farm chores” {thanks for the term, Emily Ley!} that Jord and i have taken on to ease the task of our mornings of getting two parents and two kiddos out the door.

first up, a little background: when i was prepping to return to work, i Googled my heart out to find out what items that parents are sending with their babies and kiddos to daycare. as i’ve mentioned before, i was an at-home Mama with L for the first fourteen months of his life, which means that when it came time to send four-month-old Q to daycare, i was at a loss of what to pack in a diaper bag for him {apart from the essentials like diapers and wipes, of course}.

what’s interesting, though, is that despite my Google-loving heart, i wasn’t really able to track down a list of “what to bring to daycare” that proved helpful. so, i’m hear to share my own list, which has about five-ish weeks of trial-and-error success:

here’s what you’ll find in Q’s diaper bag {which, for the record, is this one from Thirty One Gifts, which i LOVE because it’s HUGE}:

  • diapers {we’re using Pampers Swaddlersright now for Q; instead of bringing in diapers every day or every week, we send about half of a large box (probably around 70-80 diapers) whenever he needs them}
  • wipes {we’re big fans of the Pampers Sensitive wipes with the pop-top}
  • extra clothes {since Q is still in the diaper-blowout stage of nursing – two words: loose stools {eww!}, i send two onesies, two pairs of pants, and a pair of socks}
  • a blanket {since we live in South Dakota, we typically send a fuzzy + warm blanket along with Q each week}
  • SwaddleMe swaddle with Velcro{we LOVED these with L, and we are still big fans now that Q’s wearing them!}
  • at least three bibs {apart from the consistent drooling that Q is doing now at nearly five months old, Q is also a bit of a spitter after he nurses or takes a bottle, so having extra bibs on hand is key}
  • a burp cloth or two {see above}
  • two to three pacifiers with clips {while L never took to a pacifier at all, Q prefers theJollyPop brand, which is what they gave to him in the NICU to help to promote sucking; i like this style of pacifier clip= easy on/off}
  • coat + hat {again, since we live in SD, Q often wears one or both of these to school, but even if it’s a nicer day, i still send these items with him each day, just in case the temperature dips}
  • sunscreen {last summer, we used the California Baby brandwith no complaints}
  • bottles/baby food {depending on age; since i’m still nursing Q, i pump breast milk on a regular basis and send it – defrosted, if it was frozen – in bottles, so that it’s ready to go for his caregivers; i use this pump– LOVE IT – and these bottles, which we also LOVE}

for reference, here’s what we send for L, who’s almost 3 years old, in this much-beloved backpack:

  • diapers {while we tried cloth-diapering L, he eventually needed a more absorbent diaper, so we’ve been using Pampers for him for about one year now. we’ve been working on potty-training for a few weeks, but L is not quite ready for full-time Pull-Ups, so like we do with Q, we send a bulk package of Pampers Cruisers in size 4 to school}
  • wipes {Pampers Sensitive, like above}
  • extra clothes {while a diaper blowout is rare for L, he does get dirty and/or wet a lot, especially during art time or when playing outside or at the sensory tables at school, so we always send one complete outfit – shirt, pants + socks – to school with him}
  • a blanket {L prefers a soft, fuzzy blanket, too – his favorites are a green Minky blanket that his Grandma Patty made for him and an Elmo blanket that is big enough for me to use}
  • coat + hat + mittens {see above}
  • winter gear {if necessary; in addition to his coat, hat and mittens, we send snow pants and boots with L each day during the winter months}
  • sunscreen {see above}

lastly, i wanted to share what Jord and i have dubbed our “farm chores.” the fun name = this super-helpful post by Emily Ley {who makes AMAZING day planners, which are on sale VERY soon – you must check them out here!}.

here are the chores that we check off each evening:

  • wash + sterilize breast pump parts, bottles
  • fill bottles for the next day {Fridays: freeze breast milk}
  • pack Jord + Sara’s lunches for the next day {refrigerate if necessary}
  • set out clothes for the next day for Lionel + Quincy {the back of the living room couch is a great spot for outfits to lie in wait in our home}
  • put away toys around the house {for my sanity, this NEEDS to happen each night}

and the chores that we take on each morning:

  • Jordan: dinner prep {take out meat to thaw, etc.}
  • Sara: make the beds {i took this one from Emily Ley’s list, and i can’t tell you how wonderful it is to come home to made beds!}
  • Jordan: change Lionel + Quincy’s diapers
  • Sara: make coffee
  • Sara: nurse Q when he wakes up {typically around 6:15AM}
  • eat breakfast {L’s typical breakfast in the morning is one piece of peanut butter toast and apple juice}
  • put away toys around the house {after a morning of play, this is absolutely necessary!}

finally, we have a few special Sunday night chores to help the week to flow smoothly:

  • Sara: select my work outfits for the entire week + iron my clothes {it works so, so well not to have to think about what to wear each morning!}
  • Jordan: ready garbage + recycling for the next day
  • thaw breast milk + fill bottles for the next day
  • pack up breast pump bag

i hope that’s helpful to those of you who, like us, are full-time working parents. or, perhaps you are eagerly awaiting the arrival of your second {or third! or fourth!} child and wondering how you’ll ever get out the door in the mornings? either way, i hope this list helps you to know that all things are possible with a plan and prep work!

About Sara

Sara works in higher education, but she's most proud of her role as a Mama to two precocious boys, Lionel Conner, age 4, and Quincy August, age 2. In honor of turning 30 in 2016, she pierced her nose to "keep her young." She loves watching guilty-pleasure television, writing about motherhood, decorating her first home, sipping red wine with her husband Jordan, and chasing after her sons.
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