Whether it’s your first baby or not, saying goodbye to your little one and handing them over for the first time is tough tough tough. You’ll probably cry. If you’re like me, you won’t even make it out of the daycare before the tears flow.
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I was very luck to be able to stay home with Andrew for 6 months before heading back to work. We decided to send him to daycare at 5 months old, so that everyone could slowly get used to our new rhythm (mostly me).
Here are some things that I did to help with those first few days of daycare:
Prep before the big day
Have a meeting with the people in your daycare who will actually be taking care of your little one. Make sure the feeding and nap schedules are clear with the team. Ask any questions you have to make sure you’re comfortable with how the first day will go.
Make a schedule with the daycare of when your baby will be there. We decided to have an acclimation period of 2 weeks. The first day he was there for about an hour, the second day, 2 hours, etc. By the end of the 2 weeks, we were all comfortable with him eating, napping, and hanging out at the daycare for longer days to match my work schedule.
Pack everything in advance. Our daycare gave us a helpful list of things to bring in:
- extra clothes
- extra pairs of socks
- any shoes or indoor slippers
- depending on the weather, a jacket or sweatshirt or a sunhat
- extra pacifiers
- a small stuffed animal (a lovey or “doudou” in French)
- any medicine
- formula or a cooler for milk (grab that at the last minute before you leave)
- something that smells like you to help with naptime — Andrew loves these swaddle blankets from Aden + Anais. I slept with one the night before so that it smelled like me. These are made from bamboo fibers, so they’re super soft! You can find them online at Amazon or at Target.
Write your child’s name or initials in the clothes. No matter how organized the daycare is, with multiple kids getting changed all day, clothes will occasionally get lost. Side note, we’ve always gotten Andrew’s clothes back at some point!
The big day
Getting used to not seeing your baby all day, every day is difficult. Have a plan for distracting yourself once you drop off your baby. Go to a nice coffee shop, treat yourself to a manicure, or sit right outside the daycare and scroll through Facebook. It was easier for me when I had a fun and easy to do list.
Take a picture of your baby! Whether it’s a quick picture on the way out the door, or you have a sign and decorations, you’ll want to remember this day.
My little guy’s been in daycare for almost a year now, and we’re so thrilled with how he’s thriving there. A big bonus: we get these cute pictures of him playing during the day and some really fun arts and crafts to take home. It’s clear he’s having a great time. Good luck with your new rhythm and the transition!
How did you cope with dropping off you baby at daycare? What did they ask you to bring in? What has been your favorite arts and crafts project from daycare?