When you are preparing to send your baby to a new caregiver, you may be wondering how to pack bottles for daycare. Packing bottles for your child as they transition to daycare is one of the most critical aspects of their new routine.
Your child will now be relying on their childcare workers to feed them throughout the day, so the more prepared you can be, the better!
How do you pack breast milk and formula bottles for daycare? For formula bottles, you place the correct amount of formula powder into each bottle, and the daycare worker will add the water. For breast milk bottles, you must defrost and transfer the breast milk into a bottle and place it in a cooler to send. Be sure to label all bottles sent to the daycare.
Packing breast milk and formula bottles can require extra planning and organization. Read on to find out more about this preparation process.
Pro Tip: One thing I found very frustrating about packing bottles for daycare was that the first baby bottle labels I bought peeled off after only a week. After trying a few different brands, I found that these labels stayed put after a year’s worth of daily washing, soaking and sterilizing! Seriously, don’t waste your money on anything else.
How to Pack Bottles for Daycare (Breast Milk and Formula)
Preparing bottles for daycare can be stressful, but with an organized system, it can be quite manageable. Every new parent must figure out what system works best for their children and their lifestyle. It is better to over-prepare bottles than to not pack enough.
This is so your baby isn’t hungry during the day at daycare. The more organized and intentional you are about preparing your child’s bottles for daycare, the more successful your child’s caregivers can be.
After defrosting, previously frozen breast milk will only last up to 24 hours. It is essential to keep breast milk frozen or refrigerated overnight before packing it away for daycare. Always use a cooler to transport breast milk so that it does not spoil. Breast milk that has gone bad can seriously harm your child when consumed.
Newborn babies often eat every two to three hours throughout the day. It is a good idea to pack enough milk for your baby to be able to eat around 3 ounces every two hours. This will ensure that your baby is well-fed and healthy during their stay at daycare.
Formula that has been prepared ahead of time must be eaten within one hour. Otherwise, it can go bad. You can also refrigerate formula to ensure that it stays good for more extended amounts of time. When preparing formula for daycare, it is recommended that you portion out the formula into each bottle and wait for the caregiver to fill it up with water when your baby is ready to be fed.
How Do I Prepare Bottles of Breast Milk for Daycare?
Breast milk can be more complicated to prepare and keep fresh than formula. Here are several steps that will help when packing bottles for daycare:
- Take frozen breast milk out of the freezer and place it in the fridge 12 hours before it is time to transport it to daycare.
- Make sure all bottles are sanitized and clean before using them.
- Pour contents of storage containers into correct bottles.
- Keep milk in the refrigerator until it is time to transport.
- Keep bottles of breast milk in a cooler during transportation to daycare.
Previously frozen breast milk shouldn’t be kept sitting in the refrigerator for more than twenty-four hours, and freshly pumped milk is good in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. If you pump milk, it is vital that you either use it soon or store it in the freezer until you are ready to feed it to your child.
Pouring frozen breast milk into bottles can get messy and you definitely don’t want to waste any of your liquid gold! Here is an article with a great trick I learned to easily pour breast milk from bags to bottles.
Communication is critical when dealing with childcare workers. They will have multiple children to care for throughout the day with multiple routines and guidelines to follow. Because of this, it is crucial that you clearly state your child’s needs and concerns ahead of time, so that your child is appropriately cared for while you are away.
All babies have a different feeding schedule. Because of this, they may likely require different things than another child in the same daycare. Parents and daycare workers need to keep a line of communication open so that everyone can do what is best for your child.
If your child adapts to a different schedule at daycare, it will be essential for you to adjust your weekend feeding schedule with the new schedule that your baby has grown accustomed to. Creating as much cohesion and repetition as possible will significantly benefit the comfort and emotional security of your baby.
How Do I Prepare Bottles of Formula for Daycare?
Legally, most daycares require that you prepare your child’s bottle ahead of time so that they are not liable if the formula gets switched on accident. Because of this, it is important to portion out the formula powder into each bottle ahead of time so that your child’s care workers will only have to add water and shake.
Your should prepare formula bottles according to the following steps:
- Sanitize and clean bottles every night.
- Portion out formula powder in every bottle ahead of time.
- Add your child’s name to each bottle with a proper label.
- Communicate your child’s feeding needs to childcare workers.
Sit down and clearly explain your child’s unique feeding schedule to one of the childcare workers, so that they can best serve your child throughout the day. Make sure that you answer all questions so that there is no confusion about your child’s care.
Make sure you pack enough bottles for the amount of time that your baby will be at the daycare so that your baby can remain well-fed and happy while they are away from you. Remember, it is always better to over-pack than to under pack.
As an example, I fed my daughter at home at 8am. Then, she needed to drink 1 bottle at daycare at 11am and a 2nd bottle at 2pm. I’d pick her up at 4, and she would have another feeding at home at 5pm.
I’d usually pack 3 bottles that were 4 to 5 ounces each. This was so she would have an extra bottle in case she was extra hungry that day. The daycare workers usually wouldn’t touch it, and I would bring it home.
Sterilizing all of your baby’s daycare equipment is crucial to the safety and health of your child. Illnesses, germs, and bacteria can be shared at daycare centers, and you need to do everything in your power to protect your child and keep them as healthy and safe as possible.
What is the Best Way to Label My Child’s Bottles?
Labeling your child’s bottles for daycare is very important because it will eliminate the chance of someone else taking or using your child’s belongings. Labels can also help childcare workers easily differentiate whose bottles belong to whom so that there are no accidental mix-ups.
Using durable, well-made labels is essential so that they will not easily fall off or fade away. Choosing a bright and cheerful color for each label is a good idea so that it will be easy to see.
These factors will ensure that your child will be well taken care of and that the caregivers for your child will know exactly what items are for your baby.
Labeling bottles helps:
- Others identify your child’s belongings.
- Keep your child’s bottles organized and safe.
- Other people know who to return the bottles to if they have been lost.
When you are looking for baby bottle labels, you will want ones that can stand up to daily washing, soaking, and sterilizing. You might be washing the bottles by hand or in the dishwasher, and they can take a beating. I found that these baby bottle labels worked better than any other brand that I tried!
You can read more about labeling your baby’s bottles for daycare in my article here.
How Much Breast Milk or Formula Do You Need To Pack?
Preparing bottles for your child as they venture off to daycare requires careful preparation due to the delicacy of breast milk and formula. Providing too much milk for your caregivers to feed your child throughout the day is better than not providing enough.
I know it can be tough because you don’t want the daycare workers to waste any of your precious liquid gold when they are feeding your child. You spend so much time and effort to produce that milk, and want to make sure it is taken care of!
Because I pumped “just enough” breast milk for my baby, I would send two extra 1 – 2 ounce bottles of formula to daycare in case my daughter was extra hungry that day. That way, I didn’t feel like any of the breast milk was being wasted in case she didn’t eat the entire bottle.
How To Communicate With Daycare Workers
Keeping an open line of communication with your child’s caregivers is very important so that everyone can remain on the same page and have your child’s best interest in mind as you take turns caring for your child.
Being open to hearing comments and suggestions is also essential because your child’s caregivers often witness and experience things with your child that you may not be aware of.
Packing enough milk for your child to be able to eat once every two to three hours throughout the day is the recommended amount to pack. Make sure to sterilize and clean each bottle every single night so that all germs and bacteria can be washed away to protect your child’s health.
More Baby Tips
Be sure to save this to your Baby or Breastfeeding board on Pinterest so you can find it later!
Follow PumpingMamas on Pinterest for more great tips!