Being a first-time mom is both an exhilarating and exhausting experience – and something that makes it more difficult is planning to return to work after maternity leave. Feeling prepared will help make the transition easier. If you already picked out a daycare center, your next step is to pack both the diaper bag and your purse with the necessities.
Packing Baby's Diaper Bag
It's important that you drop off your baby early enough to arrive at work on time. One suggestion to decrease the hassle of early morning preparation is to purchase a separate diaper bag solely for daycare. Pack enough items to get your child through the work week and restock on your days off. This way you can grab and go, instead of searching for the necessities on your way out the door. In addition to diapering and feeding necessities, things to include in the daycare bag include the following:
- Creams and Lotions: This is especially important if your infant has problems with bowel movement or suffers from eczema or another skin condition. Make sure to tell your daycare provider what the condition is and when/how to use creams and lotions to ease rashes.
- Medical History and Medication: Always update your child's medical history with care providers. Keep a current list of vaccines, severe illnesses, allergies, and medications in your diaper bag, so every care provider can reference it as needed.
They should also have something like this on file. If your child has allergies, the daycare will have to notify other families not to bring certain snacks (like peanuts) for their children. If your child takes medication, give it directly to the provider and specify when and how to distribute it.
- Crib Sheets: While most pack-n-plays are provided for naptime, providers may request that you bring your own sheets. While you can take the sheet home to clean each week, you should keep a spare in the diaper bag in case your child soils the bed.
- Office Supplies: Put a notepad, pen, and masking tape in your diaper bag. The notepad will be used by you and the provider to write down items you are running low on, such as diapers and wipes. The masking tape is used to label your child's bottles and pacifiers.
For more information, talk to a professional infant care service, like Rainbow Montessori, and ask about what other items parents to include in your baby bag.
Packing Your Purse
Working moms should always keep a few essentials in their purses, as well. These items are meant to relieve physical and emotional discomfort while you spend time away from your child. Consider including these things in your purse:
- Nursing Pump: If you are nursing, talk to your boss about provisions for pumping throughout the day. This way your milk supply stays high and you don't have to supplement with formula. Moms who work close enough to the daycare center can often nurse on lunch break, but that one feeding isn't enough to get you through the day comfortably.
- Nursing Pads: Pack extra nursing pads, so you don't have to worry about embarrassing leaks becoming apparent to coworkers. It might even be a good idea to keep a spare shirt in your car (or in your purse, but you don't want it too wrinkly!).
- Pictures: Keep pictures close by so you can feel close to your baby even when you aren't with them. This will also aid in letdown while pumping.
- Baby's Schedule: Another comforting thing for moms at work is to know their baby's schedule. While you go through your routine, you can picture your child playing, napping, or eating – even waiting to be picked up – depending on the time of day.
Returning to work can be hard on new moms and babies. But if you feel physically prepared, you can cope with the emotional changes more easily. Packing your and your baby's bags in advance will help you be ready for the change.