When I first enrolled my kids in a real brick and mortar daycare, I was completely overwhelmed by all of the preparation I needed to do beforehand. Quite honestly, I was even a bit annoyed at the very specific labeling requirements for the mound of items I had to take up there. Until one day when I picked my daughter up from the infant classroom and was informed that she had been given the wrong bottle at her last feeding. Of course, her bottles were clearly labeled and the mistake was quickly fixed. Never the less, I was horrified to no end. It was only then that I realized how crucial daycare labeling is.
Every item that you send with your baby will need to be labeled a little differently. Options include markers, Ziploc bags, reusable labels, disposable labels, and iron-ons. It is also possible to purchase personalized versions of many baby items such as pacifiers, cups, clothing and bags.
Read on to discover how to label individual items for daycare along with specific watch-outs and tips that I’ve found to be useful!
Labeling baby stuff for daycare
Labeling baby stuff before taking it to daycare does not have to be complicated, and it only has to be expensive if you want it to be. However, I will point out that while reusable products may have a higher up-front cost, they may save you more money in the long run than consumable options.
There are a lot of reasons that daycares require labels for all of the items brought to the center. Overwhelmingly, it seems that daycares are looking out for the child’s best interest by requiring labels on your baby’s belongings.
For instance, Bottles and sippy cups are obviously labeled for sanitary reasons.
Consumable products, like diapers, wipes, and medicines are labeled so that you are guaranteed to only purchase as much as your child needs. Further, you are able to control the types of products, medicines, lotions etc. that your child is exposed to while in the care of another person.
Clothes, jackets, shoes, and socks are labeled to make sure that those sweet little items you carefully pick out for your sweet baby make it back home. Daycares also prefer that you label and launder blankets and nap mats at your home so that your child’s laundry is done with the preferred detergent.
As highlighted at the beginning of this article, labeling your baby’s bottles is extremely important for making sure your child receives the nutrition sent to daycare just for them. Further, properly labeling your baby’s bottle can ensure that the bottles have been properly sanitized and eliminate the worry that could accompany your baby accidentally drinking from another baby’s bottle.
There are several options for labeling baby bottles. The best option will allow you to label your baby’s name and ideally the date.
Read below to find out the pros and cons of each option!
The most elementary version of the bottle label is a simple piece of masking tape and a sharpie. However, this option is not very visually appealing, and if you accidentally wash a bottle with a piece of tape on it you will have a nightmare on your hands. Trust me, I learned that from experience.
You can also purchase pre-cut peel and stick vinyl with your baby’s name (or cut special vinyl if you have a Cricut or Silhouette machine). These are definitely a visually appealing option, and when applied correctly, the stickers can last for a very long time. However, this option does not allow you to include a date on your label.
If you aren’t sure what these look like then you can check out a great example here. You can choose the color and letter that you want to have sent and once it goes onto your bottle it is rated for 6+ years of outdoor use, but can still be removed if necessary!
It is also easy to find simple peel-and-stick disposable stickers to put on your baby’s bottle. These are an excellent option and seem like a nice compromise to the masking tape and vinyl options mentioned above. The one con to these stickers is that they are consumable, meaning you will have to continue to purchase more of them as you run out.
These are definitely the most versatile option because changing the label is as easy as writing a new one and replacing it. This particular option is pretty cheap and you get 64 labels in the package. They also have cute little animals around the edge of the labels!
The best reusable and waterproof baby bottle labels
Lastly, you have the option of reusable baby bottle labels. Picking up a pack of these labels will cost about as much as the disposable ones above, but you will be able to reuse them for a very long time. Most of these are made of silicone and simply wrap around the bottle so you won’t have to worry about accidentally washing the bottle with the label on and creating a sticky mess. As long as you don’t use a permanent marker, you’ll be able to quickly wash your writing away and change it up for the next use.
We picked up this particular set right here that has 6 cute froggy name tags, a marker, and a cleaning cloth. It’s held up very well for the past 6 months and I can definitely see being able to use them with our next child as well!
This is super convenient. I remember with my youngest daughter we switched her bottles from skinny to wide and then ultimately to a trainer cup. I really love that even if you change the bottle you are using, you can continue to use these baby bottle labels.
Clothes and socks
If you are anything like me, then you have a pretty accurate idea of the inventory of your child’s closet. After all, with three small children at home, I cannot afford to buy a new pack of socks every few weeks. I need to know that when I send clothes to the daycare they will make it back home with my children.
One option for labeling your children’s clothing is to simply write their name on the tag – and this is a no-nonsense, cheap option that works.
As a regular contributor to our local consignment sale, though, I cannot in good conscience recommend this method. Not only will your children’s clothes be impossible to re-sell, but they also may be less desirable for donation, in general.
With that being said, the cheapest and easiest option for labeling clothes and socks for daycare is to place them in a Ziploc and label the Ziploc with their name. I really like this option because you can reuse the Ziploc every time your child needs a new change of clothes sent to the daycare and if the bag wears out it’s super cheap to replace it.
Of course, if you want to get a little fancier or cuter then there are definitely options out there for you!
Stick on clothing labels
Stick on clothing labels could be a decent choice for sending clothing items to daycare because they let you label individual pieces of clothing. The biggest potential issue, however, is that even though these stickers are meant to be permanent and withstand full cycles in the washer and dryer, many people report that they come off too easily.
If we are going to make the decision to have a permanent label on something, I would rather make sure that it is at least durable!
Iron-on clothing labels
Iron-on clothing labels are another perfectly acceptable option for labeling your child’s clothes for daycare with the added benefit that they are way less likely to come off or tear apart in the washer or dryer! This means that they are really pretty permanent compared to other things that you might try.
These labels are simple, affordable, and small. They are also a great deal for 100 iron-on labels which should last you through at least one child’s tour through daycare! However, they are considered permanent and might render the clothing unable to sell or donate at a later date.
Obviously, labeling pacifiers is necessary to avoid sanitary issues within a daycare. Unfortunately, there are not many options for labeling pacifiers because they are so small and hard to attach a label to.
One option would be to simply write your child’s name on the pacifier in permanent marker. However, please remember that many children chew on their pacifiers and this is probably not the best idea even if it is the easiest. The best route is to actually pick up something personalized so that you don’t have to worry about it at all!
Personalized Pacifier Clips
These personalized pacifier clips are a wonderful option for ensuring your child keeps their pacifier on them at all times. Not only do these clips keep kids from losing their pacifiers, but they also ensure that your child is not tempted to swipe someone else’s’ pacifier. And since they are super cute, you’ll get compliments all the time!
Another completely acceptable way to label your child’s pacifier is to purchase a personalized pacifier. This is a good option right here because it is a 3-pack (because pacifiers do get lost), it’s BPA-free, can be customized for whatever name you want, and includes free shipping. For personalized items, these are actually a pretty good deal as well!
The one downside to this is that if your baby already has a preferred brand or shape of pacifier you might not be able to find a personalized version of it. Still, there are a bunch of options and I bet one will work for you. Once you pick a couple of these up, you won’t have to worry about it ever again!
Breast milk is commonly referred to by breastfeeding and pumping mammas as ‘liquid gold.’ Mothers who are able to feed their children breastmilk understand how much work goes into continuing that journey after going back to work.
Labeling breastmilk for daycare does not have to be overwhelming. For the most part, it is not that different from labeling bottles. Simply make sure that each bottle is correctly labeled and for breastmilk, you want to include the date the milk was pumped on the label.
How to pack breast milk for daycare
Once you get your child to daycare, your daycare workers should immediately check bottles for proper labels and place the bottles in a refrigerator. Still, you want to take extra care to ensure your bottles are cold when they arrive at daycare.
I wholeheartedly recommend this cooler bag from Medela. This set comes with storage bottles, an ice pack, and a cooler bag. The ice pack is molded to fit around the bottles perfectly and you can transport a surprising amount of breastmilk this way. It has worked wonderfully for me through all three of my babies and, if you already have a Medela breast pump, everything is compatible and the cooler bag will fit inside your larger pump bag as well!
Breastmilk guidelines for daycare
If this is your first time to take a breastfed baby to daycare, you probably have a lot of questions about breastmilk guidelines for daycare. However, each facility likely has different guidelines and you will need to ask the daycare director for suggestions for your facility. In the meantime, here is a handy guide from the CDC about proper storage, handling, and freezing guidelines for breastmilk.
Food or snacks
Some daycares no longer allow outside food and drink to remove the concern for food allergy reactions. However, if your daycare allows outside food and snacks, then you will want to make sure you have labels for breakfast, lunch, and snack time.
Sticking a snack is a Ziploc bag with your child’s name written on it is always a viable option for daycare. I like to buy snacks in large family size bags, so rationing with Ziplocs really is my best option to stretch my budget.
I really like these labels, and they are a great bang for your buck! They are waterproof, dishwasher-proof, fridge-safe, and freezer-safe. Essentially, they are pretty indestructable. What’s great about these is that they come in different shapes and sizes so you can slap them onto pretty much anything. You also get 90 of them so they will last for quite a while. If you are like me, then you might also make them last a little longer by simply writing small and marking through the old info and writing the new!
As an added bonus, they would also work for homemade baby food or even pre-bought pureed baby food.
Most daycares have a system in place for organizing opened packs of diapers. The simplest way to label your diapers for daycare really is to write your child’s name on the unopened bag in sharpie. Your child’s teacher will probably take it from there, but you could go one step further and actually label the individual diapers that you send. That’s probably totally unnecessary though!
At my daycare, we are told to simply pack our son’s bag with diapers and other things and it all stays inside the bag so there is little danger of getting mixed up.
Cloth diapering is a bit of a question mark at daycare, mostly because many daycares simply do not allow it. While there are many benefits to this system, most daycare workers are not equipped to deal with them and have no idea what to do with cloth diapers. Because soiled diapers are supposed to be kept in a wet bag and cleaned later, it also poses a health risk to the daycare and the other kids if they are asked to keep the diapers inside the facility instead of simply throwing them away.
Still, more and more places are starting to allow cloth diapers to be sent to daycare. You’ll need to have this conversation with your provider well in advance to ensure that they are comfortable with this system. Obviously, if they do allow it, great care should be taken that these diapers don’t get mixed up.
Cloth diapers can be labeled much in the same way that clothes can. Purchase cloth labels and write your child’s name in, or purchase an iron-on label. Just know, that replacement on cloth diaper labels may be more often than on other pieces of clothing because they are generally washed and dried more aggressively and frequently.
Like diapers, wipes are pretty simple to label. Simply writing your child’s name on the package in sharpie will suffice for wipes.
Usually, though, wipes are organized by the daycare into the proper cubby for your child’s belongings anyway. However, labeling wipes with your child’s name is an added measure to make sure the correct wipes are used for your child and that yours don’t get used up too quickly on other children!
Most daycares do not allow children to bring in their own toys for many reasons. Toys brought in may get lost or damaged, and children might tend to argue more often over toys brought from home because they are new or different from what’s normally available.
However, if you have a daycare that will allow toys to be brought from home, check out these versatile daycare labels from Lil’ labels. They are waterproof and fairly tough. This would be a good option for toys that get tossed around and sometimes find themselves inside of a mouth at daycare. Unfortunately, labeling something like a stuffed animal is going to be nearly impossible unless you can write on it somewhere with a Sharpie.
Backpacks or bags
I live in the south, so every one of my children owns at least three monogrammed bags. I will always recommend monogramming over any other method because it is just so adorable. Further, monogramming is permanent and safe for laundry as long as the bag is also safe for the laundry so it will last forever.
If the monogram option is not for you, these write-on bag tags are cute and very affordable. These are an easy option for labeling your child’s backpack or diaper bag for daycare and they have the added benefit of being able to move from one bag to another as your baby gets older and you replace her bag.
Good luck with your daycare labeling journey!