our must have products for daycare

Time for another "products that keep us sane" list! I posted a while back about the products we couldn't have lived without during Emma's first 6 months, and thought I should do the same for the stuff that makes daycare life a whole lot easier. Emma's been in daycare since she was 3 months old (do not get me started on how ridiculously inadequate the maternity leave is in this country) and while we had absolutely no clue what we'd need on day 1, we're starting to feel like old pros these days. Oh, who am I kidding? We are absolutely still making it up as we go along, but either way - here's some stuff that has gotten us through...

1.  Lands' End Zip Top Tote (Medium) - I got the idea for using this as a daycare bag when I saw one of the other moms in Emma's daycare class using it. I thought it was classic and durable, and I loved that I could get her name embroidered on it. What I didn't realize until it arrived was that it has these great interior pockets that perfectly hold 4 bottles (Emma takes 3-4 during the day). I love it so much I got one for my nephew, too.

2.  Dr. Brown's bottles - I know that bottles are one of those products where everyone has to find their favorite, but I really love our Dr. Browns. Emma has a pretty sensitive tummy and these are apparently the best at preventing gas. Almost more important than that is that the narrow neck threads perfectly into my pump attachments (I use a Medela pump), which means WAY less stuff I have to wash. I can just pump directly into her bottles. Also, the little tiny brushes that come with them are perfect for cleaning pump parts. Emma's happy. I'm happy. Everybody wins.

3.  Munchkin Fresh Food Freezer Cups - I love these little cups for Emma's purees. They're perfect for freezing and they wash up easily. She's switching over to mostly finger foods now, and I'll be sad to see these cute cups get retired.

4.  Waterproof name labels - This was one of those items it didn't occur to us we'd need until Emma started daycare. It turns out they're kind of important. We've used Name Bubbles and Oliver's Labels and have been happy with both. I wanted plain labels with just her name (no tiaras, frogs, soccer balls, etc.) and both companies offered customizable options.

5.  Munchkin Deluxe Bottle Brush - This brush gets mixed reviews on Amazon, but we've been happy with it. It's held up well over 6 months, though the bottom brush insert comes loose now. I think the reason that no bottle brush gets stellar ratings is because they're all inevitably going to crap out due to such frequent use.

6.  Rubber dish gloves - I can't believe how long it took me to remember this handy little invention. I suffered through months of dry, cracked, itchy skin on my hands from all the bottle washing. Wouldn't it be great if there was a way to protect my hands while I washed bottles? Duh. Rubber dish gloves. I almost like washing bottles now. Almost.

7.  Pumping bra - If you're pumping, you need a pumping bra. Hands-free, double pumping. Such a lifesaver.

8.  Hooded rain jacket - This one may seem a little odd, but trust me - between the car seat, daycare bag, purse, laptop bag, pump bag/cooler, there are no hands left to hold an umbrella. And it will rain. And if you actually managed to get your hair done and put on some makeup before leaving the house, it would really suck to have it all ruined before you even get to work. My raincoat has saved me (and my hair) time and time again.

9.  Extras of everything - Clothes (particularly easy-wear cotton clothes), socks, wipes, sleep sacks, sheets, loveys, pacifiers, sippy cups, etc. etc. etc. There's nothing that your baby uses day in and day out that he or she won't need at least one more of for daycare. Get lots of the basics. Particularly socks. Daycare is where all your favorite little Trumpette socks go to die.

Do/did you have a kiddo in daycare? What products made life easier for you?