surviving daycare drop-off

Maternity leave is Over: How to get through Daycare Drop-Off

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Going back to work after maternity leave

The first day back to work after maternity leave is the worst, especially if daycare drop-off is involved. There is no sugar coating it. It just sucks. But you can sail into a new routine smoothly with this super convenient printable schedule and checklist. I worried about the details so you only have to worry about cuddling your baby as long as possible!

Avoid daycare drop-off chaos with this schedule and checklist

My first day back to work full time was Nugget’s first daycare drop-off. I also needed to leave for a (horribly timed) overnight business trip. Hubs took the week off to help us both adjust, but we were still ill-prepared despite our best efforts.

Up to that point, Nugget was breastfed all day, every day, with a bottle mixed in here and there. It never failed that my attempts to pump a new allergen-free stash always coincided with when she would get hungry. I’d need to abandon pumping to feed her. So we had no idea how many ounces she was eating daily. We had no idea how much milk to send to daycare.


Our lack of preparation made it glaringly obvious that we were first time parents. And the first days back after maternity leave were rough. Those first couple of weeks it was so hard to figure out a routine that worked for us. And I cried. A lot.

Routines can make daycare drop-off easier

What we learned was that a little bit of prep work can go a very long way for getting everyone out the door on time. Or, at least, a time within reason. I wanted every minute in the morning to be spent enjoying time with our daughter before I absolutely had to leave for work. Now that I’m working from home full-time, I still want that precious time together and for every morning to run as smoothly as possible.

The good news is, your first daycare drop-off doesn’t have to be COMPLETE chaos! Use this schedule with The No-Stress Back to Work Prep Checklist for ready-to-implement routines that will make your mornings run smoothly.

Here’s how to make your mornings easier

Two things before we get to the schedule:

  1. If you want to be mostly ready before your baby wakes up, immediately adjust this schedule and set your alarm for 1 hour before your baby’s usual wake time (or more, if you wish to get in a home workout session).
  2. Don’t skip prepping a baby entertainment station in your bathroom/bedroom! A full pack-and-play setup, a bouncer seat or a blanket on the floor with a few toys will work. And it’ll be a life saver in case your little one decides to wake up when you’ve only finished makeup on one side of your face!

Also, as you make your way through the schedule (when you have a minute to breathe), jot down what activities took you more or less time and adapt it accordingly to personalize your own schedule sheet.

And remember mama, you can do this!

OK mamas, here it is. The secret schedule for a well-oiled routine. Remember to use it alongside The No-Stress Back to Work Prep Checklist for the best results. The prep work makes ALL of the difference!

6:15 AM (or 1 hour before baby wakes) – Mama wakes up

6:15-6:45 AM – Makeup & hair, get dressed (shower the night before)

6:45-7:00 AM – Let out/feed pets

7:00-7:15 AM – Make coffee, grab quick breakfast

(Built in 5-minute buffer. Use the restroom or start getting bags together.)

7:20-7:35 AM – Wake baby & feed baby (make a note of this time, you’ll need to record it at daycare!)

Note: you may need to change the baby’s diaper here first if you aren’t changing it overnight. In this case, be prepared to change it again before you leave!

7:35-7:45 AM – Change & dress baby (Make a note of the last diaper change time, too. Daycare will need that information also!)

7:45-8:00 AM – Let the baby play within eyesight while you gather last minute items. (Don’t forget your pump supplies, pump, and the fully prepped baby bottles for daycare.)

8:00-8:10 AM – Last minute diaper change, put baby in the car seat & pack up the car


8:30-8:45 AM – Daycare drop-off. Take your time, but avoid overstaying and unnecessarily working up your little one. Give him/her a big hug and kiss, plop them somewhere neat, tell them to have fun in a cheery voice and wave good-bye. (It’s OK … you can totally cry in the car.)


9:00 AM – Start work

Want to print this schedule to reference again and again? It’s all yours!

Get The No-Stress Back to Work Prep Checklist & Schedule Now for your ready-to-implement daycare drop-off routine!

Good luck, mama!

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beans and bravery

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