How to prepare your baby for daycare when you are still breastfeeding
Finding a breastfeeding friendly childcare centre that supports your wish to continue providing your baby with expressed breast milk (EBM) is very important.
By law, daycare facilities cannot refuse to feed your child EBM that you have supplied via a breast pump. Nor can they discriminate against you for choosing to breastfeed your baby. But discovering a childcare centre that is compliant with legislation regarding breastfeeding is not the same as sending your child to a daycare centre that is actively supportive of breastfeeding and your commitment to giving your baby EBM. Finding a welcoming and encouraging breastfeeding friendly childcare centre will help you and your baby to adapt to new circumstances where you will be apart for extended periods. In this article, we have outlined ways that you can prepare your breastfeeding baby for daycare while continuing to nourish them with your expressed breast milk by using a breast pump.
Ask your daycare provider to stick to your home breastfeeding schedule
If you and your baby have a breastfeeding routine, it’s best to try and maintain this when your baby enters daycare. While there will be several feedings a day that you will not be present for, asking the caregiver to feed your baby your EBM as per your usual breastfeeding schedule will assist your baby to continue nursing as usual. Be sure to optimise your program so that you can breastfeed your baby just before you leave them at daycare, and right after you pick them up. If you feel comfortable breastfeeding at the daycare facility, this may be preferable to waiting until you return home.
How much EBM to leave your caregiver for your baby
Babies between 0-6 months will consume an average of 750 ML of breast milk per day. Estimate how many times you nurse your baby within 24-hours and then divide this by 750. You should be left with a rough guide of how many milliliters of breast milk your baby consumes per feeding. Times this by the number of feedings you plan for your baby while you are away, and you will have a ballpark figure of how many milliliters of EBM to leave with your caregiver. Determining this figure will also assist you when organising your breast pumping schedule while you and your baby are separated.
Please note: 750 ML per day is an approximate guide for a healthy baby of average height and weight. Your baby may drink less or more than this on a daily basis. If this is the case, tailor your estimations to the amount of breast milk your child consumes, or consult your breastfeeding specialist or doctor for advice.
Be mindful of portions
Daycare centres may have different policies regarding the storage and handling of breast milk. Keep in mind that many caregivers will be obliged by company policy to discard any unused breast milk once it has been heated. So storing your EBM in small portions will reduce wastage. Place the average amount of breast milk that your baby consumes per feeding into breast milk storage containers that coincide with the number of feedings you plan for your baby while at daycare. This will make it much easier for the caregiver to preserve your EBM. They can always heat more EBM if your baby requires more.
Ensure safe storage of your breast milk during transit
It’s vital to consider how you will transport your EBM to and from the daycare centre, especially in the Australian Summer. Expressed breast milk should never be kept in an environment over 26 degrees Celsius. The safest way to transport your freshly expressed, or defrosted breast milk is in a cooler bag designed to fit your breast milk storage containers. Your freshly expressed breast milk can then be kept in a fridge for up to 72 hours. Defrosted EBM should be used within 24 hours. Be sure to inquire as to your daycare facility’s policies and procedures for the storage and handling of expressed breast milk, as they may be stricter than your practice at home. And always label your breast milk storage containers with the time and date the milk was expressed, and your baby’s name.
Ameda Australia assists breastfeeding mothers to continue supplying their babies with breast milk when they are apart by selling high-quality breast pumps and accessories. For more information on the best breast pump for you and your baby, contact Ameda Australia today.