Educating your childcare provider about breast milk


One of the most important things that you will have to do when it comes to preparing and educating your childcare provider, is about your breast milk, how it is stored, how it should be prepared, how it should be fed and in what quantities, and the difference between it and formula.

Unless you are using a provider that is very familiar with the handling and feeding of pumped breast milk, specific instructions will be required. In order to educate them you need to first understand for yourself all of the ins and outs of pumped milk and how to bottle feed your breastfed baby.

A common report that breastfeeding moms will get back from daycare is that they are not leaving enough milk. The bottles or the feedings look small as compared to the “formula” bottles that other babies may be being fed and your baby may appear to still be hungry because they are not being overfed into a “milk coma”.

It is critical that you explain about the amount of breast milk that a breastfed baby eats and how to use other methods of soothing other than more milk with your child. I hear all the time, from moms who talk about not making enough because ALL of their milk for the entire day is being fed in the first feeding and then there is nothing left. This lack of knowledge and proper instruction will ultimately lead to unnecessary formula supplementation.

You will also need to make them fully aware of the proper method of warming, feeding and re-feeding your milk if the baby does not finish all that is in the bottle. Unlike formula, breast milk can be fed to the baby again at the next feeding if all of the milk is not taken. With formula, once the baby touches her lips to the bottle, whatever is left, must be discarded immediately and cannot be saved for later. You do not want any of your precious breast milk thrown away by mistake. It took you time and effort to pump it out, and you want every last bit going in to your baby.

Breast milk does not need to be warmed beyond the first week or two of your baby’s life. This will usually not be an issue when you are at the point of pumping, bottle feeding and childcare. Instruct your provider to just take the prefilled bottle that you have left for the feeding, gently swirl the milk until it is not separated, and then feed it to your baby without doing anything else to it. This is why it will be important while training your baby to take milk from the bottle that you get him used to drinking it cold. This will reduce the time that the baby will have to wait to be fed as well as preserve the milk in its most natural state for feeding and storage again if the baby does not finish all of it.

Remind your child’s provider to always hold your baby in a semi upright position and to never “prop” the bottle. Watch your baby carefully for signs of fullness and to stop frequently to burp throughout the feeding. Also, do not use more milk as a way to answer every cry.

Babies will cry for everything that they want, and all too often it is just assumed that it must be hunger. If your baby has already been fed the regular feeding and is still fussing, encourage them to do other things that you would normally do to soothe your baby. That could be walking around, more burping, changing a diaper, swaddling and sleep, or maybe a pacifier as your baby may just want more sucking time that they would normally be getting from you if they were feeding at the breast


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