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Juggling Breastfeeding and Child Care

shutterstock_childcareWorker_momandBabyListen to the podcast “Breastfeeding and Childcare: Solving Unforeseen Problems”
Listen to the podcast “Breastfeeding and Child Care”

Most mothers know that keeping up their milk supply and expressing milk in the workplace are best handled with information-seeking and appropriate planning. Far fewer, if any, realize that a child care provider may make or break their breastfeeding experience. Here are five tips for making the whole breastfeeding-and-daycare thing work out:

1) Select a caregiver who is 101% supportive of your breastfeeding goals. Remember that no matter how much training and information a caregiver has, it won’t substitute for shared values and mutual respect. Be sure the caregiver or facility creates an atmosphere (both a physical atmosphere and a communication environment) that protects and supports breastfeeding.

2)  Know federal laws and state regulations in your state about breastfeeding and paid child care. Along with that, be aware of any special recognition or resources that childcare providers have or have access to that support breastfeeding.

3)  Clearly communicate your goals, preferences, and directives. If you are determined to have nothing but your milk offered to your child, be upfront and say so. If you want to breastfeed the baby when you arrive at the caregiver’s location, make sure they know not to offer the baby a full feeding minutes before you are scheduled to arrive. If a pacifier is okay but formula is not, be sure you make that clear. 

4)  Clearly write out your child’s needs, norms, and preferences. Remember that many childcare providers, even if they have undergone training, have had little experience with breastfed babies. Until now, they’ve had no experience with your baby! Ask them to keep brief notes about your child’s feeding experience each day. You’ll know how to best express and provide enough milk, and they will know how to best offer what your baby needs.  

5)  Predict and plan ahead for issues and problems that might happen that will be different from the at-home situation. The away-situation is fraught with many issues: traffic jams and late pick-ups, overfeeding, or the baby refusing an artificial nipple are just the tip of the iceberg of issues that require some advanced planning and problem-solving. If you have built a good relationship with your child care provider, you’ll be better able to overcome these challenges in caring for your baby.
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