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Daycare and Expressed Breast Milk (EBM)
~ A Message Board Archive

From Acorn ~ What would you look for at a daycare if you're going to be using EBM? I definitely plan on breastfeeding, but we will be using daycare full time. I've only visited two so far. Both assumed formula until I asked about EBM. Both places said that they've had babies on EBM (including right now). One place had a freezer and were willing to keep frozen EBM on hand, which seemed great. The other just has a fridge and you bring filled bottles for the day. Would that work or is there going to be problems with wasting EBM? What sort of options do people have and what are the pros/cons of them? Thanks!

From charlie'smom ~ Good for you for looking ahead! I work full time and pump 3 times at work and dump from my PIS into Avent bottles. I combine pump sessions (some people say not to but I don't see why not). I fill 10 oz bottles and then the daycare provider just pours what she needs to into a small bottle and heats that up. This works great for me but some people have issues with mixing pump sessions and stuff but I haven't had any problems. The bonus is nothing goes to waste. What she doesn't need, I freeze in ziploc bags and take for those times when I didn't get to pump enough the day before etc.

From Huntersmommy ~ I pumped until my son was 18 months, so it can be done. As far as a daycare, I think at least getting one that is knowledgeable or willing to be taught about breast milk is important. Having one with a freezer and refrigerator is great because you can bring some frozen milk as a backup. But having a refrigerator is fine too. I think the trick is to get adjusted to how your baby does during the day. For instance, my son didn't drink much at daycare. He would nurse a lot when I was home and at night, but they had a time getting him to eat a bunch at daycare. If they've had breastfed babies before, that is a huge plus, but again, every baby is different. Some babies will suck down bottles of EBM because they can and because the caregivers will sometimes confuse the need to suck (which can be helped with a pacifier) and hunger. You really won't know how your baby will be until they've been there a couple of weeks. I think it's important that caregivers use lots of ways to calm a baby who is fussy before just immediately feeding them.

As for waste, I would make the bottles everyday and put no more than 4 ounces in each one. Sometimes I would vary them and put like two ounces in a couple, and four in a couple. That way, they don't waste anything. I also provided them with the sheets from Medela that talk about storing EBM. If I had leftover milk, they would use it the next day.

If they are open to working with you about breastfeeding, then that's a huge plus, especially if they are supportive of it. Also, a question to ask is if they will mind if you drop in sometimes to nurse your baby. (Even if you don't do this, it's a sign of whether they support it or not). Most don't care.

Another question to ask is whether or not they would feed your baby formula without your knowledge. You just never know. Also, how do they go about labeling and having space in the refrigerator for each child. Also, how do they warm up the bottles? My daycare provider used a crockpot, which worked great.

And don't worry, after the initial adjustment period, you and your daycare will have a great relationship.

From Laurisa ~ First start with small bottles, 2 oz each. Your state liscencing requirements outline what a daycare provider can and can't do. Make sure they never microwave breastmilk. They should have a crockpot or a bowl of warm water that they use.

If you have too many EBM bottles at the end of the day as long as the milk wasn't frozen it can stay in the fridge until the next day. Starting with small bottles helps ensure little is wasted.

From SonyaN ~ When I went back to work I used an in-home daycare provider so she had a freezer and fridge since it was her house. Each day I would send what I pumped the day before with the following exception. On Friday night I would freeze what I pumped that day and on Monday I would thaw breast milk for my son. So he had 'fresh' every day except Monday. I also kept an extra 4 oz at his daycare provider (in 2 - 2oz bags) frozen for just in case. Make sure they know the differences between storage (ie how long it is good for, how long it can be left out after warming, etc) and heating breast milk vs formula. My daycare provider was pretty good at making sure to use the ones I requested first, etc

From DianeF1 ~ I can't stress enought how important it is to have a daycare provider who is sensitive to the breastfeeding mom. I have a great daycare provider who would do things like hold Ethan off if I was within a few minutes of getting there. Nothing like picking up a child ready to nurse him and he's just been fed! Lucky for me my daycare provider breastfed all her kids so she was "all over" helping me out.

Stress the "no microwave" --- my daycare provider would put water in a cup - nuke the water - then put the bottle in the warmed water.

I sent small bottles (4oz) in the beginning then bumped the size (6-8oz) as he grew older.

My sitter had a few frozen dated bottles that she used to make cereal and in case of a growth spurt (or if I worked late-rare). Ethan's normal EBM was fresh from the day before - every evening I would put new in her fridge and on Friday I would put it in her freezer for Monday.

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