As a working mom of three breastfed children, I am often asked how I managed to continue nursing even when my babies were in daycare. Many care providers are more familiar with formula-fed infants, but a teenaged babysitter who sits on date nights, in-home nannies, and even grandparents can often be unsure of how caring for a breastfed baby might be different from caring for a formula-fed baby.
Here are some tips to help you, your care provider, and your baby find the right balance for breastfeeding.
Offer the breast if possible. Some employers provide on-site daycare and this can help tremendously. Moms can visit and nurse the baby on breaks from work. This cuts down on the pumping sessions during the day and provides an opportunity for bonding between mom and baby.
Pack the bottles sparingly at first. The only thing worse than spilled breastmilk is wasted breastmilk. If you know your baby can take 24 ounces of breastmilk in one day, resist the urge to pack three 8-ounce bottles. The care provider will need to warm up 8-ounces every time they think your baby is ready to take a bottle, and sometimes the baby will only want to take 2-4 ounces of the bottle and then they need to discard the remaining breastmilk. Pack the bottles in 4-ounce increments and allow the care provider to use them more frequently.
Specify the Schedule. Let them know when and how much the baby should be fed. Sometimes breastfed babies are overfed breastmilk because they fuss or cry. Remind your provider that breastfeeding is not only about food but comfort and cuddles also come with cozy times with mom. Encourage the provider to offer more breastmilk only after other options have been exercised. Examples could be walking, rocking, cuddling, bouncing, or singing. Also, if you plan to breastfeed after pick-up, request that no bottles be offered after a certain time so that baby will be hungry when you are reunited.
Trust Your Sitter. Your care provider will develop a very special bond with your baby. He or she is not replacing you in your baby’s life, but seeing special smiles and catching cozy moments can create uncomfortable feelings. Allow them to develop a warm relationship because if our children cannot be with us, they should still be with people who love and care for them in wonderful ways.
For additional tips about breastfeeding, breast pumping, and caring for the breastfed baby, visit momspumphere.com.
Kim Harrison is co-founder of Moms Pump Here. Moms Pump Here is an app that helps nursing mothers locate a safe and private place to breastfeed or breastpump. Download her Moms Pump here app today!