If you are passionate about it, it is very important to have childcare to support your breastfeeding. And just like there are many opinions on feeding babies, there are many different approaches and attitudes that childcare providers take on supporting breastfeeding.
Start off on the right foot by focusing on your breastfeeding goals while looking for a childcare provider for your family. Here are some tips as you conduct your search for the perfect provider.
Finding childcare support your breastfeeding: asking the right interview questions
When it comes to discussing breastfeeding, it is important to remember that asking “yes” or “no” questions won’t always get you to the answers you’re looking for. Instead, you may want to ask a question like:
- Have you ever supported a breastfeeding parent? If so, can you tell me a problem you ran into and how you and the mother solved it?
- What are three things you feel work best for breastfeeding mothers leaving their children with a nanny or daycare?
- How do you feel about supporting a breastfeeding parent?
- What do you know about breastfeeding and a parent returning to work?
If a nanny doesn’t have experience working with a breastfeeding mother, it doesn't mean you need to move on. But you want to know that they will support you, so in that case, ask about their feelings around breastfeeding or if they have any friends or relatives who have breastfed and how they might have supported or not supported them. Daycares, on the other hand, should be able to provide encouraging evidence that they are used to working with breastfeeding parents.
Daycare: what to look for
Not all daycare centers are created equally when it comes to supporting parent’s needs and goals around what milk to provide a child. However, many will be wonderfully supportive and give you a lot of peace of mind as you return to work.
Here are some important things to look out for during your visits:
- Is there a place for parents to breastfeed? Sometimes it is very helpful to do a final feed before you leave the center in the morning. The space that the daycare has set aside for this will tell you a lot.
- How many little ones are being fed during your visit? Breastfeeding experts recommend that daycares do not overfeed babies. The number of bottles out when you arrive is something to note.
- Where is the expressed milk stored? How organized is the area? How clean? How are things labeled?
- What does the center do with unused milk?
Also, keep in mind the general attitude the childcare has about supporting your breastfeeding and how knowledgeable they are right off the bat. While you still need the evidence to back up what they say, their ability to speak easily about the topic will be a great indication of how much experience they have.
Making a smooth transition with your childcare provider
- To make sure your childcare supports your breastfeeding, talk to them about how hard it is for you to replace the milk they use every day. Most people, unless they have pumped at work themselves, don’t know how much goes into replenishing your supply.
- Set up bottles with 3 or 4 ounces during the day. If you are working with a nanny, let them know there is an emergency supply in the freezer but it’s just for that, emergencies.
- Teach your care provider about paced feeding. For a great 101 guide that may help you to explain the process to your childcare provider, download this blog post by KellyMom.
- Teach your care provider soothing techniques you have used in the past, other than breastfeeding, that work.
- And remember, this is your baby and your family - don’t let people talk you into making any decision you don’t feel comfortable with. This can be especially helpful to keep in mind with daycares that begin to suggest moving to cow’s milk after 12-months.