Maternity leave is one of the most exciting periods during a mother’s life. You have just given birth to your little bundle of joy and now you’re able to be with them at all times carefully watching every little thing they do and making sure they are healthy, rested, happy and of course, fed.
Talking about feeding, When maternity leave is up and it’s time for mothers to go back to work or to their usual duties, feeding is one of their biggest concerns.
When mothers have to go back to work they often opt for putting their children into daycare. For the mothers of those babies who are still being breastfed this can be a bit scary.
You might even ask yourself, can I send my child into daycare if they’re still breastfeeding? The answer is yes. Nowadays many daycares accept children as young as newborns, many of those children still drink breast milk. But how is this possible? Well, it’s a process that takes organization but it’s not impossible. It’s all about preparing in advance.
Whether you’re a breastfeeding or formula-feeding mother you must be familiar with baby bottles. Baby bottles aren’t necessarily only for formula-fed babies, many babies who drink breast milk are also fed from a bottle. This is possible thanks to mothers expressing their breast milk and putting the content into a baby bottle.
Doing this is particularly helpful when you have to feed your baby outside and breastfeeding might be difficult or when you’re going to be away from your baby for some time. In the case of daycare, you can always talk to the carer about your baby’s feeding needs and instruct them on what to do.
When you send your baby to daycare you can always pack the bottles of milk your baby’s going to consume and handing them to the responsive childminder. However, before doing any of this, it’s important for you to be informed about how to do this.
How do you prepare bottles for daycare?
Whether you’re formula-feeding your baby or you give them breast milk it is most likely that when you send your child to daycare you are going to be in charge of preparing their bottles and sending them to daycare with them.
Many parents who formula-feed might wonder why do they have to send their children to daycare with prepared bottles when sending them with a tin of formula and a sterilized bottle might be simpler?
Well, this is because it is a rule in many daycares to feed the babies from the bottles they have been given by the responsible parent or carer.
This happens in order to avoid any sort of complications; daycare workers are legally liable for feeding infants correctly, they need to make sure the child drinks the right formula, the right amount, the right stage (baby/toddler), etc. That’s why some daycares will ask you to provide the milk your infant will later consume.
So how to prepare my child’s daycare bottle.
For formula-fed babies:
It is pretty much like the usual thing.
- Carefully wash the bottles.
- Sterilize the bottles.
- Boil water and then add it to the bottles. (Make sure it’s the right amount)
- Add the formula. (Always be sure you’re adding the correct amount)
- Shake the bottle.
- Keep the bottle refrigerated at all times. While at home, keep it in the fridge, on the way to daycare make sure the bottles are in a bottle cooler or in an insulated bottle bag.
For Breastfed babies:
- Carefully wash and sterilize the bottles.
- Express your milk. There are different ways to do so, you can use a manual pump, an electric pump or do it with the hand express method.
- Put the milk on the bottle.
- Seal the bottles and refrigerate until you go to daycare.
- Take the bottles to daycare in a bottle cooler or insulated bottle bag. It needs to be refrigerated at all times.
There are some mothers that instead of putting their breast milk directly in the bottles, put the milk in a special breast milk storage bag.
This method is particularly good when you want to have milk ready in advance, this is good in the case that one day you don’t have enough time to express or you couldn’t express the desired quantity.
Both methods, putting the breast milk directly in the bottles or in the bag are good and it is up to each person which method to follow.
If the milk you’re going to send to daycare is milk that has previously been stored in the freezer, the process is similar to the one mentioned above, it just has some extra steps:
- Defrost the milk in advance.
- Shake the bags.
- Pour the milk on the recently washed and sterilized bottles.
- Make sure you’re pouring the right amount into each bottle.
The best way to defrost breast milk is to slowly defrost it in the refrigerator. Then, when it is about to be used, you can defrost it or warm it up by putting the bottle in a jug of warm water or running warm water on it.
Always make sure to label and date the bags of milk so you know when is it from.
And measure sure each bottle is labeled before taking it to daycare.
How long can breast milk that has been put into breast milk storage bags or special containers be stored?
According to the NHS (National Health Service of the UK), you can store milk in the refrigerator for up to 8 days at 4C or lower. If you are unsure of the temperature of your refrigerator, or it is higher than 4C, use it within 3 days. You can also store it for 2 weeks in the ice compartment of a refrigerator. Is it also possible to store for up to 6 months in a freezer, if it is -18C or lower.
If you’re unsure about the refrigerator’s temperature there are refrigerator thermometers that can be bought online.
Amir Refrigerator thermometer (Link to Amazon)
Refrigerator Fridge Thermometer by Unigear (Link to Amazon)
NOTE: It is recommendable to freeze breast milk bags.
How much breast milk will my baby need for daycare?
Breastfed babies usually consume smaller quantities of milk in comparison to formula-fed babies. According to research conducted by the American Academy of Pediatrics exclusively breastfed babies will take an average of 25 oz (750 mL) per day between the ages of 1 month and 6 months.
Milk intake usually stays the same between one and six months when babies normally start eating solids. It is possible that different babies might take different amounts of milk, a typical range of milk intake is 19-30 oz per day (570-900 mL per day).
Depending on the number of times your baby feeds every day, you can calculate the amount of milk that needs to be expressed per bottle/ per feed.
You need to think about how long you’re going to spend away from your child, half a day or a full day of work and send them the right amount of bottles they need.
This requires paying attention to how many times does your baby feed and how frequently. There are some breastfeeding calculators online that can help you determine the number of feedings per day that your baby needs.
Bottle Labels for Daycare with Date
Bottles sent to daycare need to be labeled. It is important for every bottle to have the name of your child, (name and last name preferred) so that daycare workers give the right bottle to the right child, and the date so they know when it was from. You can buy different stick-on label designs on different websites, including on Amazon.
You can find them on Amazon by typing baby bottle labels, labels for daycare bottles, personal write-on labels, label stickers, waterproof label stickers, etc. Using them, it’s very simple and they are easy to remove.
Labels can also be used at home when breast milk is stored. In this case, it’s recommendable to write the date when the milk was expressed on and put into the fridge or freezer.
The Original Write & Reuse Baby Bottle Labels for Daycare by Pumpkin Doodle:
Baby Bottle Labels for Daycare, 6 Pcs (Multi-Color) by Stretchy Bear
Tot Tots-The Fastest- Baby Bottle Label Bands for Daycare by Tot Tots
Bottles for Daycare Tips
- When you store milk at home write the date when it was expressed from.
- Every bottle that is sent to daycare must have the child’s name and date of when it is to be consumed to avoid confusion.
- Make sure breast milk is always refrigerated up until the point when it’s going to be consumed.
- When Storing breast milk in bags putting smaller quantities to help avoid waste.
- If your baby has an intolerance, suffers from colic or any other digestive issue make sure to inform the daycare workers.
- Make sure you have enough bottles to send each day.
How do I make sure my breast milk supply won’t get affected?
If you want to keep your milk supply up while working, it is important for you to express as often as needed. Expressing helps you to maintain your milk production when separated from your baby. Another important thing is to try to breastfeed your baby when you’re with them.
Why is it not recommended to use microwaves to warm the milk?
Using a microwave can cause hot spots, which can burn the baby’s mouth.