Breastmilk and Daycare: Not just how much, but how?

Breastmilk and Daycare: Not just how much, but how

Heading back to work while breastfeeding is no doubt a challenge. In this week’s kids’ nutrition Ask Amanda column, pediatric dietitian Amanda Gordon offers some ideas to ease into bottle feeding at day care while still breastfeeding.

Q: Hi Amanda, my breastfed daughter is 5 months old. She started daycare one month ago, and I pump and send breastmilk bottles to daycare. Now daycare is saying that she wants more and that I am not sending enough breastmilk. They also say she spits up there. She doesn’t seem to do this at home and rarely seems hungry right after breastfeeding. 

A: It might be good idea to talk to daycare about how they are feeding her, in addition to the amount.  Day care centers are busy places and often have babies on schedules for eating – I remember this well from when my children were in daycare! Schedules can be a good thing, but make sure that the daycare center is paying attention to your daughter’s cues and when she is hungry.  I would also make sure that the daycare center is using paced-bottle feeding, which mimics breastfeeding and how your daughter is used to eating.  A video can be helpful to watch.  A slower flow bottle nipple will also increase the time that the feeds take, which may help her feel full as well. 

If she is fussy right after eating, it might not be hunger. Make sure they are getting good burps out of her, then wait 20 minutes to see if she really wants more.  You could always send one or two more bottles just with 1-2 ounces, so that they don’t waste any breastmilk!

Ask the Dietitian, a weekly column from Feed to Succeed dietitian Amanda Gordon (2016-2022).