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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 Amanda is a weekly column from Feed to Succeed dietitian Amanda Gordon. Have a question? Email Amanda and let her know or submit an “Ask Amanda” question for a future column.

Breast is best!

Congrats Gia Diakakis, RD on the birth of her first baby, Theodore Peter! What does a RD do in preparation of having a baby? She researches food, of course! For Gia, this meant completing a “Breastfeeding Basics” course at Evanston North Shore Hospital, which further increased her desire to breastfeed. She wrote the following prior to her maternity leave.

In working in the field of nutrition for the past 5 years, I have been made aware of the benefits of breast-feeding. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends to breast feed until 12 months of age. If you’re like me, it’s important to understand the rationale behind something before you jump on board.

So why is it so important to breast-feed and for a full year? To begin, breast milk, specifically colostrum, provides important antibodies to newborn infants and helps to build their immune system starting at birth. Infants also receive vital fatty acids such as docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which plays an important role in neurodevelopment. A mother’s breast milk is also specifically made to nourish the infant and provide appropriate proportions of calories, fluid, carbohydrates, fat, protein and micronutrients (for healthy newborn/infants). Lastly, studies show that children who breastfeed longer, drink water and consume vegetables and fruits more often at six years of age compared to infants who were not breastfed. They also consume less fruit juice and sugar sweetened beverages.

Much of this is common knowledge, but how about the impact breast milk and breast feeding has on intelligence? The American Academy of Pediatrics completed a study that looked at academic outcomes in children that were not breast fed, breast fed less than four months, breast fed four to seven months, and breast fed eight moths or more. They monitored their academic outcomes from 8-18 years of age. One of their findings was that those children who were breast fed eight months or more, had mean scores of 0.11-0.30 standard deviations higher than scores of those children who were never breast fed. They explained it well when they wrote,

“Increasing duration of breastfeeding was associated with small, detectable, and generally consistent increases in childhood cognitive outcomes from the age of 8 to the age of 18. Breastfed children had higher mean scores on tests of cognitive ability; performed better on standardized tests of reading, mathematics, and scholastic ability; were rated as performing better in reading and mathematics by their class teachers; had higher levels of achievement in school-leaving examinations; and less often left school without educational qualifications.”

I have been told numerous times how difficult breastfeeding can be and will be. I am going to keep these encouraging pieces of information with me when I feel like I want to give up (which I have been told will likely happen). Wish me luck!