Find breastfeeding and chestfeeding help HERE.
 

How to choose a breastfeeding-friendly childcare provider

Going back to work and leaving your baby in someone else’s care can be one of the most difficult parts of returning to work. Choosing the right person and right setting takes care. You want to find a setting that will provide the kind of care and attention you would give. You want a setting that respects breastfeeding and your expressed breastmilk.  This may take some homework on your part. Visits to the locations you are considering will be important. Here are some things to consider:

IN HOME CARE WITH A FAMILY MEMBER, CLOSE FRIEND, OR NANNY

  • This allows your baby to stay in your home, where all is familiar.
  • It works best with someone the baby already knows or who is willing to come to your home several times before your return date.
  • Do they have experience with breastfed children and the proper storage and preparation of breastmilk for feedings?

IN A PRIVATE HOME

  • Look for a low adult-child ratio and ideally with yours as the only infant.
  • Preferably with family or a friend who the child already knows
  • If a stranger, look for a licensed homecare.
  • Ask about their background in child care, child development.
  • Do they have experience with breastfed children and the proper storage and preparation of breastmilk for feedings?
  • Look for an “open door” policy where you can stop in without prior notice.
  • Do a home inspection before making your decision.
  • Be aware of possible allergens, like pets, that could be present.
  • Non-smoking – by anyone entering the home.
  • You can choose a setting close to your work so that you can go to baby easily if needed.

IN A COMMERCIAL DAY CARE

  • Look for low child-adult ratio.
  • Look for low staff turnover so that your baby has consistency with who cares for them.
  • Look for a licensed facility.
  • Do they have experience with breastfed children and the proper storage and preparation of breastmilk for feedings?
  • What experience, education, and training does staff have?
  • Look for an “open door”
  • Do an onsite inspection.
  • Ask about space onsite for breastfeeding before leaving and when picking up your baby.
  • You can choose a setting close to your work so that you can go to baby easily if needed.
  • If your state or community has a recognition program for Breastfeeding Friendly Child Care facilities, this might be a good place to start your search. Check with your state/local breastfeeding coalition.

When you have decided who will care for your baby while you are separated, plan to ease into the situation. If the baby will be cared for in your home, have that person come to your home several days a week. You can gradually increase their interactions with the baby while you are still present and then take short trips out of the house. This helps allow your baby to get to know them better and the caregiver to know your baby, too. If the baby will be going to a location outside your home, arrange to spend time with your baby in that location so that the place and the people caring for your baby will be familiar.

No matter what setting you choose for child care while you are working, it will be helpful if you provide a journal of your baby’s typical day – feedings, naps, alert/play times, baby’s cues for feedings, etc.

Note: Many parents experience a perceived drop in supply due to the caregiver not reading baby’s cues properly and offering bottles at times that baby is not truly ready to feed. This can cause smaller feedings, milk not fully consumed, milk being tossed, and baby being hungry again sooner, which may lead to the day care going through your regular supply and into any extra bottles you may have stored there. It helps to provide your milk in smaller servings (2oz or less) and encourage the caregiver to use paced feeding. A caregiver should have more tools for soothing your baby than just offering your milk. Babywearing and cuddles are helpful tools for any caregiver.

RESOURCES

Bottles and Paced Bottle Feeding, LLLI

Read more about returning to work on our Working and Breastfeeding page.

Read more about pumping on our Pumping Milk page.

Read more about how to store milk on our Storing Human Milk page.

How can my caregiver calm my breastfed baby?, LLL USA Facebook

How do I pick a breastfeeding-friendly daycare?, LLL USA Facebook

How can my care provider get my baby to nap without nursing?, LLL USA Facebook

 

IS YOUR CONCERN OR QUESTION NOT COVERED HERE?

Please contact a local LLL Leader with your specific questions.

Medical questions and legal questions should be directed to appropriate health care and legal professionals.

 

Page updated February 2020

Resource adapted from LLLI materials.