Preschooler enjoying playing with his airplane toy

Breast pumps, breast milk policies, and feeding schedules: preparing for daycare

Priority No. 1 is to clearly communicate with childcare providers.

Dropping your little one off at daycare for the first time is bound to be stressful for new moms. It’s an emotional time, the first sign that your baby is growing up. It also requires some logistical planning, especially if you want to continue feeding them breast milk. Not every childcare provider is versed in the proper storage and handling of breast milk, so your first priority when preparing for daycare is establishing clear communication when it comes to your baby’s care and feeding.

Ask childcare providers questions about their feeding policies and practices.

Your childcare provider will play a critical support role as your child grows and develops, so it’s important to ask questions before you commit. If you want to continue feeding your child breast milk, you should specifically ask about their breast milk feeding experience and practices, including:

  • What breast milk storage guidelines do they follow to ensure safe storage and feeding?
  • What organizational system do they use for safely storing and using labeled breast milk?
  • How do they prefer breast milk to be delivered, e.g. in bottles, bags, or other containers?
  • Do they provide freezer storage for frozen milk?
  • How does the daycare warm bottles, i.e., bottle-warmer (good) or microwave (not so good)?
  • How does the staff clean bottles and nipples?

Make life easier for you and the daycare with a little planning.

Different daycares have different policies regarding the handling of breast milk, but every daycare will appreciate a mom who stores breast milk in single-serving portions. Be sure to label your breast milk containers with your baby’s name and the date you expressed the milk to ensure proper usage. Finally, stash your breast milk in a cooler bag with ice packs to keep it safe on the commute between the daycare center and home.

Create two schedules: one for feeding and one for pumping.

If you plan to continue breastfeeding, both you and baby will need to stay on a schedule when you’re apart. Fortunately, if you’ve established a breastfeeding and pumping routine already, it’s just a matter of formalizing the routine in a schedule. Provide one feeding schedule to the daycare and keep one for yourself as a reminder of when to pump.

During those first lonely days at home, you may think you won’t need reminders to pump. However, once you get used to the new arrangement, you’ll be filling your time with other activities. When that happens, even the most conscientious mom can miss a pumping session or two. That can spell trouble for your breast milk feeding plan as maintaining your pumping schedule is important to maintain your milk supply.

Invest in a hands-free pump and a nursing bra.

With baby happily exploring the new world of daycare, you’ve got time for other pursuits: start a business, make art, go for a hike – the sky is the limit now that you have a few hours of free time. Okay. Maybe those are ambitious goals, but you’re definitely going to be doing things while your baby is away. To make doing things easier, get a hands-free pump like the Elvie Stride or the Willow Go. Pair one of these wearable pumps with a comfy nursing bra, and you can pump and run, shop, read, play – whatever you want to do!

We’re here to help you prep for daycare.

Milk N Mamas Baby is owned and operated by moms, so we understand the fears and anxieties that go hand in hand with your first daycare experience. If you need help deciding on a pump, breast milk supplies, or coolers for toting milk containers, get in touch. We’re here for you.