Not all mothers have the option to stay at home with their baby for an extended period or to leave them with someone close and trustworthy while they go to work. Therefore, if you are planning to return to work after you had your baby, chances are that you will be looking into leaving them at a daycare near you.
If that is the case, providing breastmilk for your child while in a daycare will be one of your primary concerns as a nursing mother. You can choose to cover your baby’s meals with breastmilk or with formula meals. Either way, you will be responsible for the bottles of food you provide for them.
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How many breast milk bottles to send to daycare?
The general rule says that you should send a minimum of 13.5 ounces of breastmilk which can be stored in 2 regular-sized bottles. This equals roughly 400 ml of milk for a day of daycare. This rule applies to babies between 1 month and 6 months old.
- You will have a good idea about how much your baby eats and how often. However, it is also essential to give this type of information to the daycare staff to accommodate your child in the best way possible.
- Your baby will drink a minimum of 1.5 ounces per hour. This doesn’t mean that they will be fed every hour, but it is an important measurement to decide in an easy way how much milk to send them for one day at the daycare.
- Multiply 1.5 ounces with the number of hours your baby will spend at the daycare. For example, if they spend nine hours at the daycare each day, you will have to prepare 13.5 ounces of milk.
- According to how much they eat, you will also have to adjust the quantity of breastmilk you provide for your baby while they are at the daycare. All babies are different, and you will not have to follow the standards unless your child is happy with them.
How to prepare your breastmilk for daycare?
Specific tips will make your transition from staying at home and nursing your baby to the daycare phase a lot easier. Remember that you will have to double the process if you have twins to leave at the daycare. This means you will have to double the breastmilk quantity and the number of bottles you prepare. Here is what you should consider when you prepare the bottles of breastmilk for your child!
A) Choose the suitable bottles you want to use
It will make a big difference to introduce bottle meals to your baby before daycare days come.
- If you get your baby used to direct feedings with no bottles, they will adjust a lot harder to a bottle when a stranger feeds them. By introducing the bottle meals from home, you reduce the risk of your baby refusing the meals at the daycare.
- Use the same bottle you used at home or at least the same type of bottle. The market offers a wide variety of bottles with different shapes and nipples. But you want your baby to be familiar with the bottle they get at the daycare too.
- If you purchase new bottles, try to get them as close to the ones you already have as possible. Getting extra bottles will also be helpful as they might get lost at the daycare too.
B) Get familiar with the guidelines of your daycare
Each daycare comes with specific guidelines and policies that mothers should be familiar with. For instance, you will have to label the bottles in a certain way and put both your name and your baby’s name on them.
- Also, some daycares will not feed the baby more than once from the same bottle. So, you might have to put the right amount of breastmilk in each bottle to cover one meal.
- Daycares throw away formula that is not used during feedings. If you know the proper guidelines, you will save yourself from a lot of frustration.
- Another critical aspect you need to check regarding the daycare policy is if they feed on demand or have set feeding hours. Knowing this will help you plan your baby’s meals better and with no struggle.
C) Decide on the quantity of breastmilk you will send to the daycare
How much breastmilk you will give for a day of daycare is one of the most important questions you might have.
- If you are aware of the daycare policy, it will be easier to decide on the quantity of milk you provide and how much of it you put in one bottle as well.
- If you breastfed your baby for at least a few weeks, you would be familiar with the amount of milk they drink in one feeding. This will help you decide the quantity of milk to put in one bottle if your daycare serves them a bottle per feeding.
- Follow the standard guidelines but don’t get stuck in them because each baby is different, and they might not eat the same amount.
D) Prepare your breastmilk for daycare
When you prepare your breastmilk, it will matter if you pump it fresh or use frozen milk.
- Pumping your milk fresh might seem the best option, but it is not always the most convenient. However, if you don’t have time to stock on your breastmilk in advance, you can start pumping a few days before daycare starts and store the breastmilk in the fridge.
- If you use frozen milk, you will naturally have to defrost it before portioning it in the daycare’s bottles. Defrost it overnight in the fridge and not on the counter or in the microwave because you will reduce the nutrients in your breastmilk if you do that.
- It is best to start storing breastmilk for daycare a few weeks in advance because once you start work, chances are that you will not be able to pump as much as you do when you are at home.
- So, having enough breastmilk for at least the first month of daycare will help you, and it will make a big difference in this transition.
- Before preparing the breastmilk bottles for the daycare, always make sure you wash your hands and sterilize or clean the bottles or milk bags you use.
- Pour the amount of milk in each bottle, and make sure you seal the bottles properly. It is also vital that you check if the bottles or bags will leak, so make sure you turn them upside down to verify if they are sealed correctly.
- Don’t forget to put the appropriate label on each bottle and pack them in a bag or secured container to be easy to store at the daycare.
The transition from nursing at home to leaving your baby at the daycare is not the smoothest one by any means. But if you have all the information down and are familiar with the policy, it will be easier for both you and your little one.
So, make sure you get as many aspects as you can be organized before the first day of daycare because preparation is essential. Thinking ahead will help you be ready for any challenges that might appear in this process.