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Supporting Breastfeeding Moms: Considerations When Choosing Childcare Providers


mother sitting on a bed and breastfeeding baby

Supporting breastfeeding moms as they transition back to work is crucial for ensuring the well-being of both the mom and their new baby. Support should come from employers, partners, medical professionals, and at times most importantly, their chosen childcare providers. Regardless of the childcare option chosen—whether it's a daycare, nanny, or relative—they play an instrumental role in providing essential support to working mothers who breastfeed.


Breastfeeding moms who want to continue breastfeeding while their baby is in childcare face many barriers, especially at work, so if you want to continue breastfeeding here are some crucial things to look for in a potential childcare provider:


  1. Policies, Policies, Policies: Ask about a childcare provider’s policies or protocols related to breastfeeding and pumping. If they have a policy where they refuse to serve or store breastmilk, that could be a hard stop.

  2. Dedicated Feeding Areas: For daycare programs, is there a comfortable and private space for breastfeeding and pumping?

  3. Safe Milk Storage: In the context of daycare programs, ensure there is proper storage and protocols for storing breastmilk. Look for classroom refrigerators and appropriately labeled bottles, complete with the child's name and the expression date. Also, some programs will not accept frozen breastmilk, so ensure you ask about this if this is important to you.

  4. Professionally Trained & Supportive Caregivers: Whether you are sending your child to a daycare, utilizing a nanny, or relying on relative care, it is important for them to be educated about breastfeeding, pumping, and handling breast milk. This includes knowledge of feeding time, proper hygiene, and storage practices.

  5. Lactation Consulting Expertise: Some daycares and in-home care providers are trained lactation consultants. Lactation consultants are a great resource to provide specific guidance to moms navigating a changing feeding schedule.


Overall, a childcare provider who is knowledgeable about handling, storage, and feeding of breast milk and supportive of breastfeeding can make it possible for moms to continue to breastfeed when returning to work. Most importantly, we should all have respect for any mom’s choice to breastfeed, supplement with formula, or use just formula. The key is for moms to have a choice and to support her decision without judgment.


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