Deciding among childcare options is a particularly tough decision for many mothers, especially for a first child. In some instances, the child's parents arrange work schedules so that one or the other is available to stay home with the baby. Others are able to ask a grandparent or other trusted family member to provide care. When neither is possible, you will want to select a childcare provider who is supportive of your efforts to breastfeed.
Another consideration is the convenience of the location of the childcare provider to your workplace. Although in-home childcare has its advantages, some mothers find a care provider close enough to their work sites that they can drop in during work breaks or at lunchtime to breastfeed. Some mothers are able to have their care provider bring the infant to them at work. When the commute time between the place where childcare is provided and the workplace is minimized, you and your baby spend less time apart and you are able to make time for more direct breastfeeding (so fewer pumping sessions may be needed).
The following are some questions you may want to ask candidates when choosing a care provider for your breastfed child:
- Are they familiar with proper breast milk storage, thawing, and proper warming of breast milk?
- Do they have refrigerators or freezers where your breast milk can be stored for later use?
- What is the method for feeding young babies? Is a baby held closely for bottle feedings? Young babies cannot be expected to hold a bottle, and propping bottles is not safe or appropriate. Propping is associated with choking and increasing the risk of ear infections. Also, the social interaction during feedings/mealtime can be as important as obtaining food.
- If you plan for your baby to be fed by an alternative feeding method, such as cup-feeding, finger-feeding, or syringe-feeding, inquire about the care provider's ability and willingness to continue this practice when your child is in this type of care.
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