Anxiety about how daycare will change our breastfeeding relationship

I'm going back to work in a week and LO is starting daycare. She will be a few days short of 4 months old. We had a ton of problems in the beginning due to a tongue tie and her learning to suck properly. I exclusively pumped for a couple of weeks very early long while we worked with a speech therapist, and then after I went back to the breast, DH still gave LO usually 1 breast milk bottle a day to give me a break. Everything fell into place between 6-8 weeks, breastfeeding got so much easier, and I slowly stopped pumping very often and just fed her from the breast all the time. So in the last 2 months, I have fed her from the breast only, with the exception of once or twice. After having such a difficult time in the beginning, and then pulling through, the last 2 months have been amazing. I love our breastfeeding relationship and the bonding time and I can't imagine my life without it.

In addition to the general anxiety I have just about taking her to daycare and not being with her all day, I am feeling additional anxiety just about breastfeeding. I can't imagine missing most of her daytime feedings. It makes me very sad just thinking about it. I'm also terrified that something about the transition will negatively impact our ability to breastfeed. The daycare has expressed their willingness to accommodate as much as they could, and they even offered to research paced bottle feeding after I brought it up. But I also know they have other babies to take care of and it's unrealistic for me to think they'll spend a lot more time trying to feed her than the other babies.

So I guess I'm looking for support from other breastfeeding mommas who have continued to make it work after starting daycare. I would appreciate any suggestions on how to make it through this transition with the most success, and not let my anxiety get the best of me. Thanks in advance and sorry about the long post.

Re: Anxiety about how daycare will change our breastfeeding relationship

  • Focus on the fact that you will still have wkds together. I had to go back to work very early (like when my LO was 3wks bc I work for my fam business) LO takes 2 bottles while I worked and I missed those feedings but knowing there was always the wkd helped a lot so I focused on the pos not the neg (me being at work missing 2 feedings) I also think he is happy to see me at the end of the day bc he knew he'd get to nurse
  • Like PP said focus on the positives, and know that this transition is harder for you than LO.
    Once LO sees your back, that smile will warm your heart. I know it's hard but you both will adjust.
    The time I take to pump at work I use to relax and think of my LO. It helps me to break up the day, as I used to never take breaks before.
    You got this!
    [Deleted User]
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  • I second what PP said about no bottles right before you Get there for pick up. Or make one small bottle for a hold baby over in case of emergency thing. I would call/text if I was early so I could nurse and save milk. You will both learn how to adjust and be just fine! Hugs mama!


    -My step-daughter is 12 years old.

    -BFP #1 on 9/2/12, D&C 10/18/12 no heartbeat on US @ 10 weeks.

    -BFP #2 on 1/7/13, R was born on 9/22/13 via C-Section

    Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker
  • Your post tugs at my heart strings! I am a full time working breastfeeding mama. My babe is 6.5 months old. Prior to coming back to work from a 3 month maternity leave my babe was used to getting one bottle of BM a day from her daddy before bedtime. While she's at DC, she gets 2-3 bottles  of BM depending on how much she naps. 

    For us, I can tell you our breastfeeding relationship is just as strong as it ever was. I nurse her however much she wants from 4:30 on and overnight. I pump 3 times while I'm at work. We've had zero issues with her preferring or refusing a bottle or whatnot. I do agree with PP, her sleep has pretty much been wonky ever since I went back to work due to developmental leaps and sicknesses....and we end up nursing a lot more overnight than we used to. So I guess I should call myself a full time working breastfeeding zombie mama. 

    Now that I'm 3.5 months into being a working mama and am mostly used to it, I'd say hands down the worst part is the sicknesses she brings home from daycare. Her and I have been constantly sick. Besides that, the first two months or so were rough and emotional but things progressively have gotten easier, although I still have my bad days. Going back the first week was probably the hardest thing I've done in my life so far. Give yourself and your babe time to adjust and don't make any crazy decisions until about 3 months have passed I'd say. Until then, put your head down, get through it, and accentuate the positives.
  • I went back to work when my guy was 6 weeks. I went FT and he has 4 bottles while I'm gone. He's 4 months old today, and he still prefers the breast, though he will take a bottle no problem. This transition isn't always a hard one, though I do think it depends on each baby.

    I nurse in the morning before we leave and in the evenings and weekends and I don't feel like it's changed our relationship at all. Just trying to show you it can work, and it can work well!
    Mrs. H
    Crohn's Dx: August 2008
    Endometriosis Dx: May 2010
    Married: 05/19/2012
    TTC #1: June 2013
    BFP: December 2013
    DS: Born 08/29/2014
    TTC #2: July 2015

    BFP #2: September 25, 2015

  • I would nurse right up until DH put her in the car to take to DC and would nurse her immediately when I got her home. I know my DC had a nursing room available if I wanted it, but since DC was only 5 minutes from my house, it was never an issue for her to wait until we got home. One thing to keep in mind is that your LO will spend a lot of time sleeping at DC too. I used to focus on that, and it somehow made me feel less guilty about missing the time (I wouldn't be interacting with her then anyway). We had no issues going between bottles & BF. GL!

    **DD1 - 7/9/98**

    **DS - 11/9/00**

    **DD2 - 4/30/13**

  • PPs have given great advice, so I just wanted to add my encouragement and support.  It may take a couple weeks for you to get into a routine that works for you and LO, but you'll get it eventually.  Don't be afraid to talk to the caregivers to get their input and make sure you are all on the same page when it comes to feeding your LO.  My LO (who had milk transfer issues and weight gain problems for the first ~3 months) started day care when she was 6 months old.  She is now 16 months old and still nurses twice a day (wake-up and bedtime).  I love my quiet time with her at the beginning and end of each day.  GL!

    Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker


  • Thanks everyone. I really needed to hear (read) all that. I got out some frozen breast milk last night and let DH give her a bottle while I pumped since it's been a while, and she did fine. We're going to keep giving her at least one each day this week.
    I commute to work in a different county (about a 30 minute drive), and LO will be going to daycare near where I work. My daycare center is pretty small so I don't know that they have anywhere that I could nurse (although I still can ask), but my office is about half a mile away, so I can always go there. I might come to town early and feed her at my office before I take her in. And the afternoons will be tough to juggle also because I have to figure out when to feed her in terms of the drive home. It's probably going to take a while to figure out what exactly works.
    [Deleted User]
  • Like so many others have said, you'll be having a harder time than LO with the transition. My LO started daycare full time at 12 weeks. She initially didn't take bottles well, but after a couple of weeks she adjusted to taking a bottle. She would nurse more at night too especially with growth spurts. Good luck!
  • Just wanted to offer my experience. My LO had a tongue tie that was fixed at 6 weeks too so we hit our breastfeeding stride at about 8 weeks. Then I went back to work at 10 weeks. She really only started taking a bottle at 7 or 8 weeks too. I made sure to send the slowest nipples to daycare, I asked them to do paced bottle feeding, but know they didn't. What really helped was that they treated breastmilk diff than formula and wouldn't just throw out if she started and didn't finish. Off to the fridge it went for the next feeding, so we never wasted any. I can't say daycare negatively affected our breastfeeding relationship at all. Good luck!
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