Need Tips! Getting Ready for Daycare — The Bump
Babies: 0 - 3 Months

Need Tips! Getting Ready for Daycare

I'm a FTM, and my daughter will be starting daycare in 2 weeks, when she's 12 weeks old.

I've been breastfeeding, and she's been getting on average one bottle (about 4 oz usually) of pumped milk per day from my husband in the evenings. I've been pumping daily and have been able to build up a small supply in the freezer. I also hope to keep being able to pump enough while I'm at work to avoid needing to supplement with formula, but I don't yet know how much is "enough". 

She's also not really on any sort of feeding schedule, since I feed her on demand. Some days, she'll go 3 hours between feedings, other times, only an hour and a half. 

Long story short, my questions are:

1. How do I make a best guess about how much milk to send with to daycare each day, since I'm not sure how much she's actually eating when on the breast? Should I also get formula, just in case she goes through all of the breast milk? 

2. Should I try to get her on a schedule these next 2 weeks, or just keep feeding her on demand? 

I'm having nightmares about her screaming all day at daycare when she doesn't get enough to eat! 

Re: Need Tips! Getting Ready for Daycare

  • Oh dear, going back to work is stressful enough without this fear. Just know that you are going to get through this! 
    My LO was very similar to your situation at this age (now almost 9 months) with EBF on demand and no schedule, except she did not take a bottle consistently before going to daycare so I can very much relate to thar panicked idea of my baby starving at daycare because I was so afraid she would not take the bottle.

    For your questions, I would not attempt any kind of a schedule in the short period before your LO starts daycare. Unless it is something that is important to you. You can always see how your LO is doing and acting during the first weeks back at work and if there seems to be a need for less on demand BF for her or you, then you could always start working toward more structured feeding schedule.
    For milk amount, I don't have a huge supply but I've managed to keep up with her and have a small stash these 6 months of being back to work. I started out my first week of work part time because I was so nervous about how LO would fare with a bottle. I sent 2 3 oz bottles for a 5 hour period. The daycare ladies were great in keeping me updated about how she was doing and what they saw for amount needed based on her cues. When I went back FT, I started with 4 bottles, three 3 oz and 1 4 oz. After a couple weeks, the daycare told me she was going through the smaller ones so I upped it to three 4.5 and 5 oz bottles. Try talking with your daycare if you can about recommendations or amounts too, they may want you to send formula as a back up or they may not. You can always prepare a small "back up" bottle to pack in with your standard 3 or 4 they can offer in case she seems really hungry. If she doesn't use it that day, you can just make that milk into the bigger bottle for the next day since BM is good refrigerated for 3/4 days. More bottle washing for you but it's an option!

    I hope that helps. GL momma! 
  • Hi!! First off... good luck! I know it can be tough to go back! 

    I would second the recommendation to bring small bottles. Bring a few 2oz bottles even if your little one isn't used to bottles yet and make sure to use the slowest nipple you can find for that bottle. 

    Your daycare will likely give you detailed reports of what your LO drank (if they don't, ask for it) and after about a week you should have enough information to figure out how best to adjust the bottles.

    You might find that they like 4oz in the morning and 3 oz a few hours later etc. 

    It's also really helpful to send in an extra bottle (or even give them frozen BM) if they'll allow it. Just in case. 

    If you can send in frozen milk (especially in the earlier months), I'd recommend sending in REALLY small amounts. 1-2 oz per extra bag/bottle so that none is wasted. I've even sent in baggies of BM "ice" cubes that they could defrost. In the beginning you likely won't have much of a backup stash, so you'll rest easier knowing that you didn't waste nay! 

    Good luck!!

    Rachel (a.k.a. The Analytical and @analyticalmommy on IG)
    I'm just trying to make sense of things :-) 
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