Choosing Child Care for Your Breastfed Infant
Choosing child care for your baby is a very tough decision for many mothers, especially
for a first child. In some cases, the parents can arrange their work schedules so
that one of them is able to stay home with the baby. Others are able to ask a grandparent
or other trusted family member to provide care. If you don’t have these options, you
will want to select a child care provider who supports your efforts to breastfeed.
Another consideration is how convenient the child-care location is to your workplace.
In-home child care has its advantages. But some mothers find a care provider close
enough to their workplace that they can drop in during work breaks or at lunchtime
to breastfeed. Some mothers are able to have their care provider bring the baby to
them at work. When your commute time between the child care provider and your workplace
is shorter, you and your baby spend less time apart. You can then make time for more
direct breastfeeding. This means 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 storage, thawing, and warming of breastmilk?
Do they have refrigerators or freezers where your breastmilk can be stored for
What is the method for feeding young babies? Is a baby held closely for bottle
feedings? Young babies can’t be expected to hold a bottle, and propping bottles
is not safe or appropriate. Propping is linked to choking and a greater risk
of ear infections. Also, the social interaction during feedings or mealtime can
be as important as obtaining food.
You may plan for your baby to be fed by an alternative feeding method. This might
include cup-feeding, finger-feeding, or syringe-feeding. If so, ask if the care
provider is willing and able to continue this practice with your child.
Educate caregivers about sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)
Offer your baby a pacifier for sleeping or naps, if he or she isn't breastfed. If breastfeeding, don’t introduce a pacifier until
breastfeeding has been firmly established.
Use a firm mattress (covered by a tightly fitted sheet).
Avoid placing infants on a couch or armchair for sleep.
Don't share your bed with your baby. Bed sharing is not recommended for twins or other higher multiples.
Avoid using infant seats, car seats, strollers, infant carriers, and infant swings
for routine sleep and daily naps.
Avoid overbundling, overdressing, or covering an infant's face or head.
Avoid using loose bedding or soft objects.
Always place cribs, bassinets, and play yards in hazard-free areas. Make sure there are no dangling cords, wires, or window coverings. This reduces
the risk of strangulation.
Avoid using alcohol and street drugs, and don't smoke while caring for babies. Don't allow the baby to be around anyone who is smoking.