Tips For Childcare Workers On Caring For Breastfed Babies In A Childcare Centre

For childcare workers who are used to caring for formula fed babies, it can take some adjusting to the feeding patterns of a breastfed baby. Here are some tips to make the transition easier.

Adjusting to the centre

Some babies who have been exclusively breastfed prior to starting childcare can find adapting to a bottle feed challenging. Ideally it is better to stagger the introduction of a bottle to starting childcare to minimise changes for the baby.

If the baby is reluctant to take a bottle from the daycare workers, it may help to drape yourself in a clothing item of the mothers, which has a similar smell and can be comforting to the baby. Have baby facing outwards rather than cradled in, and ensure that the bottle has been heated to body temperature. You can test this by placing the bottle on your hand, it should feel neither cool or warm.

Different feeding routine

Breastfed babies often feed on a slower feed bottle teat than formula bottles, more closely matching the flow of breastfeeding. They also often have much smaller feeds than a formula fed baby, so do not be overly concerned if the amount the mother provides seems much lower than the amount of formula you are used to feeding similarly aged babies.

For some babies who are reluctant to use a bottle, they may not consume much milk in a daycare setting. Do not be overly concerned by this, as they will make it up in night feeds at home. Some mothers may find it hard to express as well, but the mother and baby usually reach equilibrium relatively quickly. This process is known as "reverse cycling".

Agree to a plan of action with the mother if she is not sending in enough milk to settle her baby each day. She may prefer to express more, have you offer the baby water or supplementary formula or change her work hours to suit the feeding routine. As with all babies, breastfed babies may go through growth spurts or fussy periods where they need more milk than normal.

Correct storage of breastmilk

Store the breastmilk in a fridge, in a similar way as you would store premade formula that the caregiver has sent in.

Breast milk looks quite different to formula when stored and may separate into different levels. This is perfectly normal and warming the bottle in a bowl of warm water and mixing will bring the mixture back to normal.

For more information or advice, contact a business such as Hopscotch Boambee.