What to Pack for Daycare Feedings

Having a plan to ensure your baby still receives your breast milk - even after you return to work and your little one is in daycare - starts with knowing what to pack and making sure everyone is on the same page regarding your baby's breast milk diet.

Make Sure Your Baby Still Gets Your Breast Milk After You Return to Work!

Breast milk feeding doesn’t have to (and shouldn’t!) slow down just because you’re getting ready to return to work. Feeding your little one with your amazing liquid gold is still completely possible – and easier than ever, with a little planning, preparation, and the right accessories to make pumping and storage even more seamless. As you and your little one get into a back-to-work and daycare routine, learning what to pack for daycare – particularly as a breastfeeding mom – will quickly become second nature. Just be sure to speak with your baby’s primary caretaker – whether your partner, a family member, a daycare center, or a home daycare service – ahead of time to ensure you are all on the same page about feeding him or her with pumped breast milk when you are away.

After you and your little one’s caretaker have established a feeding schedule, decide what to pack for daycare and consider adding the following to your diaper bag each morning to ensure breast milk feeding is super easy for everyone involved:

  • Pumped milk in labeled and dated breast milk storage bags and kept cool during transport in a breast milk cooler set. Using breast milk storage bags that clearly show the volume of milk and the date pumped can help your baby’s daycare determine which pumped milk should be fed first. Additionally, keeping your liquid gold cool during your commute is imperative to ensure its safety for your baby – make sure it’s transported properly and that your daycare has a fridge available to store your pumped milk between feedings.
  • A copy of the official breast milk storage guidelines. Don’t worry, mama – we don’t mean having a printed and bound copy straight from the CDC! If you have an extra magnet with the breast milk storage guidelines – which you may receive when leaving the hospital after delivery or from your baby’s pediatrician – it can’t hurt to keep it in your diaper bag for easy access if your little one’s caretaker needs a quick reminder. If you don’t have a magnet, keep a copy of the breast milk storage guidelines on a notecard and leave it in a pocket somewhere in your diaper bag.

    Though most daycares will be well-versed on breast milk storage recommendations, having them readily available for reference can be particularly helpful if your baby’s caretaker is a neighbor, friend, or family member like a grandparent, aunt, uncle, or cousin.
  • Clean bottles, nipples, and caps. Have several clean bottles ready for your little one’s caretaker to use when it’s time to eat, so they can easily warm and feed your pumped breast milk. This also makes it easier for them to keep track of exactly how much your little one ate throughout the day.   
  • Extra cleaning wipes and/or sanitizer spray. Keep some extra cleaning tools in your diaper bag – specially designed for use with products and accessories that come into contact with breast milk – so on-the-go cleaning and sanitation is ultra-convenient. Our Quick Clean™ Sanitizer Spray sanitizes bottles, nipples, breast pump parts, and more in as little as 60 seconds, while our Quick Clean™ wipes are ideal for hard, non-porous surfaces (think cribs, toys, and high chair trays) as well as bottles, pump parts, and other breast milk feeding accessories.

Getting into the Daycare Routine

Though you will certainly have more that you’ll pack in your baby’s diaper bag for daycare, the list above includes special considerations so you can continue breast milk feeding your little one for as long as you choose. As you get into the daycare routine, find out how you’ll be informed of your baby’s eating habits each day – remember to ask how much breast milk they took, when their last feeding was, and (as they get older) if they were given any complementary foods in addition to your pumped milk. Many daycares record feeding details throughout the day and will provide you with this information upon pick-up, but be sure to ask these questions if they don’t.

Finally, conversations about introducing solids should happen between you and your baby’s caretaker before they try giving him or her anything other than your pumped milk. As your baby gets older and begins eating solids, clearly communicate what he or she is allowed or able to eat right now and what they are not. This is especially important as you try new foods and monitor your baby for abnormal reactions and later, as you establish healthy eating habits and patterns.

Your breastfeeding journey is personal and unique to you and your baby. Going back to work and/or having your little one with another caretaker doesn’t mean that it’s time for this journey to end – Medela is here to support all moms in achieving their breast milk feeding goals. To learn more about our commitment to making the return to work easier as a breastfeeding mom, visit NewMomsHealthyReturns.com/forparents. We’re here for you, mama, and you’re doing a great job!