How do you send your breastfed baby to daycare?

Hey guys, I have a question about the transition of putting an infant (3 mo) in daycare. I return back to work in three weeks, and my son will be going to daycare two days a week. I am currently breastfeeding and have no clue on where to begin as far as how many bottles to send or when to start pumping? We didn’t put my first son into daycare until 18 months, so I’m new to this! I would love to hear about other mamas experiences during the transition period when they went back to work and what it was like. Thanks!


Help a mama out and respond anonymously on our forum. How do you send your breastfed baby to daycare?

I would start pumping now and grow a huge stockpile. I dunno the other answers.

When I worked at a daycare they sent a small lunchbox with ice packs and pumped milk frozen and I would thaw as needed in hot water

Start pumping now and also offering a bottle it can take awhile to find one the baby will accept


Depends on the daycare. My baby’s daycare wanted one bottle they would wash every feeding and I’d give most milk to them frozen so they can thaw themselves except for what you think baby will eat that day since bm is only good 24 hours from frozen in the refrigerator. Then they’d let me know if they were running low just like with diapers.

I didn’t breastfeed long but I was a infant/toddler teacher for 5 years. I would say start pumping now and freezing milk with the bag flat (easier and quicker to thaw) some parents brought enough for the day some brought a freezer stash to last a week. All depends on how much you pump I guess. Also the parents who brought enough for only the day would also have some frozen for back up or a small thing of formula just incase they needed more.

Did your baby have a bottle at all yet? My Daughter wouldn’t take one at all and I tried everyone out there so if you haven’t I would start trying to give your baby one ASAP. I would pump as much as you could to build a stock pile this way you have enough while your at work. I’m sure once you start you’ll see how much your baby is drinking and how much you’ll need

my daughter pumped alot, she would lock her office and pump, they froze it, she would send plenty, when they were done they donated to mothers that couldn’t

I’ve always just pumped as much as I can since my sons birth that way when daycare time comes we have a stash. It will run out quicker than I think :weary:

1 Like

Start pumping now and introduce your baby to the bottle. Please don’t leave the daycare to introducing the baby to it and they end up with a screaming baby that refuses to eat


Daycares typically do bottles every 3 hours unless otherwise directed. Think of how many oz’s your baby drinks per bottle and times that by how many three hour increments your child will be in daycare and that’s the minimum amount of oz to bring.

Start pumping now and get dad or grandma to feed the first bottle.


An ounce for every hour you are away.

1 Like

Start pumping straight away if you can get a double electric breast pump preferably medela or spectra and a hands free bra and start freezing a stash!

Introduce the bottle asap. They will mostly likely refuse but be persistent and understand the bottle feeding is a different technique and skill to the bottle so there can be strong refusal changing bottles will just confuse baby.

If you wish to continue bf make sure you get bottles like medela, pigeon or dr browns where the flow is super slow which makes baby work harder for the milk, others like tommee tippee even on teat level 1 still flow quick and easy which if baby gets too use to the easy flow and less work of the bottle they maybe develop bottle preference.

offering the bottle around the same times of the day you would be at work, daycare should allow you transition/orientation days prior to you commencing care where u can go in and hang out, so I would be going in for an hour or more allowing bub while ur close by being fed by the room staff, and exploring the environment so it’s not a complete shock the first day you have to leave.

Also if be doing half days for the first week for the both of you so even if you book bub in the week b4 u go back this will help the staff and bub bond and if bub is unsettled u can go in.

Also arrange with your employer to leave work in the middle of your shift so u can give bub a breastfeed if your workplace isnt too far, and allow you to pump if u need to e.g every 3 hourly, ur workplace should have a breastfeeding policy so sus out what this in tails.

If you decide to mix feed and use formula it can take 2 weeks once bub starts a new formula to settle in their tummies.

Muna Sheekh Maxamud different problems for different pple.

Omg, everyone is giving HORRIBLE advice. Please join expressions! Lactation services. You’re going to hurt your supply
By listening to everyone. You only need to start pumping a day or two before she goes. Your baby will never need more than 4 oz at a time, all breastfed babies it’s the same as the milk changes with their needs unlike formula fed babies. Please get correct advice.

1 Like

You do NOT need a stock pile.

You only need to have enough of a “stock” for each day they are at daycare, if that’s the only time they’ll be using a bottle. I know it’s hard to determine, how much you little is actually eating when breastfeeding, but usually the rule of thumb is an ounce for every hour they are there. When we first started sending my daughter, I sent in 4, 3-4 ounce bags just to make sure she had enough and then if they didn’t use the other bag they just left it in the freezer. You should be able to pump enough, in a days time for the next day, your baby is at daycare. If you want to be able to have a couple spare, just pump when your baby is done eating once or twice a day and then when you have enough, you can freeze it. You don’t need a HUGE amount in your freezer.

Help a mama out and respond anonymously on our forum. How do you send your breastfed baby to daycare?

I started using a haaka on the opposite side she was nursing on and then saved that for daycare. Then got my stash built up when pumping at work. Only pump what you need, we pump to feed baby, not the freezer :heart:

1 Like

Hey! I’m the director of a daycare and I’ve helped many breast feeding mamas over the years. Depending on where you live, the center may follow different laws regarding handling breast milk. Yes they are real laws. When I have a new infant enroll I recommend that the parents bring one more bottle than you know they’ll need. So if babe eats every two hours and they’ll be there 8-5, that’s 6 bottles. As far as storing it, most centers can’t keep it frozen or unthaw it for you so it has to be brought in prepared in the bottle and they will keep it in the infant room refrigerator. You’ll have to make sure to write their first and last name on the bottle and cap because they do get lost easily. They should have some sort of system (like red masking tape) for distinguishing breast milk bottles from formula. As far as choosing bottles, listen to your baby. I’ve had several babes lately have success with the MAM bottles and the simply natural breast bottles but it does take trial and error. Hope this helps!


There’s alot of topics on pumping and breastmilk storage, cleaning tips for pumping parts/bottles and other helpful tips at Exclusive Pumping- Evidence Based Support Group it’s a whole new world out there on this… please be informed and do your research on this! And please don’t ever fall for the so called “fridge hack” there is no hack to cleaning pumping parts when it comes to your baby’s health!

Join Milky Mommas (Breastfeeding / Lactation / Human Milk Feeding Support) they have so much great advice.

I wasn’t making enough so I had 2 supplement with formula but the concept still applies. I pumped in between feedings and got bottles that the baby chose that felt closest 2 my nipples. If I were u I’d start a week / week in half before pumping so u have the supply built up and u can see just how much the baby is eating per bottle. That will give u an idea of just how much 2 send based on his feeding schedules. That will also give u time 2 get him used 2 the bottle. Just be careful because it can cause nipple confusion and may choose 2 go just on bottle. If u are not ready 2 stop breastfeeding yet u need 2 be aware that may be an issue. That may leave u pumping on a more permanent bases 2 still give him the breast milk. I chose that route because it was easier than trying 2 pump, feed, and then the confusion on top of it.

1 Like

I was pumping and nursing while I was on maternity leave so I would send a Walmart back of frozen milk and when they got down to 2 or 3 bags of milk left I would bring another sack full.

I’ll feed on one and pump on the other for 10 minutes so my boobs don’t get engorged and then I will put the pumped milk in the freezer.

How long will baby be there? How often does he eat? Do the math and send that many bottles. Then also send a few frozen bags for them to keep in their freezer for emergencies. I’d also start pumping right away. I pump for 20 minutes after every nursing session. I started at birth and had 1,000 ounces in the freezer by the time I went back to work. Typically you will pump enough during the workday to supply for the next daycare day. At work pump every time the baby would be eating (every 3 hours or so)

Help a mama out and respond anonymously on our forum. How do you send your breastfed baby to daycare?

I will try with my 3rd child. When she goes to daycare I will bottle up the number bottle with the milk (add a extra or two). I will make sure the daycare is able to store it in the refrigerator. Label all his/her bottle. I shouldn’t be too hard just like if he/she was in formula. Hopes this helps. Good luck.

Pump when possible and freeze it. Get your child use to drinking breast milk from a bottle. It will be eaiser on the teachers (being that they can’t breast feed your child) it will also help them by making sure your child is eating during meal times.

The rule of thumb for breastfed babies is 1-1.25 ounces of breastmilk per hour. So if baby eats every 2 hours, they can have a bottle of 2-2.5 ounces of breastmilk. If they go 3 hours, it’s 3-3.75, but bottles should never exceed 4 ounces. Paced feeding is also very important! I think I have an info graph on that. Good luck!

If you work for a company with 50 or more employees by law you get 12 weeks maternity leave. Past in 1993. Good luck!

Amber Timms….I’m not meaning to be disrespectful, but this article says not to limit a baby’s intake. Basically that they know how much they need. So, maybe the best advice for this mom is to talk to her baby’s Pediatrician.

Help a mama out and respond anonymously on our forum. How do you send your breastfed baby to daycare?

Pump after each session right now, and first thing in the morning. Start freezing it so you’ll have enough supply for the first couple of days. Then while he’s at daycare pump every 3 hours. If he’s not used to being bottle fed, just expect him not to eat much at daycare the first few days. He will get over it eat. Trust me.
My older son started daycare at 12 weeks and refused to eat the first day or two- then quickly realized he needed too. I pumped while at work every 3 hours and that was what I would send to daycare the following day. I even pumped before bed and the morning on weekends, so I could freeze or send to daycare Monday. I did that for almost 13 months and never had to touch formula. It’s definitely a commitment, but very feasible.

Put em in. They will adjust. Mine took both formula and breast milk.

1 Like

Plan for him to eat 1oz of BM for every hour you are separated. Pack in 2.5-3oz bottles with slow flow nipples. If you haven’t introduced a bottle, go ahead and start. Some times it is helpful for a partner/friend/relative to offer one when the nursing mother isn’t present in the room.
You don’t have to have a huge ‘stash’ saved up. Goal is to have 1 days worth of BM frozen before the first day of daycare. Pumping after every nursing session will get you there. Unless you have an oversupply, don’t expect your pump sessions to be big amounts, but every drop counts :heart:

Plan on 1 bottle for every 3 hours away, and then add 1 just incase. As far as building a stash to send to daycare you really only need 1 day supply as you’ll be pumping while away.
Hopefully your employer is understanding and willing to accommodate your pumping needs. I get 1 hour lunch and a 15 min break (7.75 hr shift)
So my boss and I worked it out where I was able to take 3 25 minute breaks during I would pump. I also had a car adapter and ZERO shame so I’d pump each way during my commute.
If you haven’t bottle fed your baby I recommend starting now and having other friends and family members feed him as well so he can get used to the idea of other people feeding him.
Best of luck, you got this!

Start pumping asap to get a supply built up (frozen of course) to send to daycare. I had about 300 oz in my deep freezer when my daughter started at 13 weeks with daycare. I also had my husband start to do some bottle feedings of breast milk to get her used to the bottle for daycare. I would then pull the bags out the night before and place in the fridge for daycare the next day. The bottle feedings my husband did gave me the estimate of what she would drink each feeding so I had an idea of the amount to send each day.

Start pumping now to build up a stash. I always gave a bottle that was ready, about 3-4 bags, and an extra clean bottle. Can try using a bottle now too so he can start to get used to it. I never had a problem with my son taking a bottle or having any kind of nipple confusion. My daughter is currently 3 weeks old and I breastfeed and have given a bottle. She hasn’t had any problems.

Start pumping now and freezing it a bottle is good for.8 hrs so depends on how much he eats send a little extra

I aimed to pump 9-12 oz for the next day. I tired to keep an “emergency” stash of 10 oz in the freezer just in case. You’ll have to pump at work 2-3 times a way when your away from baby. Pre-package your bottles for each feeding in advance and label them with your baby’s name and time of feeding (morning,afternoon).

My doctor told me to start baby on bottle around 2 months because after that they may not take it so good luck. Start pumping now though.

Start pumping now and freeze the milk so you always have some to send.

I just make sure to pump enough to replace what baby ate that day, to send for the next day. So, if he had 8 oz. today, I make sure to get 8 oz pumping to send tomorrow. You’ll also get a feel for how much they are eating, so it’s actually a nice gauge. My sitter has an app that she tracks feedings and diaper changes and then sends the “report” right after I leave. You’ve got this- don’t stress! (Easier said than done. lol)

When you go back to work talk with your office manager about allowing you to pump throughout the day. Stay on the same routine you would have if you were breast feeding. If he eats every 2-3 hours set aside scheduled time at work to pump when the baby would normally be eating. It’s important to keep his supply stocked for when he’s at daycare. Also Pumping regularly will help reduce the risk of getting mastitis and will keep milk production from slowing down.

I have sent 2 breastfed babies and worked in the infant room. Good rule of thumb is 1.5-2 oz of milk per hr. So if baby goes 2 hrs between feeding then 3-4 oz. My 3 month old drinks 4 oz every 2-2 1/2 hrs. I usually send 5 bottles for 9 hr day. Sometimes she drinks them all sometimes 4

Start having a family member feed baby a bottle a couple times a day until baby starts, so that your baby is ready for a full day away from you and doesn’t refuse the bottle all day. Also, make sure you have a good supply built up to start so you don’t run out .


Pump and freeze it that is what the mothers did where t worked send 3 bottles 1 full 2 empty