Once you have a good idea what to expect from your employer, it’s time to consider who will care for your baby while you work. If you can arrange for child care at or near your office, you may be able to breastfeed even after you return to your job by visiting your baby during breaks. Whether you plan to breastfeed during work hours or have the caregiver feed your milk to your baby, be sure to select a caregiver or child care program that supports breastfeeding and will follow your instructions for handling and feeding of your milk.
Discuss such topics as what to do about your baby’s resistance to a cup or bottle, whether to delay a feeding if you are due to arrive soon, and so on; be sure that your philosophy melds easily with the caregiver’s intentions or the center’s policies. At least once before you start back to work, leave your baby with the caregiver for a period of several hours that includes a feeding. In this way you can work out some of the kinks in the system that might otherwise prove discouraging later.
Issues to Discuss with a Potential Caregiver
No parent wants to change caregivers once a relationship has been established. To ensure that your caregiver is the right choice for you and your baby—and that she will help you maintain your breastfeeding relationship with your child as you return to work—discuss the following issues with her ahead of time:
- Her willingness to feed your baby expressed milk
- How to handle and store your milk
- How your baby prefers to be held for a bottle-feeding
- How to cope with resistance to the bottle
- How to comfort your baby when he’s upset
- Whether she feels comfortable delaying a bottle-feeding if you’ll arrive soon and can breastfeed
- What to do if you’re late picking up your baby
- Your baby’s eating, sleeping, elimination, and behavior patterns