Giving Your Baby Breast Milk at Daycare

Many breastfeeding moms are going back to work and sending their babies to daycare. So, how much breast milk should you send? And what happens if your baby doesn't use all of that milk? Should you talk to your daycare about handling the breast milk? And how can you protect your milk supply while you're away from your baby?

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Episode Transcript

The Boob Group
Giving Your Baby Breast Milk at Daycare


Please be advised, this transcription was performed by a company independent of New Mommy Media, LLC. As such, translation was required which may alter the accuracy of the transcription.

SUNNY GAULT:  Are you planning on sending your baby to the daycare?  Wondering how much breast milk to send? How do you protect your milk supply when you are away?  How can you talk to your daycare about handling breast milk?  And what if your baby doesn't drink all that you sent?  Today we are talking about sending breast milk to daycare with your baby.  This is The Boob Group.

[Theme Music/Intro]

SUNNY GAULT: Welcome to The Boob Group, Broadcasting from the Birth Education Centre of San Diego.   The Boob Group is your online on-the-go support group for all things related to breastfeeding and I am your host, Sunny Gault.  This is the second episode of The Boob Group I have ever hosted and we are doing some really cool things with the show.  We are shaking things up a little bit and we have some great things in store.

So I am really excited to be with you guys today.  Thanks so much for tuning in and for those of you who are loyal listeners of The Boob Group,  please don't forget to visit our website and subscribe to our newsletter for updates and all of the brand new episodes we release.  You can also stay connected by downloading our free apps available on the Android, iTunes and Windows Marketplace.  

For those of you who listen to The Boob Group on a regular basis, you know I love it, I love hearing from all of our listeners out there.  We want you guys to be part of our show and so a great way to do that is to participate in our segments.   One of the segments  I am going to tell you about is called “ Mamma  Hacks” and is where you guys share your hacks that you discover whether it is breastfeeding or pumping things that make your job as breastfeeding or pumping mom just a little bit more simple and something that could help other mamas out there.  So we love to hear those tips.

So we love to hear from you on that and also if you have any breastfeeding apps that you use whether you know you got a brand new baby or perhaps you been breastfeeding or pumping for your baby for a couple of years now.  We would love to know what apps that are out there that you really like because we love to talk about apps on the show as you know New Mommy Media and The Boob Group,  we have tons of apps available and so that is a great way to get involved.  

So if you want to submit for either of these segments you can go to our website,  you can send us an email but I will tell you what,  the way I really like you guys to submit is,  when we can actually hear your voice.

We have actually a new way that you can submit, usually, I am like call the voicemail this number and you can submit that way but now you can submit through our website and it is really great.  If you go on to our website there is going to be like a little grey button on the side that says “send voicemail” and with just a couple of clicks you can actually use the microphone on your computer to submit a voicemail that way.  So you never have to pick up the phone at all.

Alright so before we kick off today's show let us introduce some of the mammas that are going to be featured on our show today.  We have a couple of people calling in on the phone, let's start with Jade.

JADE: Hi, my name is Jade and I am a mommy of one 16 month old, and I am still a breastfeeding mom and I work for a very small cafe called Starbucks.

SUNNY GAULT:  That is awesome! And Shira tell us a little bit about yourself.

SHIRA HIRSHBERG: Hi my name is Shira Hirshberg, I am 31, I am a registered dietitian at All Food Nutrition. I have one daughter who is 3 months old.

SUNNY GAULT: Alright great and of course we have our expert joining us on the phone Gina Ciagne.

GINA CIAGNE: Hi I am Gina Ciagne,  I am the mom of two formally breastfed kids who are 14 and 11 years old now. I work for Lansinoh Laboratories as Vice President of Global Healthcare Relations for Lansinoh, and I am also a lactation Counselor.

SUNNY GAULT:  Wonderful! Thank you everybody and welcome to the show.

[Theme Music]

SUNNY GAULT:  Alright, hey everybody it's time for fun segment we have on The Boob Group called “Boob Oops”. It is where we share our funny breastfeeding stories and I love this one, this comes from Becky and Becky writes; “The funniest breastfeeding experience I ever had was when my daughter was only 3 days old and technically it wasn't me. She was pretty much nursing constantly, this particular morning I had to go to the bathroom before she was done.  I trust heard my husband and asked him to take over, so he happily laid her belly to belly on his chest while I relieved myself, “oh such a good husband”.  

As I was coming back into the room Emily began riding around on his chest to his surprise she very quickly found what she was looking for.  I came into the room to his screaming,  he was lifting her up in the air and screaming.  Every lift that she took into in the air the head went down and his chest expanded and simultaneously.  Seemed my little girl didn’t care whose nipple she had in her newborn month.  Of course, I hadn't bothered to explain to him how to unlatch a nursing baby and I never thought he would need it.  I just stood there laughing until he finally put her hard enough to force her to let go.  I told him next time it would hurt less if he broke suction with his finger first.”

I love this, Becky thank you so much for sending it in and if you guys have a funny “Boob Oops” please share with us and we would share with the audience.  You can reach on to us via our website and just go to the contact link or you can tell your story yourself true our voicemail at 619-866-4775.

[Theme Music]

SUNNY GAULT: Alright, today on The Boob Group we are discussing giving me your baby breast milk at daycare.  Our expert Gina Ciagne is a Certified Lactation Counselor, she is a mom of two breastfed kids and she is also the Global Vice President of Healthcare Relations at Lansinoh,   a breastfeeding and pumping accessories company.  Thank you for joining us Gina and welcome to The Boob Group.

GINA CIAGNE:  Thank you.

SUNNY GAULT: Gina, how much will the baby eat during the day?

GINA CIAGNE:  Well every little baby is different and it really does depend on how much the baby is nursing with their mom either before or after daycare. On average between the 1st 6 months or so, babies are generally taking 25 ounces per day.  But again that is variable depending on the baby's birth weight and how big they are and how much they are really consuming.  So one way you can actually figure out, there is a really great resource on

It is a milk calculator and basically, you can divide 25 ounces by the number of nursing that your baby has on a day.  So if your baby is feeding 8 times in a 24 hours period you will be divided that by 25 and it will give you the approximate amount of ounces that you should be sent to daycare. The big recommendation is to bring more than you think your baby is going to take because things get spilled, you know baby doesn’t necessarily finish everything,  do you want to always have a little bit of extra there just in case something happens or the baby is extra hungry that day and they have enough milk to cover that.

SUNNY GAULT: Okay good, Shira, how much milk did you prepare to send each day?

SHIRA HIRSHBERG:   So far I have been preparing 20 ounces for each day.

SUNNY GAULT:  Okay good, and how about you Jade?

JADE:  Well I have always struggled with pumping the right amount of milk or any amount of milk I release. So I was lucky enough my daycare had a freezer that we can use.  So I would basically just send everything that I had that was frozen and when she would get low she would let me know and I would send more.  So I was lucky enough that they had freezer space.  I did send fresh milk in the morning when I would take her, freshly pumped milk for the first bottle, and then she was just held from the freezer stash throughout the day.  So I was lucky enough I didn't have to worry about there being run out of milk because they had a backup stash in the freezer.

SUNNY GAULT: Ok good, and how did they know how much to give your baby at each feeding?

JADE:  Well when I first to go to daycare she was not drinking anything at all really so anything was an accomplishment. I [inaudible] as much as she wanted because she was drinking like maybe 4 ounces in 8 hours she was on strike from drinking at the daycare. They actually were feeding her from a syringe she was taking such a small amount during each feeding so that they could keep track of how much she was having, that was why they were using the syringe because I was so concerned with her intake.

SUNNY GAULT: Well that's a really creative way of getting our babies to eat because we have to make sure they are eating, right that's good. Shira, how about you?  How did you determine how much the daycare should offer your baby each time?

SHIRA HIRSHBERG: The first day I did spend a lot more than I thought she would need.  The milk she ever eat in another 2 days that I actually pumped was over 3 ounces. I have been able to do [inaudible] at a local store nearby recently so I initially was taken over 3 so I just decided to give a 4-ounce bottle.  So I really think she wouldn’t need 5 of them so I sent that many because I thought that would be enough and there would be plenty of extras. They had one freezer pack as a backup in case they needed at the daycare.

SUNNY GAULT:  Okay good; so they did have a place there where you could store your breast milk.

SHIRA HIRSHBERG:  Yes they did just have one freezer pack in there in case they have an issue.

SUNNY GAULT: Gina what kind of containers should moms bring their milk in?

GINA CIAGNE: I mean it really depends on how the mom is storing the milk.   I used to store my milk in bags just because it was easier to organize in my freezer. So I was pumping and storing in my bag,  my daycare also had a freezer, so I also brought some frozen milk in and what I would generally do is I would actually bring the milk in the bottle them-self.  I had the bottles that have the closure on top and that you can just take off and then you can put the nipple on.  

I was taking the milk out of the bag at home and putting it in the bottle and then sending the bottles to daycare. But they also knew-I mean we talked about how to handle the milk in the bag,  they would transfer the milk to the bottles that they needed to but sometimes when my pump got stolen actually out of my car with 20 ounces of the breast milk in it I was so upset,  I didn't even care about the pump I just kept on saying to the police to get me my milk back  I thought I was crazy.  

I was transferring milk from my work freezer to home and that was my stash and you know just needed to then send milk in every single day and so I was pumping and I would keep it actually in the bottle because I would just keep it in the refrigerator and it was just easier to keep them in the pump bottles and send them with nipples to the daycare.

SUNNY GAULT: Gina is there a way to mark the breast milk or how should mammas mark the milk so it doesn't get confused with another breastfed baby's milk at daycare?

GINA CIAGNE: Yes definitely, the breast milk storage bags designated for breast milk will generally have a place for your name or the baby's name, the date, and the amount of milk that is in there because moms are we going to want to do that anyway when they are freezing it.  They want to know how much they have gotten in there.   So the breast milk storage bags are pretty the same as the ones that Lansinoh has. You can freeze and lie down which is great but when they are frozen lying down it will blend together. So you need to make sure you know that was 4 ounces since that was in there and that could be used for the bottles.  

So it's really important to mark it, it is really important to know what the date was because it is good to use the oldest milk first so you are keeping up with your baby's age and growth and development etc. Marking those and making sure that the area where you mark that information is not on the body of the bag because you don't want to puncture it.  So looking out for bags that actually has the write-on tab that is outside the area like above the mark field is important.

SUNNY GAULT: So I have to ask this, Shira, to your knowledge has your baby ever received another mother’s milk or even formula at daycare.

SHIRA HIRSHBERG:  No, not as far as I am aware of.

SUNNY GAULT:  I was just asking because sometimes we hear about that on the news and stuff.  What about you Jade?

JADE: No even if they've done it they wouldn't have told me about it.

SUNNY GAULT:  Right and of course it probably depends on how many breastfed babies are at the daycare and you know the daycare has to obviously be very organized and have a system really for knowing who's breast milk is whose and also the date of expiration and all that kind of stuff. Did they talk to you guys about this at all at your daycares?

JADE: We did use a different kind of bottle than everyone else and we were lucky enough that when we took our baby to daycare there was only one other baby who was taking breast milk at that time and they used a totally different bottle and a different color and a different brand of milk storage bag as well.  So there wasn't too much opportunity for breast milk to be mixed up.

SUNNY GAULT:  Perfect,  okay,  so when we come back we will discuss have a mom should protect her milk supply and the pumped milk as well from spoiling and what to do if the breast milk the daycare feeds the baby is all used.  We will be right back.

[Theme Music]

SUNNY GAULT: Welcome back to The Boob Group.  We are here with Gina Ciagne, Gina is a Certified Lactation Counselor with Lansinoh. So Gina, how can I mom protect her milk supply when she is away from her baby?

GINA CIAGNE: It is really important for her body to get regular stimulation,  so if the baby is not nursing at the breast then she will need to pump when she and her baby are apart.  That is for two reasons,  so that is to keep up her supplies,  so again her body gets that regular stimulation as if the baby were latching on and also to get the milk out and so she can use that whenever she needs to when she and her baby are apart.  So you know regular stimulation if she is away from her feeding no matter how many feedings she needs to pump during those times to keep up her supplies.

SUNNY GAULT: How should a mom store it any recommendations?

GINA CIAGNE:  You know it's really important to use something that is specifically needed for breast milk. It really depends on whether she's going to need it right away like if she is going to be a part of her baby tomorrow she would want to just keep the milk in the refrigerator.  She can put it in the refrigerator or the freezer but if she's going to use it tomorrow, she might as well just keep it in the refrigerator.

If she is going to be storing for the long term like she's building up a freezer stash,  she would want to store that in the freezer and milk is generally again like ambient room temperature, not too hot-not too cold.  Breast milk is okay at room temperature for about 8 hours, in the refrigerator, it's good for about 48 to 72 hours,  it could be a little longer again you want to try to push it to the back so that it is in the cooler area.  

In the freezer it can be pushed for 6 months, so you know you just want to make sure that, you know you don't for example put your bags or your bottles if you are storing breast milk in the freezer in a door because every time the door opens it gets a blast of room temperature and it could potentially spoil if you need that. So keep it in the back and make sure that whatever is in the freezer whether it is port roast or whatever it is that you don't have anything that is going to be puncturing the bags or getting into your milk.  You can put the container in there and put the bags in there, put the bottles in there, you just want to keep it safe and secure when you are storing it.

SUNNY GAULT: Right and you know another thing to point out is especially out here I don't know in California this blackout and stuff like that,  you know the power goes off,  what if you just sleeping and your refrigerator is no longer working and it is really important to keep that breast milk way back,  way back as far as you can in your freezer and not right there on the door because you never know what could happen and it takes so much, sometimes to express that breast milk and so we certainly don't want that go to waste,  it is that liquid gold. Shira, how often do you pump when you are not with your baby?

SHIRA HIRSHBERG: It depends on the number of hours that I am away from her,  but typically during my standard workday,  two to three times,   it is pretty now I just started doing this and it was pretty clear to me when I needed to pump. So it was a little bit uncomfortable and so I also kind of go by that.

SUNNY GAULT:  How about you Jade?

JADE:  When I was at work I would pump every 2 hours that was when I got a break and with my business, I do not know if I am going to get my next break or when it's going to be.  But I took every opportunity just to pump as often as I could.

SUNNY GAULT:  Alright, good, and Jade based on what Gina was telling us about how to store the breast milk, where you storing it correctly?

JADE:  While I was at work I was lucky that my pump bag had an insulated pouch so I kept it in there and we also had a separate place in a fridge in case we need for storage for coworkers to keep the stuff. So I will keep mine also in the insulated bag in the store there and then at home in the freezer I did what Gina said I had it in a container laid flat and I put that container in the back of the fridge or the freezer.

SUNNY GAULT: Shira your turn, where are you storing your breast milk correctly according to what Gina was telling us?

SHIRA HIRSHBERG: I don't know whether it was a hundred percent correct.   No, probably there is some in the door the need to be pushed back.

SUNNY GAULT:  So it is a good reminder right?  So Gina if the baby is offered breast milk from a bottle and doesn't eat it all,  does the caretaker need to throw it away?

GINA CIAGNE:  It is okay at room temperature for a certain amount of time, one of the things that could occur is that if the baby is drinking a bottle of the expressed breast milk and doesn't finish it all, you know babies may be fed 3 ounces of a 4 ounces bottle and there is that little ounce left.  She can offer that to the baby you know within the hour or the hour and a half.

But really wouldn't want to go for much longer than that just because bacteria could be coming from the saliva if it is left out in room temperature, it is just something that you really want to probably instruct your care provider to use in smaller increments.  So we recommend until you know how many ounces your baby is going to take at each feeding.  You can kind of like you talk with your provider and see how much they are taking and then you can figure out here and there.  

But you know in instead of filling up a bottle with 5 ounces, you know doing 3 ounces and if the baby is so hungry and then adding 2 more ounces in there.  It is easier to add to it but it is not a great situation when you have that leftover ounce or ounce and a half that took 15 minutes to pump, you know you just don't want to get rid of that. So feeding in small increments until you know how much the baby is going to take is a good idea.

SUNNY GAULT: Jade, how were you able to instruct your care provider and give her instructions or did you about what to do with breast milk if it wasn't used up?

JADE:  I actually used on the  and researched a lot and I just cut out stuff and took it to her I told her you know you probably are familiar with all of this but here is actually in case you're wondering.   I explained to her that all the challenges I had with breastfeeding and how important it was that it's not get wasted because it was such a challenge for me in the beginning to make it.  She was great, she read all of those stuffs and she was really good about been careful with all the milk and using small increments and she is great.

SUNNY GAULT: Alright! Awesome! How about you Shira?

SHIRA HIRSHBERG: The standard of my daycare is that they will re-offer the bottle if the baby doesn't finish it within a 2 hour period. Well that is kind of the policy there that they had in place.

SUNNY GAULT:  Wonderful!  Well, thank you so much to Gina and all of our mammas today for helping us all better understand how to safely supply breast milk for your baby at the daycare. And for our Boob Group club members our conversation continues after the end of this show, Gina is going to tell us if and when you would have to switch to cow’s milk  if your baby is 12 months or older and in the daycare.

So for more information about our Boob Group club, please visit our website .

[Theme Music]

SUNNY GAULT:  we have a question for one of our experts and this question comes from Macy and Macy writes; “Hello Boob Group I love the podcast, I have a 6-month-old boy and we have been strictly breastfeeding from day one.  I didn't have any big problems until month 2, I have been getting trapped milk or plugged ducts a couple of times a month.  Is there something wrong that I am doing?  Is my sports bra too tight?  Am I not drinking enough water? He latches on well and I let him eat until he is done or as long as his attention span allows him to go but I would really like to resolve this.  Thanks so much Macy.”

MICHELLE STULBERGER: Hi Macy, this is Michelle Stulberger, I am an IBCLC In the Washington DC area, working for Metropolitan breastfeeding.  Congratulations on your baby and doing so well on your breastfeeding.  I am really sorry to hear you are struggling with plugged ducts. I have had 2 possible culprits in your message that I like to talk about little bit more. The first one you did mention was that perhaps your sports bra was too tight.  You absolutely do want a supportive bra,   ideally with no underwire that is not too tight because that definitely can cause plugs.

The other thing I heard you say was even if it latched but you not necessary have any long nursing sessions. At 6 months babies are very distractible so you might not be emptying in your breast fully. Not having your breast fully drained can absolutely lead to plugs as well.  I suggest making sure that you are using a good pump.  If you can get a hospital-grade pump that is a good way to go or a double electric.  But after your feeding maybe a 10 minutes pumping session to make sure the breast is fully drained. If you are pumping during the day at work, you definitely would like to use a hospital-grade pump. One other thing you can try is to take Soya Lecithin. If you are allergic to soya, you can take the sunflower version. This decreases the stickiness of the milk and if you continue to have problems consider calling an IBCLC.  

Good Luck!

[Theme Music]

SUNNY GAULT: That wraps up our show for today. We appreciate you listening to the Boob Group.
Don’t forget to check out our sister show:
• Preggie Pals for expecting parents
• Newbies for newly postpartum moms
• Parent Savers for moms and dads with infants and toddlers and
• Twin Talks for parents with multiples.

Thanks for listening to The Boob Group. Your judgment-free breastfeeding resource.

This has been a New Mommy Media production. The information and material contained in this episode are presented for educational purposes only. Statements and opinions expressed in this episode are not necessarily those of New Mommy Media and should not be considered facts. While such information and materials are believed to be accurate, it is not intended to replace or substitute for professional, medical advice or care and should not be used for diagnosing or treating health care problem or disease or prescribing any medications. If you have questions or concerns regarding your physical or mental health or the health of your baby, please seek assistance from a qualified health care provider.

SUNNY GAULT: New Mommy Media is expanding our line-up of shows for new and expecting parents. If you have an idea for a new series, or if you’re a business, or organization interested in joining our network of shows through a co-branded podcast, visit

[End of Audio]

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