Q: How do I make sure that my baby’s caregiver doesn’t overfeed my baby? My childcare provider keeps saying that I need to send bigger bottles! Help!
When interviewing potential caregivers for your baby, ask them about their experience caring for breastfed babies. Make sure they know that they play a very important role in helping you to successfully breastfeed your baby. Breastfed babies generally drink 24 to 32 ounces per 24 hours, and breast milk volumes do not increase as baby gets older or heavier the way formula needs do.
Nancy Mohrbacher, an IBCLC and local favorite here at Breastfeed Chicago, created a very helpful guide to share with the caregiver of your breastfed baby, and you can print it here.
Show your caregiver how to pace your baby’s bottle feedings. Paced feeding is a particular way of using a bottle that encourages a baby to sit upright, eat slowly, take breaks, and provide the caregiver with feedback when they are full. A helpful video about paced feeding can be found below.
Patricia Berg-Drazin, RLC, IBCLC, CST-D, Breastfeed Chicago Board Vice-Chair, and a moderator on the Breastfeed Chicago parent support Facebook group, explained paced feeding: “First, place your baby in an upright position, touch the nipple to the center of their upper lip, and when the baby opens, allow them to pull the nipple in,” she said. “Hold the bottle level with the floor so that milk is not pouring into the baby’s mouth and they need to work to remove the milk, just as they do at the breast. This allows then to coordinate suck, swallow, and breathing,” she said.
You can also print the two handouts found here and here for your caregiver to look over. Both provide a lot of great information about how they can support your breastfeeding relationship through proper feeding routines and techniques.
A Spanish-language guide to paced feeding is available here.
Pre-filling individual bottles for the caregiver with the amounts you want your baby to have (instead of sending a large amount in one big container or many still-frozen bags) can help prevent overfeeding. If your caregiver continues to demand larger bottle volumes, schedule a meeting with the caregiver to address your concerns. Let them know that feeding your baby very large amounts can stretch his or her stomach, unintentionally sabotaging your breastfeeding relationship. Overfeeding can also send your baby the message that he or she shouldn’t listen to his or her own body when full.
Going back to work and breastfeeding? This question is part of Breastfeed Chicago’s Ultimate Back-to-Work Breastfeeding Guide. Read the full guide to help the transition go smoothly!