Friday, February 26, 2010

Making Breastfeeding and Daycare Work

It can be tough to make breastfeeding work with daycare.

In my case, my baby wants more milk than I can make. Guess what I say to that? Too bad. He can make it up when I pick him up. His doctor and my lactation consultant say the 8 oz I provide should be enough, so if that means I have to rush right from work to get him to feed him, I'm fine doing that until one year when he can take cow's milk.

I blogged previously about my having to persuade daycare that 8 oz was enough milk for him. (That was titled "Approaching 1 Year Breastfeeding: Stubbornness- and Support- Needed.") I can only pump 6, max 7 at work, so I even have to squeeze in extra pumping sessions to make that 8 oz. It's a pain in the butt, but my sights are set on my one year of breastmilk goal and I am forging ahead. My husband wonders if I'm thinking of myself or the baby, but you know what, I don't really expect anyone else to get how I feel about my goal. The baby's fine. 8 oz should be enough for him. He loves solid food, so all the medical professionals tell me that is enough milk.

Daycare has been giving him bottles at 10 and 2, and that's been working well. I have not had to rush from work to get him at 3:30 like I thought I would. Instead, I can get him at 4, which leaves me a good 50 minutes to get work done after my students leave. (Or squeeze in a 20 minute workout.) Well, yesterday his caretaker said she thinks he need more milk because he cries when she feeds another baby.

Me: "Well- how bad is he crying?"
CT: "Oh, you know, he fusses."
Me: "Well, what time is he fussing? Is it before his 10 am bottle?"
CT: "No, it's between the two bottles."
Me: "OK, so can we give him the second bottle at 1 instead of 2, and I'll just hurry to get him at 3:30? I can be here. I can't make any more milk, so can we try that next week?"
CT shrugs: "I guess."

For some reason his caretakers seem to really not want me to only provide 8 oz for him. But you know what, they are going to have to be more persuasive if they expect me to see where they are coming from.

I don't mean to sound critical of his caretakers. I absolutely love them. I trust them completely even if they and I sometimes see things a little differently (like what shoes he should be wearing). What I am though, is protective of what I need to do to keep him on breastmilk. I'm not going to let casual suggestions pressure me into changing what I am doing. I'm not going to let a little irritation by a caretaker make me change my course. If they truly think he needs more milk, they should communicate that better to me.

My husband thinks I'm being a little selfish, but I don't think so. He says if the baby is fussing, he needs more milk. Nope. He fusses for my iPhone. Does that mean he needs an iPhone? Nope. Would it be nice if the baby could have more milk at daycare? Maybe. But his doctor said it's enough, and I'll gladly make up the milk calories when I pick him up. I'm not going to bother with adding formula to my breastmilk unless his caretakers make the case for that more clear. I stubbornly want to believe that a mom can work AND provide breastmilk to meet her baby's needs. I don't think I'm wrong.

This is going to work. If I have to rush out of work for the next month, so be it. I'm willing to do that.

All I can say is, I'm not sure I could make this work if my baby were under 6 months and not taking solids. If I were feeding a younger baby, would my breasts be primed to make more milk? Would I be able to pump more than the measly 3 X 2 ounces I pump in my sessions at work? We'll have to see if and when I have another baby. An infant needs WAY more than 8 oz in 8 hours. They'd need closer to 18-20 I think. I'll cross that bridge if and when I come to it!


The H Family said...

Can they just give him a cracker or Cheerios or something when he's fussing?

KOR said...

Yeah, that's another thing... to offer him Cheerios. This is why I'm slightly irritated to be asked for more milk without also being told, "We've tried everything." I love his caregivers- I just think they do not really get what pumping breastmilk is all about.
They definitely feed him lunch and sometimes when I get there he's in the seat playing with Cheerios. They do manage to keep him happy. I think they just don't believe he can be OK on 8 oz when babies his same age are taking 24 oz in the same amount of time.

Diana said...

Maybe he is just jealous that the other babies are getting a moment of attention that he is not getting right then. Just like a child will start to act up when he sees his sister getting attention from a parent. While I have not used full-time daycare, I have talked to enough parents who tell me stories about how the daycare tells them how to parent their child. Is he losing weight from not having more than 8 oz? Is he attacking you like he is starving when you get him in the afternoon? If he is not showing immediate signs of physical distress from a 'lack of milk', I would kindly remind the daycare that you are his mother and know what is best for him.

Diana said...

Oh, a really late afterthought on this.

I know, from having taken care of a couple babies who were on formula, that there is a reluctance to let any go to waste. So, they encourage the baby to eat everything they're given regardless if the baby feels full.

Many of those babies have probably been conditioned to drink it all, so they have been taught to ignore the feelings of fullness. This is a trend in early obesity in children - many of them were formula fed as babies.