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  • Writer's pictureAlba Macareno

15 Compelling Reasons to Continue Breastfeeding While Your Child is in Childcare

Updated: Jun 7, 2023

Why it is not necessary to stop breastfeeding your child when she starts childcare

When we give birth, the midwives at the hospital want you to breastfeed your baby - some even kind of force you to - they help you with everything so that you can nurture your little one. It is well-seen to breastfeed your baby for the first few months, however, after a certain time it is not so well-seen anymore, and so many women stop doing it.

On the other hand, many women stop breastfeeding when they have to go back to work. One reason might be that they do not want to pump milk every few hours - and it is understandable. I had to pump sometimes and I really did not enjoy it, I prefer to breastfeed my child directly. For me breastfeeding is so much more than just nurturing your baby (at least during the first months when you do not give them any solid food), it is closeness, providing them calmness, being skin to skin, and so much more. But if you decide to not breastfeed or you are not able to do it - giving the bottle can provide you with so many beautiful moments with your child.

If you are in the situation that you have to give your little one to child care, a nanny or her grandparents, and are thinking about weaning your LO, keep reading 15 reasons to continue breastfeeding while your child is in childcare.

P.S. Do not wean your child during the settling-in process at childcare as it is already hard for them with all the changes and they need their safe haven.

1. Physiological weaning age

The physiological age of weaning is between 2-7 years. That means that a child will naturally wean herself during those ages without you doing anything. lt is unusual for us to breastfeed for so many years, but scientifically and in comparison with other mammals (gestation period, teething and other characteristics), as well as anthropologically, it is very very well comprehensible. At the same time it does not mean that a child is still so dependent on breastfeeding that it could not cope without the breastfeeding person. A child will start with solids at about 6 months of age or when they are ready and slowly eat more and more without needing to be breastfeed to be nurtured. Although, they will come back to breastfeed for many reasons.

2. WHO - breastfeeding recommendation

The breastfeeding recommendation, which explicitly also applies to industrialized countries says: 6 months exclusive breastfeeding, then breastfeeding with introduction of complementary feeding under the protection of continued breastfeeding until at least the 2nd birthday and and beyond, as long as mother and child want.

Here it is important that you should only keep breastfeeding if you as the mom wishes to continue it and the child wants it, too. If you are not feeling comfortable, you should look for ways to wean your child. On the other hand, if you decide to wean, then you have to be confident in doing so as your LO will sense if you really wish to wean or not, and that will make the whole process easier.

3. Processing the day

A day at child care can be intense, there are many impressions, sensory stimuli, perceptions that are new. They have been away from you for hours and have missed you. Processing the day can be smoother with the help of breastfeeding. The child calms down and has a connection with the mother, and has time to process all the impressions from the day. It can recharge their “love battery”, so that the child is willing to do other things without having to carry her all the time.

P.S. If you do not breastfeed (anymore) you can also just take a couple of minutes to be present with your LO and hug and kiss her so that she feels loved and can calm down and process the day.

4. Desire to breastfeed

The simple wish of your child or both of you is quite sufficient on its own.

Children want sometimes just to breastfeed to be near you without any other explanation, and that is OK. However, if your child wants to be breastfeed every 15 minutes and it is too much for you, you should intervene and say no. At the beginning it will be hard as they are accustomed to breastfeed on demand, but they will understand it with time.

My daughter wanted to breastfeed 5-6 times every hour, she would just drink for like 10 seconds and go away. At some point, my breasts were hurting and I needed also my space, so I tried reducing the feedings slowly by only doing it 2 per hour and slowly to get to breastfeed her only a couple of times per day - with age they will also want to do it less frequent as there are many other things that are interesting 🙂

5. To feel safe

Reassurance and sense of security that the consistency of the breastfeeding relationship is guaranteed, supports the settling-in process at child care. The breastfeeding child feels that, despite the change, there is a great deal of stability in his or her life despite the change.

Being away from mom and dad can be really difficult to process for a small child, they do not when or if you are coming back. Therefore, it is important to keep breastfeeding during the settling-in process so that they do not get overwhelmed by so many changes. If you wish to wean them, you should do it time before starting the settling-in process so that they can adjust to one change at the time.

6. Security

The need for security is directly satisfied during breastfeeding. The physical closeness, the sucking and the hormones that are released in the process, can lead to a deep feeling of security. It supports your baby’s physical and emotional wellness - and can make your babies cry less overall.

7. Nutrients

While many children when they are surrounded with other children prefer to eat more than at home or alone with a caregiver, there are also those children

who find it difficult - or at least during the settling-in process. They benefit daily from the many nutrients

that breast milk provides for them.

Furthermore, even if it is true that there are some nutrients that breast milk cannot provide after the child is 6 months old - iron, zinc, and vitamins B and D - there are other essential nutrients that are provided even in the second year of life such as 43% of a baby's protein needs, 60% of a baby's vitamin C needs, 75% of vitamin A, and 76% of folate.

8. Getting first germs at childcare

It is as certain as the Amen in the church: When your child starts childcare, infections are coming! Breastfeeding offers immediate immune protection, adapted defenses in the event of an illness and a more rapid recovery.

It is even considered a form of 'personalized medicine' with potentially lifelong effects. Your breast milk can also lower your baby's risk of diarrhea and nausea, gastroenteritis, colds and flu, and fungal and lung infections.

9. A place to rest

Coming to rest after an exciting day while your child is breastfeeding is so easy because it can give so much peace. It satisfies the need of sucking from your child and calmly fills your little one’s stomach. Talking is unnecessary. Just be together.

Furthermore, babies are biologically programmed to fall asleep at the breast. Falling asleep at the breast is a normal behavior.

10. Rituals

Rituals are important for you and your child as they create shared memories and build family relationships and bond. If you do every day the same ritual e.g. before going to bed like brushing the teeth, putting on the pajamas, reading a book and then sleeping, it gives your child a sense of security, identity and belonging. They are special things that you do together and they have a special meaning to you. The same happens with breastfeeding, which can be one of the most valued rituals, which many educational professionals highly recommend. It can be either routines at home or also as part of a transition ritual directly before or after the KiTa. This can be designed in many different ways.

11. Reinsurance

At daycare, children have to adapt to many situations, and they are more willing to do them as at home. Many situations are negotiated, this can be perceived as unsettling. They have to cooperate a lot during the day and your child's "will" is restricted simply

because of the dynamics. Reinsuring that your child is fine as she is as it is, can be done,

among other things, during breastfeeding.

12. Relaxation

Shake off the tension of an exciting day instead of decompensating? It makes a lot of sense and can bring a lot of peace to the rest of the day. After a part of the day in which

cooperation was needed, breastfeeding can be a real relaxation reset. While breastfeeding your body makes the hormones prolactin and oxytocin. Oxytocin produces a peaceful, nurturing feeling that allows you to relax and focus on your child. It can also help your child to handle better stress and sucking releases the hormone cholecystokinin (CCK) in both mother and baby, which results in a sleepy feeling.

13. Closeness

Placing your baby skin-to-skin on your body is one of the best things you can do! It is recommended to do so immediately after delivery and up to 3 to 6 months after birth. It has so many benefits for both mom and baby. While breastfeeding it is mouth to skin, the small body cuddles up to you. Your baby is tanking the closeness it has missed during childcare time. And wonderfully warm, sweet milk. What can a baby ask for more?! 🙂

14. Daily transitions

Children are transition sensitive. Mastering transitions is a major challenge for many children. You can of course learn to accompany and with time these transitions get easier- but sometimes your child may simply not want to do something.

Here, too, breastfeeding can help to master the many micro-transitions and to breastfeed "on-the-go", e.g. in a sling or in a carrier can help them to adapt easier to transitions.

15. Co-regulation

Transition objects are very often used as a substitute for co-regulation. Socially, they are

more acceptable than co-regulation with a close person. But the original is and remains the direct interpersonal contact. Breastfeeding can play a wonderful part of it.

If you feel calm

In conclusion, there are numerous benefits to continuing breastfeeding even when your child is in childcare. From providing vital nutrition and boosting their immune system to promoting bonding and reducing stress, breastfeeding is a crucial part of your child's development. With the right support and resources, you can continue to breastfeed your child while they attend childcare, and give them the best possible start in life.

So, if you're considering whether to continue breastfeeding while your child is in childcare, keep these 15 reasons in mind and make the choice that's best for you and your family.

Picture by:">Freepik</a

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