When To Stop Sending Breast Milk to Daycare

As your baby approaches their first birthday, you may begin to wonder when to stop sending breast milk to daycare. While there is no hard and fast rule, there are some general guidelines to keep in mind. It is important to understand that every breastfeeding journey, workplace environment, and childcare circumstance is unique. Your specific situation will likely dictate when to stop sending breast milk to daycare.

How long should I send breast milk to daycare?

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children transition to a cup by their first birthday. This is also the age where babies nutritional needs change. They begin to require more solid food and fewer liquids. Because of this, one year of age is typically when most moms stop sending breast milk to daycare.

Related article: What To Do With Your Old Breast Pump: Reuse, Recycle, Dispose

It’s important to consider your baby’s individual needs and development. Some children may be ready to stop using bottles earlier than others, while others may need them for longer. If you need help transitioning your baby to a sippy cup or to another form of milk check out our article on How to Transition Baby to Milk: Everything You Need to Know.

One more factor to consider is your child’s dental health. Prolonged bottle use can lead to tooth decay and other dental problems, so it’s important to start weaning your child off bottles as they approach 12-18 months of age. You can begin by introducing a sippy cup (our favorite) or straw cup (another favorite) around six months of age, and gradually reduce the amount of time your child spends with a bottle.

Related article: Daycare Gave Baby Wrong Breast Milk? Here’s What To Do.

When should I stop pumping for daycare?

As your baby grows and begins to eat solid foods, your breast milk supply will naturally decrease. For some moms, this decrease in milk production may make it difficult to provide enough breast milk for daycare. In this case, it may be necessary to supplement with formula or consider weaning. Most moms stop pumping for daycare when their baby turns 12 months of age, or when they have a freezer supply large enough to last their baby to their first birthday.

Related article: Best Formula for Supplementing While Breastfeeding: The 5 Best Choices

It’s also important to consider your goals and desires when deciding to stop sending breast milk to daycare. Some moms may choose to continue sending breast milk to daycare as long as possible, while others may feel ready to transition to another form of milk at one year of age. Ultimately, the decision should be based on your comfort level and personal goals.

Related article: How Long Can I Legally Pump at Work? Find Out Here.

Daycare Breast Milk Policy

This brings us to our next and likely biggest factor when it comes to deciding when to stop sending breast milk to daycare. Your daycare’s breast milk policy will, in all likelihood, dictate your decision. Most daycare facilities require that all babies be off bottles by a set time. This may be 12 months, 18 months, or when your baby transitions to the next age room (commonly known as the walker room). Most daycare facilities will help babies transition from bottles to sippy cups at this time. On the flip side, some daycare facilities require that you continue to send a bottle of milk until your baby reaches a certain age. Again, check with your specific daycare to see what their breast milk policy and/or bottle policy state.

Most daycare facilities will allow you to send breast milk in a sippy cup if you wish to continue pumping after your baby turns one. Again, it’s important to speak with your specific facility to find out what their specific daycare breast milk policy states. If you receive any push back from your daycare, consider speaking with your pediatrician. Most daycare facilities will comply with a directive note from a pediatrician.

Related article: Can You Refreeze Breast Milk? It Depends. Find Out How.

Ultimately, the decision to stop sending breast milk to daycare is a personal one that should be based on a variety of factors. These factors include your baby’s age and feeding habits, your pumping experience, your personal goals and desires, and your daycare’s breast milk policy. Remember that you do have parental rights and it’s important to voice those if you wish to continue sending breast milk to daycare longer than 12 months. But if you’re ready to be done when your baby turns one, turn the tap off!

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Shannon founded Work Breastfeed Mom in 2019 during her second round of pumping at work. She was tired of googling the same pumping questions over and over again, and discouraged at the lack of websites aimed at working breastfeeding moms. So, she created one herself. Shannon lives, works, and doles out Puffs to her little people in sunny Florida. She has her MBA and works as a strategic planner for a large healthcare system. She is passionate about coffee, memoirs, paddle boarding, and skincare routines. Shannon is mom to Scarlett and Ivy, and hopes to have more babies if her career allows.