September 1, 2023 — By Wendy Sachs
If you have decided to breastfeed, you may be concerned about having a nanny. How will baby react going back and forth between bottle and breast? Will baby give up this special time with you earlier because they are having bottles all day?
Don’t worry, with a little communication and empathy, you and nanny can work together and make the feedings work for everyone.
Start off by discussing breastfeeding when you interview prospective nannies, or sitting down for a nice conversation with you current nanny. Explain why you chose breastfeeding and really listen to hear nanny’s thoughts on breastfeeding. Ask if nanny has experience with other moms going thru the transition back to work. That can be super helpful. Make sure you both are comfortable sharing information and emotions thru this process.
Next be sure that you all know the information. There is a lot of misinformation regarding the how to handle breast milk vs. formula. Check out the CDC website at or La Leche League at for up to date recommendations. You can even write out some helpful reminders and post them on the fridge. Being on the same page is essential.
Allow for some overlap with your nanny, before heading back to work, allowing for time to build a relationship with the baby before they start offering a bottle. That will help ease the transition. Try offering small bottles and do a few test runs before you are ready to leave baby with nanny for a whole day.
Agree on a plan with a loose schedule and a few goals such as how often nanny will offer bottle. If milk is frozen have a chat about how much to thaw for each day. It is likely that the baby may take some time to get used to the change. Try keeping a blanket or a t-shirt that smells like mom handy. Experiment with nipple shapes or bottles. Every baby is different so there may need to be adjustments. Keep those lines of communication open and approach any hiccups with a problem solving attitude.
One of the most common problems is that nanny may misread baby’s cues and feed when baby just needs attention. Feeding too often may lead to a drop in mom’s milk supply. As a nanny you must really get to know child and read those signals. It can be helpful to keep a journal that mom and nanny write in. They can keep notes not only on schedule and amounts of milk or time feeding, but also info on those cues, what was happening during feedings and sleep.
Paced bottle feeding can also be helpful. This method includes holding the bottle flat so that baby needs to suck a bit harder to get the milk. Read more about this method here- This paced feeding helps keep a baby’s experience more like breastfeeding which will help.
Working together nanny and mom can ensure success for all! The key is to have a plan and communicate, communicate communicate!