A new parent makes many difficult decisions when it comes to raising their child. Breastmilk vs formula is just one of them.
A new mother was recently horrified when she found out the caregiver she hired to watch her child while at work was secretly breastfeeding her baby.
Can’t stop thinking about this story from yesterday’s Dear Prudence. Like what the fuck pic.twitter.com/icqFTOEobD— Jennifer C. Martin (@notreallyjcm) February 20, 2019
The anonymous parent asked for advice about what to do from Daniel Mallory Ortberg in a “Dear Prudence” segment.
“Q. My day care provider is being a boob, literally! I am a single mother of an adopted baby, and I am opting to formula-feed since I can’t lactate. I am a working mom as well, and found a home day care provider who seemed amazing—she has two kids of her own (one a little older than my daughter) and has run this home day care for five years or so.
The only bump in the road was on the first day when I pulled out the formula and bottles, and she wrinkled her nose and said, “You feed her that slop?” I ignored the barb (I’m used to it), gave a quick rundown, and went on my way. Two months later, this past Friday, I got off work early and decided to pick up my daughter early. There is a side door where parents can enter without knocking, so I did that. I started the sign-out process, and as I was doing so, the day care assistant walked by and saw me. She tried to engage me with conversation, but I wanted to get my daughter so I brushed by her. When I got to the area of the house where my daughter was, I about fell over. The day care provider was NURSING MY BABY!
The mother of the child explains that she feeds her baby via bottle as, being the adoptive mom, she can’t lactate and explained as much to the home daycare provider.
There was a hint of an issue when she initially told the carer about the formula-feeding, as the daycare provider said,
“You feed her that slop?”
However, they moved on, and the mother has been regularly dropping her baby off there for two months. She was impressed with the standard of care, as the carer has two kids of her own, one of whom was similar aged.
Recently, though, the mother went to pick up the child early and was shocked to find the daycare provider breastfeeding the mother’s baby.
“I marched over, took the baby from her arms, and asked her if she was crazy. The provider said that she was saving my baby from chemicals I was trying to force into her body and I should thank her for doing it all these months! “I didn’t say anything; I just grabbed the diaper bag and got the hell out of there.
But now I am not sure what to do. Obviously, I am not sending my daughter back there, but should I report her to the umbrella company she is under for home day cares, or should I make a huge blast on social media? My sister says I should send out texts to the parents that have kids there so they can do their own check-ins, but that is too much I think. Your thoughts?”
That is horrifying to come across:
Ummmm... she should be reported to everyone & sued. Breast milk passes communicable diseases. People who donate to milk banks undergo extensive screenings, for good reason. It is not okay to nurse someone else’s child without their permission outside of an emergency situation.— Beth Martin (@cliothemuse) February 22, 2019
I would be doing time if a woman did that with my kid https://t.co/tC1SfhuJXz— The Dumbest Blond (@beloved1ny) February 26, 2019
The first two questions in this advice column are in full CALLS THE COPS territory and not write to a stranger on the internet. YIKEShttps://t.co/q9r81PBDOA— Sarah Rappaport (@SarahRapp) February 20, 2019
Wading into the breastfeeding vs. formula waters is dangerous territory, but the honest truth is that both sides have points to be made.
Breastfeeding is a perfectly natural process that we as a country need to stop forcibly censoring. It is healthier for the child, and making parents hide in closets or bathrooms just to feed their baby is wrong.
On the other hand, formula is a modern miracle that has saved lives and allows many families more freedom, with some even crediting it with enabling women to enter the workforce and for fathers to be more involved after parenthood. Studies about the long term difference between bottle and breastfeeding is inconclusive at best.
While breastfeeding has the nutritional edge, formula is perfectly fine, and in certain instances, especially where the mother is unable to breastfeed, as in this case where the child was adopted, it can be a godsend for both mother and child.
With that said, the issue at play here isn’t whether the mother should use formula vs breast milk. It’s the way her daycare provider betrayed her trust.
Ortberg gets right to the point saying,
“Oh my GOD. That is my first thought, is just: Oh, my GOD. If this isn’t worth reporting her to a supervising agency, I don’t know what is.”
He points out that part of the daycare’s job is not just to watch the child in a way they might consider to be “treated well” but to the parents’ standards. To break that trust, especially in such an intimate way, is horrific.
“Yes, your baby is, in the long run, safe and sound. But the whole point of providing day care for working parents is saying, “You can trust me to keep your children safe and well–cared for, and I will act according to your wishes in your absence,” not “As soon as you walk out the door, I’m going to raise your child how I see fit.”
He emphasizes that the daycare provider should be reported to authorities saying,
“This is a huge breach of trust, a total violation, and absolutely worth reporting. Please do it. If you’re not comfortable making a big splash on social media, that’s understandable—this is a very dramatic case, and I can imagine it making a lot of headlines that you might not want to be connected with, but she should absolutely be reported for this.”
While many could look past the formula vs breastfeeding debate, others overlooked the point entirely.
The mother said she would not send her daughter back there, which is understandable. However, it shouldn’t take writing to an internet stranger to know she ought to report that daycare provider. Hopefully, she has taken that step now too.