Finding the right daycare provider can be a personal and difficult decision for parents. Whoever you decide on, these people will be entrusted with caring for the most precious thing in your life. And, although you have to trust them to keep your baby safe, no parent typically gives them carte blanche to completely override their major parenting decisions — behind their back. That's why one mom is enraged after discovering that her daughter's daycare provider hated the fact that she was bottle-fed so much that she had been secretly breastfeeding the infant instead.
The anonymous mom shared her horrifying daycare experience and asked for help with what to do.
In a live chat with Slate's Daniel Mallory Ortberg, the anonymous mom shared with Dear Prudence that she formula feeds her adopted baby because she can't lactate. But as a single, working mom, she also sends her girl to daycare and originally felt confident that the home care provider she found was the perfect match.
"[She] 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," she wrote. "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)."
But after two months, she popped in early one day and caught the woman breastfeeding her baby.
Mom explained that she unexpectedly got off early on a Friday afternoon and was excited to pick up her daughter. There's a side door where parents can enter without knocking, so she slipped in and started to sign her baby out when the daycare assistant walked by and saw her.
"She tried to engage me with conversation, but I wanted to get my daughter so I brushed by her," she wrote. "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!"
Naturally, this mom is furious — but also torn.
"I marched over, took the baby from her arms, and asked her if she was crazy," she wrote. "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!"The mom left without saying anything else but now doesn't know how to handle the situation. "Obviously, I am not sending my daughter back there, but should I report her to the umbrella company she is under for home daycares, or should I make a huge blast on social media?" she asked. "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."
Prudie was equally outraged and nails it by telling mom exactly what she needs to hear.
Ortberg responds to the mom by pointing out just how big of a breach of trust this is and affirming that this is a major violation worth reporting.
"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 wrote. "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.'"
Although Ortberg understands if mom isn't comfortable with making a "big splash" on social media, the columnist reiterates that the mom should still report it even if she does it quietly.
Online, many people agree: It's time to get the authorities involved.
"Breast milk provides important nutrients as does formula. But breast milk can also carry infections and medicines which could be passed into a child," one person commented. "I would be calling the police, the state board overseeing child care centers and an attorney. Her child's health could be compromised."
"It is also a biological, bodily fluid like blood, semen or saliva. If a doctor gives a person a blood transfusion without consent, it's medical battery. If you spit on someone without permission, it is assault," one person wrote. "If you deposit semen in someone without their consent, it's rape. I would be horrified to discover that someone gave my child their breastmilk without asking my permission, unless it was an immediate, life-threatening situation."
"Breast milk is considered a body fluid. Exposing someone to body fluids against their consent breaks the law. I really think this needs to be a legal issue," another person wrote.
Others were quick to point out that this is more than just breaking trust — it's a serious health risk.
Although small, there is still a risk of infectious diseases being transmitted via breast milk, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
But other women don't entirely blame her and think she did a good thing for this baby.
No matter what you think about sharing breast milk, however, daycare should always be about trust and respecting parents.
"MY word trumps all when it comes to my children. How dare she!" another person wrote.
This post was originally published on Mom.me sister site Cafe Mom.