February 21, 2019
As parents, you do a lot of research to make the best decisions for your babies, especially when it comes to who will care for your child while you are at work. It's likely you look for a caregiver or daycare with values that match your own. At the least, you hope that they respect your parenting decisions and maintain them while your child is under their care. That's why we were surprised to learn about one mother's experience when it came to how a daycare worker fed her child.
The anonymous mom live chatted with Slate’s Daniel Mallory Ortberg on this week’s Dear Prudence segment and explained how she had started bringing her daughter to a home daycare while she was at work. The mom notes that she is a single parent and formula feeds her adopted daughter since she cannot lactate.
Initially, the daycare worker, who also has two kids of her own, seemed like a good fit, the mom even went as far to call her “amazing.” Although, she notes that the worker did scoff at the fact that the mom formula-fed her daughter, and even remarked “You feed her that slop?” on the first visit.
Fast forward two months to one afternoon when the mom arrived early to pick up her daughter and caught the daycare worker breastfeeding her little girl. Yikes!
“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 daycare 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 daycare provider was NURSING MY BABY!” she says.
The mom marched over to the daycare provider and retrieved her little girl. “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,” the mom recapped.
So is this the worst parenting nightmare you’ve ever heard—yes or are you still screaming? The mom asks Slate’s Ortberg how she should approach this. Report the daycare worker to the umbrella company that employs her? Call her out on social media? Or, as her sister suggested, text every parent that sends their children to that daycare and advise them to check in.
Ortberg was just as #shook as we are. She automatically advised the mother to report the situation, as this daycare worker has completely gone over the line violated the mother’s trust. “The whole point of providing daycare 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,” she says.
While the mom did say that she is never bringing her daughter back to this home daycare, it is still unknown if she has reported the case. This daycare disaster, as horrible as it is, serves as a reminder of how important it is to really check in with your daycare provider. Make sure they’re certified, that the home is babyproofed, and that you know exactly who will have access to your child while she or he is there. And if it comes down to it, do what this mom did and show up unexpectedly. You never know what you might discover when the daycare workers think you're at work.