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Michigan Day Care Center Responds to Complaints

Looking for The Lactivist? She's retired. But you CAN still find Jen blogging. These days, she's runs A Flexible Life. Join her for life, recipes, projects and the occasional rant.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Angela over at Breastfeeding 1-2-3 is doing a fantastic job of covering the Michigan Day Care incident involving Katy Kramp. She's just posted an update today that includes a response from the center and Angela's take on that response.

I seriously doubt that Lactivist readers will be pleased with what Rainbow Child Development Center has to say.

A few snippets from the letter Angela received...

We adhere to the State of Michigan licensing rule R400.5205a (effective 12/7/2007) by supporting and accommodating breastfeeding and by providing a designated place set aside to accommodate mothers and their children who are breastfeeding. We have chosen a designated area which provides a quiet, soft environment for the nursing child and Mom with comfortable adult seating that includes a rocking chair. This area offers a place that will allow one-on-one time for the breastfeeding child and Mom. Our primary goal is to offer a caring atmosphere for children combined with a structured curriculum.

Never at anytime has a parent enrolled in our program been prohibited from breastfeeding, nor were children "evacuated" due to exposure to breastfeeding.

Now, Angela does an excellent job of breaking down the response with her own counter points, and I'd strongly encourage you to go visit her blog to check those points out.

In the meantime, I want to make two points.

First, Rainbow Child Development Center is either playing a game of semantics, is flat out lying, or is accusing Katy Kramp of lying with this line:

Never at anytime has a parent enrolled in our program been prohibited from breastfeeding, nor were children "evacuated" due to exposure to breastfeeding.

Katy told both Angela and I that she was told she could no longer breastfeed her child in his room when she dropped him off or picked him up. She was told that she could nurse him in the infant room. So while they are "correct" in stating that she wasn't prohibited from breastfeeding, she WAS prohibited from breastfeeding in her son's room.

Katy also told us both that when she tried to nurse her son in his room again, the teacher had all of the children leave. Call that "evacuating," "being removed," "taken elsewhere" or whatever you want, it's all the same thing. So unless Katy was lying, (and I can't see any reason she'd have to do so) then Rainbow Child Development Center is either lying or playing a word game.

Second, I find this to be a very dangerous precedent to be set in terms of the whole "designated area" concept. The laws around the country that include that language were meant to ensure that mothers have SOMEWHERE to nurse if they want to go some place private. They were NOT meant to set up a situation where a mom can ONLY nurse in that location. Unfortunately, Michigan does not currently have a law protecting breastfeeding in public (they simply exclude it from public nudity laws) so Katy doesn't have much standing behind her other than public opinion.

Quite frankly, I see this issue as one of the next frontiers in the lactivist fight.

A great deal of the mothers in this country either choose to work or must work for financial reasons. These mothers should not be forced to choose between their jobs and their ability to breastfeed. Unless working moms and at-home moms alike stand together to fight these types of cases, working moms will continue to deal with discrimination when it comes to trying to pump at work, trying to maintain milk supplies and trying to ensure that their child still received the best possible nutrition even while being cared for someone else.

Breastfeeding is not the right of a stay at home mom, it's the right of EVERY child born in this world.

What better way to help lessen the impact of the mommy wars than by getting all moms to work together on this issue?

Finally, the letter also includes the following:

If you have further questions please address them to Karen Krygier at the Home Office 248 569-2500. The Director of the Plymouth location, Mary Buchin is only following her job duties and should not be subjected to calls and/or e-mails; her time needs to be focused on the children in her care not defending a policy that is in compliance with the State of Michigan guidelines.

To an extent, they're right. I know I'd certainly support people calling Patricia Elam directly instead of calling the day care center, but no one that I've spoken to (including reporters) has been able to track down direct contact information for Ms. Elam.

With that said, I'd STRONGLY encourage folks to go ahead and contact Karen Krygier at 248-569-2500. Let her know exactly what you think. ;)


  1. Blogger Judy | 11:30 AM |  

    Question: What happens when other parents are upset and remove their child from the daycare because they let the mom nurse in the 2 year old room?

    It is a business after all, and she's not their only client.

    While extended breastfeeding is fine and probably should be accepted, it's still a pretty radical concept to mainstream society that thinks extended breastfeeding is beyond 6 months.

    This should be allowed in an ideal world, but it's not like they're not letting her nurse.

    Maybe legislation would be the way to go instead of railing against the center.

  2. Blogger Jennifer | 11:38 AM |  

    Obviously no day care center can make everyone happy all of the time. They're going to have to pick and choose their battles.

    Here's the thing though... Moms would have just as much "right" to protest a policy that allows a 2 year old to nurse as to protest them NOT letting a 2 year old nurse. It's the right of a business to choose how to operate, but it's also our right to let them know exactly what we think of their policies.

    I think the issue in terms of the 2 year old is even if it's outside of the mainstream, where do you draw the line? Can she nurse at 18 months? At a year? At 6 months? After all, only 13% of moms are still exclusively breastfeeding at six months...that makes it outside the norm...

    While I would support legislation, the libertarian in me says that I really don't want to see it come to that. Legislation would FORCE people to do something with their business that they don't want to instead of allowing the capitalist system to work...

    That's what's happening right now. A mom is protesting by pulling her child from the center due to the policies and other moms that back her up are letting the center know exactly what they think.

    I'd much rather see a center reverse their policy and become more breastfeeding friendly on their own than force them to do it via legislation.

    That said, if legislation is what it takes...well I can probably back that option as well...

  3. Blogger MamaBean | 1:37 PM |  

    When you first wrote about this issue a couple of days ago I had the same thought as Judy, but more along the lines of a mom who had just successfully weaned being faced with a toddler who asks "how come so and so can still nurse but I can't?". I guess that's just one more conversation in a long list that you have with your child about the ways of the world. Not everything in this world is fair.

    But you bring up a good point Jen about drawing the line. I'd also like to address our society's weird obsession with dates - that at a certain age a child should be weaned. Like if you are 1 year and 364 days old it's still okay but when you are 2 years and one day old it's suddenly not. How does this make sense to a 2 year old?

  4. Blogger sara | 2:12 PM |  

    "The laws around the country that include that language were meant to ensure that mothers have SOMEWHERE to nurse if they want to go some place private. They were NOT meant to set up a situation where a mom can ONLY nurse in that location."

    I'm glad you mentioned this because it's obviously a huge difference in interpretation...

  5. Anonymous Lisa Attachment Parenting and Homeschooling | 2:28 PM |  

    Is the day care a profit day care or subsidized in anyway?

    "Extended" breastfeeding (and I use the italics because extended suggest that it you are doing something beyond ... ) will not be easily accepted by mainstream if women accept being banished to another room- or having the very act be so controversial that children can't see it.
    Once again the sexualization of breasts comes into play. I wish we could just get over it all ready.

  6. Blogger Natalie | 12:27 PM |  

    The posibility of a switch to 'you are only allowed to breastfeed HERE' from 'you are allowed to breastfeed anywhere' is why I am reluctant to support the new International Symbol for Breastfeeding that Mothering Magazine came up with (see http://www.mothering.com/sections/action_alerts/iconcontest/icon-winner.html )

  7. Blogger MamaBean | 2:09 PM |  

    That's an interesting take Natalie. I always thought of the symbol to mean "Breastfeeding encouraged here" rather than "Breastfeeding only allowed here". I hope that's not the direction it takes.

    I actually use that symbol on the sign on my door when I'm pumping at work. :-)

  8. Blogger mombyprofession | 7:17 PM |  

    Rainbow is a for-profit company that accepts state money for low income families needing child care.

  9. Anonymous Anonymous | 12:41 PM |  

    My Child used to go to Gi Gi Child Daycare 248) 543-7500
    27852 John R Rd, Madison Heights, MI.
    That place is the worst daycare ever. Kids are never fed enough. I asked another parent that used to take their kid there and she confirmed that. I saw junk food being given instead of healthy snacks. Workers are unprofessional, too firm and strict with the kids; they yell and scream at the kids them in different languages. I saw a worker yelling at an infant to get to sleep. As a result of what I saw, I removed my kids after 2 days of admitting them from that day care and called the state. The owner was never there when I called to complain. That place is a zoo and is never under any supervision what so ever. DON'T EVER THINK ABOUT TAKING YOUR KIDS OR RELEATIVES THERE!!

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