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City Kids Day Care Story Makes the Front of the Columbus Dispatch

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.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Robin Neorr's incident with a downtown Columbus day care center has made the front page of the Columbus Dispatch this morning. The article includes the first public statement that I've seen or heard anywhere from City Kids about the matter.

"Breast milk is very different than other foods. It is a bodily fluid which cannot and must not be interchanged between infants. This takes rigorous individual attention. Parents pay for this specialized service."

Hmm...call me crazy, but I never really thought of giving kids the proper bottle to be "specialized service." In fact, I kind of count that as an absolute baseline ability for someone that I would entrust my children to. In fact, Chris Smith, a lactation consultant interviewed for the story points out that this is also an issue for formula fed children, citing the fact that some children are on specialized formulas due to allergies.

The full article is quite interesting, lots of quotes from Robin, the center, a lactation consultant, LLL, the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services, etc...

The center, City Kids Daycare, told her it doesn't store breast milk on site, she said. And she would have to bring a bottle in every time her daughter, Ceili, got hungry.

"I didn’t really think it was fair, but at that point I was so pregnant and miserable," said Neorr, of Clintonville, noting that she learned about the policy a couple of weeks before her daughter was born on Nov. 5.

Later, the center agreed to accept her bottled breast milk if she paid an extra $10 a day. She paid the fee for eight weeks until she found an opening at a center that doesn’t charge.

At City Kids, her breast milk was kept in a different refrigerator from the bottles of infant formula. A sign on the refrigerator read "biohazard," and once she saw an employee’s cream cheese in the same refrigerator, she said.

"What I didn't think to ask was, 'Do they accept breast milk or not?' because I didn't think it was something you have to ask," Neorr said this week. "It seems pretty obvious."

Unfortunately, City Kids statement looks to me like rather than realizing that they may have made a mistake, they're instead planning on digging in their heels in the hopes of outlasting the publicity.

I don't know about the rest of you, but I don't plan on dropping this story until it's resolved in a way that includes no longer discriminating against breastfed children and in training their staff well enough that they don't have to worry about children getting the wrong bottles.

UPDATE: They also just put the question of whether or not day care centers should treat milk as a biohazard up as their "Hot Topic" vote. Please go vote and help spread that link far and wide!

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  1. Blogger Sarahbear | 7:19 AM |  

    It does sound like they don't want to change their policy. I hope that breastfeeding and formula feeding mothers both take their business elsewhere. Hurt them in their wallets and that will get their attention. This is ridiculous.

  2. Blogger tiny-dog | 7:37 AM |  

    I sent them a link to "Caring for our Children" (National Health and Safety Performance Standards: Guidelines for Out-of-Home Child Care Programs) by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Public Health Association, which outlines breastmilk handling procedures for day care centers. It is outrageous and unacceptable for them to craft their own discriminatory, bunk-science policy in violation of AAP standards. Day cares need to adhere to standards that have childrens' best interests in mind and if they don't, they shouldn't be in business.

  3. Anonymous Mary Jo | 7:46 AM |  

    WOW! It's great that this is front page news! I'm glad to know that the people of Ohio (and, hopefully, other areas soon) have access to this ridiculous story. Hopefully this will help push forward legislation around the country to protect breastfed infants! One of my first thoughts when I read about this was that many moms who were already struggling with leaving their babies in day care would stop pumping if they had to pay extra day care costs. One of the great benefits of breastmilk is that it's free . . . but charging extra to give breastfed babies bottles? There are certainly moms for whom that would be the final straw that led to them quiting breastfeeding. Let's hope we can make some legislative progress!

  4. Anonymous amygeekgrl | 8:39 AM |  

    it's unfortunate that they don't seem likely to budge on this issue. good that it's getting publicity though. hopefully people will wise up and take their kids out of the program.

    i voted and commented.

  5. Blogger mrsmalaney | 9:32 AM |  

    OSHA recognizes that breastmilk is safe and may be stored in a regular location. People should really look up standards before trying to label somethinga s a biohazard.

  6. Anonymous Anonymous | 10:32 AM |  

    I was voting on the Hot Topic link, and someone (a mom actually) asked why working moms even bother to breastfeed!?!?

    Yikes!! We have a lot of work to do!

  7. Blogger Eilat | 11:16 AM |  

    The LLL leader's remark in the article is what made me the saddest. Ignorance about breastfeeding probably is at the heart of this, but anyone working at a daycare center should be fully informed about feeding babies, *especially* breastfeeding.
    Sadly, this is not the case. I searched like mad for a daycare that would suit me and my son. One place I visited seemed like a very nice place and had about 15 babies. They were very cool about accepting frozen milk and showed me the part of their freezer reserved for that. It was empty. They had 15 cubby holes with 15 jars of formula for the other kids at the center.

    so depressing. sigh...

    I chose the woman who cares for my son (along with 4-5 other kids in her home) because when I asked her if she knew how to handle my breastmilk she answered "sure! all my babies were breastfed." (unfortunately, that is no longer true as a few new kids have joined). She was hired immediately and over a year later, I couldnt be happier.

  8. Blogger Kind of Crunchy Mama | 12:00 PM |  

    Ugh! What willful ignorance. I blogged about it and sent another e-mail. When will these people get it that discrimination is not ok?


  9. Blogger EileenGallia | 9:01 AM |  

    Is cow's milk a biohazard then?

  10. Anonymous Anonymous | 7:01 AM |  

    It's been a year since this post and I wonder if there is some way we could follow-up on it. If the center has the same policy, they should be reminded of how misguided they are.


  11. Blogger Jennifer Laycock | 7:17 AM |  

    same policy. I still occasionally hear from local moms who have called them in their hunt for day care and ran into this same policy.

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