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City Kids Day Care Update

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.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

It's been a week or so, so I thought I'd drop you an email to let you know a little bit about what's still going on behind the scenes here in Central Ohio as we work to deal with the City Kids Day Care center and their discrimination against breastfed children.

After contacting all of the State Senators that sponsored the breastfeeding in public bill (and subsequently having every email bounce *sigh*) I've finally heard back from an aide in Representative Jon Peterson's office. Rep. Peterson has taken an interest in the case and has asked his aide to look into the matter further. I've shared with them that our primary goal is to revise the guidelines for licenced day care centers in Ohio so that they would not be allowed to discriminate against a child based on that child's diet.

The goal here would be to make sure that breastfed children are protected, but also to make sure that other children with specialized diets (kosher, vegan, severe peanut allergies, etc...) would be protected as well.

If we're not able to go that route, then we will look to work with our State Reps and State Senators to draft a revision to the Ohio Breastfeeding in Public bill so that it would include the rights of breastfed children to be cared for at a licensed center without being discriminated against.

Robin has also been contacted by someone at the Centers for Disease Control after they spotted this blog. Apparently they have a department that works on child care issues and they plan on discussing this issue. Hopefully I'll have some word back from them and will be able to share it with you here.

Finally, one of my readers happens to specialize in infectious disease issues. I've asked her to put together some information to address the breast milk and disease issue so that I might share it with my readers.

It's slow going folks, but you have my word that I will continue to work with Robin (and others) on issues like this and that while it may take time, we WILL see this issue resolved somewhere down the road.


  1. Anonymous R. | 3:24 AM |  

    Thanks for the update, and I'm glad to know that the efforts for justice are continuing and that an Ohio legislator and the CDC are getting involved.

    You wrote:

    "The goal here would be to make sure that breastfed children are protected, but also to make sure that other children with specialized diets (kosher, vegan, severe peanut allergies, etc...) would be protected as well."

    I think I understand the desire to broaden the issue to cover more children and to emphasize that this is about children's needs, not lactivists' whims.

    However, doesn't it undermine the cause of normalizing breastfeeding to imply that it is a "specialized" diet?

    I would urge dropping the stuff about other children with specialized diets, and instead emphasizing that a diet of breastmilk is the biological norm for babies. Make it a public health issue, not a minority rights issue.

  2. Blogger Jennifer | 7:31 AM |  

    R., you make some good points, but I also disagree with you on one level.

    I have no idea what wording would be, that's not really up to me, it's up to the legislators or the people that write the Ohio Day Care code. Robin and I are simply aiming to explore all options to find the BEST and MOST LIKELY way to get the goal accomplished.

    The goal being: no mother having their child discriminated against simply because that child eats.

    My thinking in going for something a little broader in terms of wording (and we wouldn't use "specialized diet, but simply "not discriminate because of diet" or whatever...) is two fold.

    1.) The absolute first and foremost goal is to get something passed that will protect breastfed children. We still live in backwards time where breastfeeding is either seen as controversial or as something "not worth worrying about." My fear is that if the bill/proposed changes, etc... are ONLY about breastfeeding, that we will have far more difficultly getting votes scheduled. The truth is that many people just don't care.

    Look at the problems PA has had the last year or two getting their bill through. THey can't hardly even get it scheduled for a vote because the people on the Judidical committee don't see that there's a problem for breastfeeding moms, so why should they take the time to pass law when other, "more important" laws are waiting?

    Thus, if broadening the terms a bit (and this would mostly be if it was a change to the Ohio Day Care code) would make it MORE likely to get through and get through quickly...then I think that's what needs to be done.

    2.) What if you've got a center that wants to turn away formula fed babies because they get sick more? Is that ok? No. Same goes for allergies, religious diets and diets by choice (vegan, vegetarian.) No child should be discriminated against because of what they eat and I can't help but think that we do parents a disservice if we fight to get OUR kids protected but leave other people to fight to protect their kids.

    I think that when it comes to "normalizing" breastfeeding a lot of people have it backwards.

    How is it normalizing to have to pass laws protecting something? If we've got to pass a law to make sure that people can't discriminate against breastfed, doesn't that take us a step BACKWARDS?

    On the other hand, if we simply work to pass something that keeps children from being discriminated against by what they eat, then we put breastfeeding back in with EVERYTHING by making it simply a type of food...

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