Originally posted 2/26/07
City Kids DayCare Chain Charges Mom MORE Money to Watch Breastfed Infant
Friday, February 23, 2007
Now if this one won't get your feathers ruffled, I don't know what will. It's about ten times more important that we spread the word on this than it was to spread the word about the Pork incident ladies, so please help me out.
Here's the deal...
There's a mother named Robin Neorr here in the Columbus area. After her daughter was born late last year and she went back to work, she enrolled her daughter in one of the City Kids Daycare in downtown Columbus.
Robin was told that she would need to pay an extra $50 per WEEK because her 3 month old daughter is breastfed. You read that right, an extra $50 a week to feed that little girl the best food available for her.
Well, Robin was given several reasons.
She was told that her milk was a hazardous body fluid that had to be kept separate from all other food. As such, the day care center kept the prepared bottles of breast milk in a separate refrigerator in the director's office. (They even labeled it with a "bio-hazard" sticker, apparently confusing breast milk with, I don't know...uranium?) They also claimed that they would have to purchase a separate warming pot for heating up the breast milk. In other words, they had to go through SOOO much extra trouble that they would have to charge her an extra fee.
What was their reasoning for needing all this extra fuss over breastmilk? Well, Robin was never really able to find out the answer to that question.
The Centers for Disease Control does NOT consider breast milk to be a fluid that requires "special precautions." The Ohio Department of Health also does not consider breast milk to require any special handling. In fact, when I searched the Ohio Administrative Code, I stumbled across Chapter 12, which covers the Rules for Licensed Child Care Centers. I found it VERY interesting to read the section on "Infant formula and food."
Here are a few snippets from it...
Center policies and practices shall support parent preferences in infant feeding, including breast feeding and introduction of solid foods as long as developmentally appropriate and not detrimental to the health of the child.
Infants shall be served food in conformity with dated written instructions from the parent or guardian or physician. The instructions shall include amounts of food, type of food, and feeding times and be updated as needed based upon the child's needs and parent's instructions.
Now, it gets more interesting if you keep digging. Here's what it says about the requirements for day care centers as they handle bottles of breast milk.
If breast milk is provided by the parent or guardian, it shall be labeled with the child's name and the date of receipt and immediately refrigerated or frozen. Refrigerated breast milk shall not be stored for more than twenty-four hours. Breast milk shall be kept frozen no more than two weeks.
If formula or breast milk is to be warmed, bottles shall be placed in a container of hot (not boiling) water or be placed in a commercial bottle warmer. The container of water shall be emptied and cleaned each day. The bottle shall be shaken well, and the milk temperature tested before feeding. Frozen breast milk shall be thawed under cold running water or in the refrigerator.
The unused portion of formula, breast milk or food remaining in a container from which the infant has been directly fed, shall not be reheated or served again.
Now, that doesn't really seem so tough does it? Take a gander at what's required for the handling of formula...
Bottles prepared at center: when infant formula is prepared by the center, it shall be prepared in conformity with written instructions from the parent or guardian, or physician. All powdered or concentrated formula shall be prepared according to the manufacturers' instructions unless written instructions from a physician or an advance practice nurse certified to prescribe medication are on file at the center.
The center shall clean and disinfect all counter surfaces and equipment needed to prepare the formula. All equipment shall be washed in a dishwasher or scrubbed with hot water containing soap, and be thoroughly rinsed. Equipment not washed in a dishwasher shall be boiled for five minutes or more just prior to filling bottles. Handwashing facilities shall not be used for formula or food preparation or for rinsing or washing dishes and bottles. Handwashing facilities shall not be used for formula or food preparation, or for washing dishes and bottles or rinsing for reuse.
Open containers of ready to feed and concentrated formula shall be covered, dated and refrigerated. Prepared formula and food shall be discarded if not used within twenty-four hours.
Any formula or food to be stored at the center for any period of time, whether prepared by the parent or guardian or the center, shall be labeled with the child's name and date of preparation and shall be used only for the intended child.
Until used, all formula or food shall be refrigerated immediately after preparation or upon arrival if prepared by the parent or guardian. Formula or food that is commercially prepared may not be required to be refrigerated until after opening. Formula and food shall be stored no longer than twenty-four hours.
Now tell me...which one do YOU think requires more work?
Here's where it gets even more interesting. One of the posters on the AP Village discussion forum called City Kids to ask about enrolling their own child. According to her post, here's what she was told:
"Well, I have to see, I think there is a new policy about breastmilk. We might charge extra or maybe we aren't taking them any more. It's nothing with me or the director but the owner has a problem with breastmilk."
When asked by the caller if they were serious she stated that "all day care centers are going to this policy soon."
Yeah, can you even believe it?
Now Ohio does have legislation giving moms legal protection when they breastfeed in public but it currently has no laws on the books in regards to the use of breast milk in day care centers. In fact, only the state of Louisiana has a law (House Bill 233) making it illegal for day care centers to discriminate against breastfed children.
Robin understandably wanted to avoid negative press while her daughter was still being cared for at the center. However, her daughter's last day was Tuesday and Robin is now on a crusade to not only spread the word about this day care center that has chosen to discriminate against breastfed children but also to push for new Ohio legislation that would keep this same situation from happening to other breastfeeding moms.
So, what do we need you to do?
First, help spread the word. It took all of two days for the National Pork Board to change their course when faced with the onslaught of phone calls and emails from the Lactivist community. If we can mobilize to protect one web site then we sure as heck can mobilize to show day care centers that we will not stand for this type of discrimination against breastfed babies. So please, blog the article, post it in your favorite discussion forums, get the word out.
Second, make your voice heard with the parties involved. Patricia Elam has owned and operated the downtown Columbus and Hilliard City Kids centers since 1989. If you'd like to contact her to let her know what you think of her center's policies, you can email City Kids at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can call either of their centers at (614) 464-1411, or (614)777-4320.
If you are a Central Ohio mom and would be on board for a potential nurse-in at City Kids Daycare, please drop me an email so that I can start building a contact list. If you are a mom anywhere in Ohio, please give serious thought to contacting your local representatives and your state senators about the need to push through legislation that would protect breastfed children.
If you are a lawyer or know one that might be interested in taking on a civil suit against City Kids Day Care, get in touch with me and I'll get you in touch with Robin. If you are a reporter that would like to cover the story, drop me a note and I will DEFINITELY get you in touch with Robin.
We can not let day care centers dictate what we feed our children.
2 years ago