It can be difficult to make some decisions in life, especially where the health and welfare of our children are concerned. Unfortunately, most parents have to work to make a living, so one of those decisions is going to involve the care of the children. Turning over the reins, so to speak, is not something to take lightly. It is especially troublesome when we hear about care providers, nannies and other individuals who are supposed to care for our children and end up doing something that is clearly inappropriate.
The anonymous mom in this story is at a crossroads. The fact is, the care provider she hired was caught breastfeeding her baby. It seems as if this had been going on for a couple of months. Her decision is whether to contact the authorities or to broadcast it on social media.
This story first appeared on Dear Prudence, an online advice column. As a single working mother, she had entrusted the care of her baby to someone experienced in the field. The caregiver had been involved in the business for about five years. The baby is adopted and the mother uses formula since she is unable to lactate.
“The only bump in the road was on the first day when I pulled out the formula and bottles, and she wrinkled her nose and said, ‘You feed her that slop?’ I ignored the barb (I’m used to it), gave a quick rundown, and went on my way,” the mom wrote.
It took two months but she eventually found out the secret. The care provider also has a baby about the same age as her daughter and she was lactating. The anonymous woman who was asking for advice said she entered the side door without knocking, which is permissible. As she went to get the child, the care provider saw her and tried to stall her.
The mother didn’t stop for a conversation because she was just too busy and walked right into the main area.
“When I got to the area of the house where my daughter was, I about fell over,” she wrote. “The daycare provider was NURSING MY BABY! I marched over, took the baby from her arms, and asked her if she was crazy. 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 mother is now not sure if it should be reported, if she should text other parents, check with the other kids or shout it from the rooftops on social media. She does feel that it may be overstepping her boundaries a bit to check on other children.
She has a lot of anger over the issue, which is understandable. She also realizes that the woman was doing what she thought was best, which is of concern as well.
The professional advice came from Daniel Mallory Ortber. He feels very strong on the fact that it should be reported.
“Oh my GOD. That is my first thought, is just: Oh, my GOD,” he wrote. “If this isn’t worth reporting her to a supervising agency, I don’t know what is. Yes, your baby is, in the long run, safe and sound. But 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.” This is a huge breach of trust, a total violation, and absolutely worth reporting. Please do it.”
Other women also had a lot to say on the comments section when it was posted on Facebook. One mother says: “Breast milk provides important nutrients as does formula. But breast milk can also carry infections and medicines which could be passed into a child,” she wrote. “I would be calling the police, the state board overseeing child care centers and an attorney. Her child’s health could be compromised.”
Another insightful comment was also offered: “It is also a biological, bodily fluid like blood, semen or saliva,” she explained. “If you spit on someone without permission, it is assault,” one person wrote. “If you deposit semen in someone without their consent, it’s rape. I would be horrified to discover that someone gave my child their breastmilk without asking my permission unless it was an immediate, life-threatening situation.”
As you might expect, there were some differing opinions on the subject. Some women feel that the unidentified woman should have been grateful for what was done. They feel that the nanny was doing her best to help.
“If I wasn’t able to breastfeed my own child, I would be eternally grateful if someone else offered to do so,” one person wrote. “Breast milk is by far the best source of nutrition for babies, and were you to pay for it, it would cost a fortune. But yeah, call the cops. Punish this woman for giving your baby invaluable nutrition. Typical American.”
Even though she may have been helping, there is a need for consent before breastfeeding another person’s baby. Most people will advise that breastfeeding is the best approach but that is beside the point. It has more to do with consent then anything else.
A mother may not be able to breastfeed for many different reasons, which typically means that formula must be used. It is not always an easy decision but depending on the circumstances, it may be necessary. Above all, it’s nobody else’s business what somebody chooses to do.