There has been an issue on whether the children in daycares should be given breast milk or formulas. This is an issue that has brought about mixed reactions from various scientists, daycare providers as well as some mothers. Not everyone advocates for the idea of exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months. While some mothers have adopted using whole milk and formulas for their toddlers some claim that they actually prefer breastfeeding and others even delay the weaning process. Daycare providers who are against the idea of mothers providing expressed milk have given various issues on why they are adamant to the idea. Again turning to the scientists in many cases they insist on exclusive breastfeeding if the mothers are in a position to do so owing to the multiple benefits of the milk to the baby. Others on the other side claim it is important but not necessary especially in settings that formula can be used. What does the government say? Policies have are for the idea of breastfeeding and even offer more incentives for those mothers who breastfeed. Additionally, there is no policy that prohibits children in daycares from taking the breast-milk. The dilemma comes in for parents who want to enroll their toddlers in daycares, should their children be allowed to continue taking their expressed milk or should they adapt to formulas?
“Mothers who are separated from their infants face a great deal of stress under the best of circumstances. The use, storage, and handling of their breast milk in daycare settings should not become another burden of concern for them. Breast milk is the best nutrition and health protection for the baby, whether it is delivered directly through nursing at mother’s breast or from a bottle by a caring child care provider.” This was La Leche League’s statement to daycare providers. This is a clear summary of the feelings of most mothers who have chosen to exclusively breastfeed. Every mother has a right to their toddler’s feeding and nutrition habits and therefore imposing restrictions is actually going against their rights. Despite the fact that those who are against their children taking formulas have a choice to take their toddlers to schools with more friendly policies, they shouldn’t be discriminated in any way. Actually, the law states their choice and protects their right to breastfeed clearly under the federal Sex Discrimination Act 1984.
According to the law any daycare provider profit or non-profit cannot refuse an application or fail to offer places for the children who are breastfed, has no permission to ask the mother to stop breastfeeding when a child joins daycare, must let the mother to either provide expressed milk or breastfeed in their premises, has to feed your child on breast milk if that’s what you please and support the mother in this as long as the child is in their hands. Some daycares today are for the idea that children adapt formulas and other supplements and actually start taking solids after the age of 6 months. However, Section 407.210 item #21 of the Administrative Code for IL State Daycare Licensing Standards states very clearly that “Children between 1 and 2 years of age who are not on human milk or infant formula shall be served whole milk unless low-fat milk is recommended in writing by the child’s medical provider.” This is a clear indication that a toddler whose mother provides expressed milk then the formulas shouldn’t be given in place of this milk or even as a supplement.
Some daycares raise concerns that other babies may take the expressed milk that is not from their mothers. They claim that such accidents occur especially when the expressed breast milk is in open cups. That is an issue but not strong enough to deny these mothers their rights. Just like it is a concern for children with allergies for cow milk to be provided with alternative milk so it is such an issue. Others complain of babies who have issues with bottles but that a slight issue that can be solved by either spoon feeding the child or asking the parent to provide a Sippy-cup. Therefore this a supervision concern and not a policy concern.
Daycares against breast milk for toddlers ask for notes from pediatricians if the child must be on “special diet”. In the first place breast milk is actually a necessity for a toddler hence no medical notes are required even the policies don’t state anything of the sort. Most management has misunderstood the USDA program that underwrites the cost of food and labor for children at daycares and other institutions even for adults too. This should not be the case since the USDA is very clear with its policies. After the age of 12 months, the USDA specifies that the child be fed whole milk (which the USDA assumes will be whole cowu2019s milk), but the FDA notes that u201cBreastmilk meets the requirement of a milk substitute and can be served to children over the age of 12 months.u201d Mom may need to have a note on file saying that she is providing expressed breast milk for her child (a medical statement is not required), and the facility will need to document that the parent provided breast milk (or any other foods) so they will get credit for having provided the proper foods even if they did not purchase all of them.
There are other complains from the daycare providers pertaining the same issue. They claim that for the toddler room is the last place that a teacher would want to be. Constant attention is required for each child, they to be fed at the right in the correct time spans and the teacher has to ensure that all requests by parents have been met. Additionally, the teacher has to take notes on the progress of the toddlers just in case there is anything that the parent needs know. They also have to ensure that diapers are often changed. As a result of these tasks, many will complain that having a child who is not taking formulas means more task for the teacher since in some daycares separate labeling of the milk bottles has to be done. Also, the teachers are also instructed to wear gloves when handling breast milk in such daycares. It is irrefutable that the teachers in daycares have lots to do but some of the extra restrictions are uncalled for. Additionally, the daycares could consider having only a manageable number of toddlers.
There are also cases where the daycares claim that the milk provided is insufficient. In most cases, the babies tend to take more formula than they do with breast milk. Some providers start pressurizing parents of such babies to adapt the formulas on grounds that the milk they put on the bottles is not enough. The mothers know what is best for their babies some do not want the stomachs of their toddler stretched by lots of milk. Actually what is important is the amount of nutrition, therefore, the pressure should not be there.
Breast milk remains the best food for a toddler. Daycares should not in any way prohibit mothers from providing expressed breast milk for their toddlers. Not only does this milk reduce the chances of getting infections like ear infections for toddlers but also provides sufficient nutrition for the child. Though science doesn’t give unequivocal study on exclusive breastfeeding, a mother who chooses to do so should be left unquestioned. Daycares should let mothers choose what is right for their babies. All the excuses given are concerns about supervision and management hence the ball is more in their court.
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Monsivais, Pablo, Shannon Kirkpatrick, and Donna B. Johnson. “More nutritious food is served in child-care homes receiving higher federal food subsidies.” Journal of the American Dietetic Association 111.5 (2011): 721-726.
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