Daycare is Forcing Us to Feed our 13 Month Old Crap (long rant)


Robin D

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I've been reading this thread with great interest, and, although I don't have children, I really feel for you Robin!!

It seems that you're doing all you can do, given the circumstances. Just fill your little one up with as much good stuff as you can at home, try to get that doctor's note about allergies, and hang on until your mom gets there. Is there any food you can supplement her diet with that would further increase her "resistance" to anything she's receiving at day care - I don't know, something like probiotics or ???

You're an amazing mom!! If parents cared even 10% as much as you do we'd be an entirely different country of healthy people!!

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Goddesslynne: What a nice, incredibly flattering thing to say. I truly appreciate your kind words. I am trying to set my kid up to be successful in every way I can without going overboard and still having some balance in my life. This is not an easy task. In fact, parenting if far harder than anything else I've ever done.

We started giving her probiotics at 3 months. She started getting sick as soon as she started daycare in February, so we began adding the probiotics from the yogurt we make at home (I'm really making us sound like big hippies, aren't I?) to the breast milk she took at daycare. My husband is really into probiotics and the science that supports it (he's an Immunologist). We conveniently forgot to mention that to daycare when we brought it in every day. God knows what sort of rule would've been breaking.....

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Sounds like you might need to change tactics a little.

You probably did offend the director and it made her dig in her heals even more. She wants to force you to have your daughter eat their food now because she has a point to prove. She wants you to give in so she can have the satisfaction of proving you wrong.

I have been a provider before and I know how hard the food rules can be to follow. When you go to a higher up tell them you really understand they probably are having to follow some really annoying meal planning rules and it must be hard to accomodate those rules and the majority of families. Express your (false) appreciation for the hard work the director put into making the menu. Then you can let them know that you follow an alternative diet and since they accomodate vegetarians would they please accomodate your dietary practices. Come armed with a list of the no-no foods you do not eat. Ask if they can adapt their menu for those needs. I would also mention that your daughter has been having some symptoms that may be related to a food sensitivity or allergy. Tell them it is very important she stick to the dietary practices you use at home so you can figure out what that allergen might be. Mention you will be working with your pediatrician to figure out the allergy. As a provider I was always cautious with allergies. The last thing I wanted was a kid to go into anaphylactic shock on my watch! Hopefully adapting the menu for you AND the vegetarians will sound like too much work and they will give in and allow you to bring your own food.

When it comes to taking care of yourself and your kids when your beliefs are not mainstream a little flattery and understanding goes a long way. People are so much more receptive to hearing about alternative dietary practices when it is presented in a nice way not forced on them and it does not make them feel like they are inferior for following mainstream information.

A drs note would be great too!

Good luck and I hope you take this stand for your child. Once a child gets a taste for crap food it is really hard to go back. Ask me how I know..... :( That conventional food really messes up the taste buds and is so addictive. Why mess up a good thing even for a little while!?!?!?!

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  • 2 weeks later...

CrunchyGranola is right. If you are considering going over the director's head, chances are she has already "primed" her boss to expect you -- and expect that you will prove to be an arrogant, unreasonable zealot who is impossible to reason with. So present yourself as a sympathetic, appreciative, cooperative, but very concerned parent.

And FYI, I served for several years on the board of directors for a very high-quality, not-for-profit daycare center, and NO WAY would we ever have refused to feed a child alternative nutritious food provided by her parent. Ironically, our biggest battles were with parents whose kids wanted to bring in piles of candy, even once (I kid you not:) a cake frosting sandwich!

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CrunchyGranola and bonynancy: Since this daycare is affiliated with a university and the director's boss is the dean of the College of Education (and, from what I've heard the director is not in the best standing with the Dean), she has very little contact with him and I doubt she has spoken with him. I could be wrong, but I doubt it.

Tomorrow is D day as far as switching V over to toddler crap food. I have been dreading this for almost a month.

We've decided to talk to the doc about getting a note when V goes in for her 15 month appointment. I don't know what she'll say, but we're just going to see what happens. One interesting thing that's popped up is V's very mild eczema seems to have flared up (I had forgotten she was diagnosed with it because it seemed to go away and I think that's what I had mistakenly referred to as a rash in an earlier post) and I'm starting to wonder if that has anything to do with the very small amount of grains we have allowed her to have recently (holidays and traveling made it difficult to feed her exactly what we want). I think I'm going to talk to the doc about removing grains from her diet to see if the eczema clears up. From what I understand eczema and bloating can be a sign of gluten intolerance.

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I am rooting for y'all! And I hope that a doctors note will help you avoid at least some of the crap food. It's amazing that in this modern society you have to fight to have your child eat healthy, normal food....so crazy and backwards but you are doing all that you can for V and I love that!!

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Hi Robin, I had a similar issue when I had my 18-month old in a commercial daycare at 8 months. I was doing baby-led weaning and they let me bring in my own food but the daycare workers wouldn't feed it to him because they "were afraid he was going to choke" on the foods I provided. Then they would give him more breastmilk than needed (that steamed me because that stuff is like liquid platinum when you're pumping 3-4 times a day!!), and feed him crap like crackers and yogurt "because he was obviously hungry", and sweets "because it was someone's birthday/a holiday/etc". Combine that with little to no naptime (15 - 45 minutes a day!), and their sudden unwillingness to accommodate cloth diapering (which the director assured me they could do, but then started making me jump through hoops to do), and I was fed up. The final straw was my son kept getting fevers (no other symptoms) that kept him home from daycare, so then I was paying for daycare to stay home from work with him.

I finally posted a rant on Facebook asking for daycare recommendations and ended up finding an in-home caretaker who was willing to accommodate all my special requests. I live in a tiny southern town and I know I'm considered strange because of them, and I get a little flack from her almost daily about the food I bring because she thinks it's so weird that I feed him spaghetti squash and meat muffins, or the cloth diapering bc she's old school and doesn't think disposables are a health concern, but she still takes care of his food/nap/diapering needs as I would. And bonus - in-home care is cheaper!

Anyway, after all that (I guess I needed to do my own rant, haha), I just wanted to suggest looking into in-home care instead of a commercial daycare, if that's an option. They're a lot more flexible in the regulations, at least here. Good luck and I'll be following your thread for updates!!!

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Rant on, sister! It sounds like your daycare was reading the same book our's was. I used to get SO angry when they would overfeed V! I would try to explain that 5 oz of breastmilk every 2 hours was too much but they refused to listen to me, even after I told them I was being repeatedly told that that was waaaay too much by medical professionals and LCs. I actually had the head of the Infant Room tell me months later that she finally went to a breastfeeding infomation setting for daycare workers and she found out that she should never give a baby 8 oz of breastmilk at once!!!!!! For real??? I really like this woman (this isn't the director, but the head of Infant Room) but I really had to hold back from shaking her. I had told her that breastmilk and formula were different no less than 2 dozen times (not an exaggeration) but they never listened to me. I had noticed that there were a lot of women who started breastfeeding at the daycare and then stopped for whatever reason. Well, now I know one possible reason why--they couldn't keep up with that kind of demand. Almost all the bf babies were getting between 5-6 oz at a time. Oh, I could go on with my stories...

I'm actually taking V into her pediatrician in about an hour to talk about her worsening rash, bloating and flatulance. I'm going to present my case for a note and trying a gluten free diet (my husband is not thrilled about this) and see what happens. Please, cross your fingers for me!

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I really hope you are able to resolve this issue and as the mother of a toddler I understand how frustrated you are and am on your side. I too live in a small town (in the south) where my food choices for myself and my child are often given the once over. Strangely enough, I have actually had similar problems even with my stay at home nanny. No matter how many times I have asked her to not take him to McDonalds, or not to stop and get him a biscuit in the morning, or bring him cake, cupcakes or whatever, she still does it. She is an older lady and she's set in her ways i guess (who also has a plethora of health problems herself, but we won't get into that), but I love her too much to do anything about it. I just make sure that when he's with me he eats like I do and try as hard as I can to prepare healthy meals for him that she can give him during the day. I am not by any means saying you should back down. Fight on sista! I would too especially given the bad attitude of the director.

Is there any way they would consider adding more healthy snacks to their menu? So at least she wouldn't be eating terribly the whole time. Try suggesting fruit, yogurt is not terrible, neither is cheese. These more conventional snacks may not be so unfamiliar to them that they may consider doing it.

As many other people have said, talk to your pediatrician, which I am suspecting you are doing at this very moment according to your last post. Hopefully he/she will understand your plight and realize that you are not asking him to "lie" or fabricate information but to help you make healthy choices for your child. I have never met anyone that challenges a doctor's orders. (Although I'm sure there are some that would)

If worse comes to worse just know that you have done everything in your power to help prevent this from happening, which in itself makes you a better parent than most. As much as I hate to say it, and as much as you probably hate to hear it, it is not the end of the world if she has to eat this crap for a few months. It may be tough to get her back to healthier foods since she is so used to the artificial tastes of the food she's been consuming. But, with your determination, I'm sure that won't be a problem.

Finally, If you want to get really mean ;) start a smear campaign on Facebook...just a thought

Love to hear what finally happens though and good luck

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Our doctor won't write me a note. I'm disappointed. Really, really disappointed as she has been totally sympathetic to the problems I've had with the daycare before. She said she couldn't really write me a note without a "reason" (she doesn't think V's mild eczema is related to any sort of gluten related sensitivity) and even if she did write one for a possible allergy the daycare could come after her and question her. She told me my best bet was to find in home daycare or a nanny. Like I can just snap my fingers and pull one out of the air.

On a side note, one really annoying thing about the conversation I've had with our pediatrician and a nurse at the office is that they BOTH said all gluten sensitivities are Celiac Disease and I know that isn't true; the peer reviewed journal articles, as well as all the other info I've looked at on line have said there is a distinct difference. I even double checked this with my husband, who's a freakin' Immunologist and he stated that there was definitely a difference.

Why can't I raise my kid the way I want to? Why is everyone getting in my way? I'm going to go stew on this for awhile and then we'll figue out where to go from here. We're running out of options.

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I'm so sorry to hear this! You know you have the option of looking for another doctor, but I know how time consuming that can be (and how little time you have at your disposal right now). You have some tough decisions to make right now, and I hope you know that we're here to help you talk through them all.

Hugs (and patience)!

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That's a hell of a thing. First, that you are apparently more informed about nutrition than your doctor. And second, that your doctor is willing to subvert her own medical authority in deference to a commercial enterprise.

Remember one thing: You pay them both.

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Robin, I am so sorry about this. When you think of all the kids fed crap diets growing up obese and sick, it seems so ironic to have such a battle to bring your daughter up on a healthy diet. My 'kids' are now in their twenties and when I look at what they eat now and their current state of health, I sooo wish I'd known all this when they were younger. Your daughter is really lucky to have you for a mum.

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Thanks again, everyone, for all of your feedback! I was really shocked that my pediatrician, who I have a good personal and professional relationship with (the medical students who I advise rotate through her office), denied me this one request. I hesitate to switch because she has been great about everything else.

We have tentatively started looking at in-home daycares and the possibility of having a sitter/nanny come to our home to watch V until my mom moves to town (we'll only need part time care then). Some will let me bring in my own food but the toddler to teacher ratio is not so great nor is their sleeping situation (one suggested that for her morning nap, V could sleep in the kitchen) I have learned to brace myself every time I talk to someone at a in home daycare about their menu. Hotdogs, anyone? I guess it's better than the chicken nuggets and mac 'n cheese my V will be getting on Thursday at the daycare she's currently at. :angry:

On a side note, bonnynancy, you mentioned that it was incredible that I knew more about nutrition and gluten sensitivity than our pediatrician did. I actually was not surprised by her lack of knowledge at all. I'm working on a study right now with some colleagues examining physicans attitutudes towards the nutrition education they receive while in medical school (which is, I kid you not, ZERO except maybe in their biochemistry courses in their first year and even then it's limited) as well as how they (the physicans and future physicans we're interviewing) view their role as health care providers in educating their patients on nutrition. It's fascinating stuff, people. Your average primary care phyisicans have absolutely no training in nutrition whatsoever. Keep that in mind the next time you ask them a nutrition related question.

Anyway, we will forge on. We can't take her out of DC until we are sure we have a good situation. I can't afford to lose what have now no matter how much the menu kills me.

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Oh man. I'm sorry to hear you didn't get anywhere. I can't believe they are being so inflexible. Surely it's your choice how your child is fed, and nutrition is pretty fundamental.....

Hope you get somewhere finding alternative care. The closed mindedness of the medical profession boggles the mind really. It's the same here in the UK, doctors in general do not support people following gluten free diets if they are non-coeliac. My cousin is coeliac like me, and has 3 kids - 2 coeliacs and one non coeliac, and non coeliac husband. Her kitchen is totally GF, the eldest has terrible irritable bowel because his coeliac disease was missed until he was 10, and he can't tolerate any grains. Her kids all eat the same, even the middle one who isn't coeliac. Her doctor told her that she should be feeding the middle child gluten because he isn't coeliac and he could be missing out on nutrients! Now I don't know of any nutrients that gluten containing products have that you can't get from fruit and veg....argh, the ignorance is so frustrating :angry:

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I was extremely lucky with my GP. I was tested for coeliac 12 years ago and it came back negative. My GP reckoned there were a ot of false negatives and told me to give it up anyway. The British Medical Journal has now officially come out and said that many people are gluten intolerant while not actually testing positive for coeliac.

The problem over here is that health staff have to 'stick to the party line'. I had a friend who was a staff nurse specialising in diabetes. She eventually gave up her job; she couldn't handle the depression, coming home night after night and crying her eyes out at having to tell parents to feed their kids the standard diabetic diet, very high carb and cereal laden and then looking at how poorly the kids were doing.

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Wow. I have my daughter in daycare. Unfortunately, I didn't know/read/hear about Paleo until she was 2. So we are now weaning her off the crap but havent tackled school yet. She will go to kindergarten next year and we plan on sending lunches with her. But with our daycare, we can send in food for her and they will feed it to her. I just haven't yet (I know I suck as a mom....there's other proof of that. :-( ). When she is home she eats paleo or to be honest, some paleo-ified meals. She snacks on bell peppers. I wish I had known when she was born as then it would not be such an issue for me to wean her. (We have other food issues...she eats everything we put in front of her....just tries excuses first and then takes FOREVER!!!! I've limited her time and still do but seriously, dinner is a battle...just not about what is being eaten).

Anyway, sorry you are going through this, I have to agree with Robin that they must be getting reimbursed based on the number of meals eaten because otherwise, why would they care? I just don't get that. Good luck.

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If this daycare is hard to negotiate with, might be worth approaching some other daycares you'd be willing to switch to, with better food accommodation. Business is business ;)

When you speak to the Director's boss, make it clear you're considering leaving due to the poor level of service provided. Nutritiion for a child is a part of their primary care.

Failing all other options, find a local enthusiastic journalist who'd be willing to cover the menus at local daycare with input from nutritionists on whether they're appropiate (this option will not make you popular).

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