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


Robin D

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Wow, I am so sorry you are going through all this! My baby V is 12 now, and we were lucky enough that she did not need daycare until kindergarten. However...it was the first time she was exposed to group meals, also provided by the daycare.

Basically, we went through the same thing. Government subsidized crap food, no bringing in food from home. I decided at first to go along with it, but then witnessed how my daughter was eating during lunch. The kids were able to serve themselves, and there was no monitoring how much of one food the child ate. So she would eat only chicken nuggets, because she hadn't had them before and thought they were the bomb. She would over eat too, chow down on something like 10 at a time. When I brought up to the teacher that this was ridiculous they told me they could not suggest to the child "for legal reasons" what to choose and how much they could choose from the food. What? They also put canned fruit in jello and called it the fruit serving. It was really disgusting, and I wasn't even coming from a Paleo perspective then.

They also thought I was was the crazy mom. They tried to persuade me that I was wrong, and that she liked the food so what was the big deal? It was very subversive. We only lasted a few months then switched over to at home daycare, as others did.

Kids making good food choices is very difficult once they leave the sanctity of your own home. I can see that pre-school children are particularly vulnerable when sitting down as a group in one classroom to eat the same food. Someone mentioned above how ironic it is that they argue bringing in healthy food, and I couldn't agree more.

Just a thought, are there any Montessori based pre-schools/daycares near you? The price is higher, but worth the natural way of living.

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I wanted to wait for the proverbial dust to settle before I posted the latest on this situation (because now it's really gotten interesting). Thankfully, it seems like things may have finally calmed and this situation with the daycare and that...woman who runs it may be resolved.

So, on to the latest:

A week ago Thursday my daughter had what could only be called a pretty dramatic allergic reaction to gluten. We had given her some home made whole wheat pizza (I know, I know. Hey, all I can say is this: I'm not the only parent in our household and my husband isn't paleo, so sometimes I have to compromise for the sake of martial peace, and besides, an occasional paleo break isn't the end of the world) and within a couple of minutes she started getting really fussy. I thought maybe she wasn't hungry until I noticed her hands were breaking out into a bright red rash. Then she started scratching them, spit out the food she was eating and tried to get out of her high chair. My husband pulled her out, and took off her clothes and she stared scratching where her diaper and belly were. After I gave her a bath she seemed to calm down, but I noticed when I pulled her out of the tub the rash was on her face and right leg and her tummy was bloated.

My husband, God bless him (I mean that), spent all day last Friday going back and forth with our pediatrician's office about V's reaction. First they told him it was benign (WTH?!) and basically told us not to worry about it. He explained that it wasn't benign and that it had been a true allergic reaction. At some point the nurse he was speaking to started arguing with him about how all gluen allergies are celiac disease. Finally, my husband told her he was Immunologist and that he knew for a fact that there was a difference between celiac disease, wheat allergies, and gluten sensitivity, and that, in his opinion what he had seen in our daughter was an allergic reaction and that she was exhibiting signs of gluten sensitivity. That, apparently, ended the argument. Then the nurse didn't seem understand why we couldn't bring in our own food to the daycare or why we needed a note stating that we needed to bring in our own food. My husband kept saying, "Trust me, we need a note. Please, just fax in a note that says we have to bring in our own food."

The pediatrician's office, of course, didn't fax in the note on Friday, which prompted problems with the daycare on Monday. The stupid daycare director called me on my cell phone on Monday and when I refused to answer she found my office number and called me at work. She really still wanted to feed V her crappy menu, except this time gluten free. I tried explaining to her that if V were to have a truly gluten free diet that she needed to avoid over 30 some ingredients and that it would be extremely difficult for them to do. She said that they needed a note of every single ingredient that they were to avoid followed by a suggested replacement for each said ingredient (a totally ridiculous request, in my opinion--it took us days to get a note from the doc's office stating she couldn't have gluten, can you imagine how difficult it would be to get a note that stated ingredients to avoid and suggested substitutions?!). Finally, I said I didn't understand why we couldn't just bring in our own food since creating an entirely gluten free menu for her at their facility may be extremely difficult or impossible with some dishes. She stated that in that case we would have to have a note that stated exactly that (which is what I had requested and was waiting on from the doctor). Seriously, what is wrong with this woman?

FINALLY, the ped's office faxed in the note on Monday. When I went in on Tuesday, however, I got this huge attitude from the woman that takes care of V; she acted as if I was somehow inconveniencing them (she didn't say, but there was this sense of resignation over having to give her food that we had brought in). I know she probably got an angry phone call from the director and is tired of dealing with all this drama over food. I know I am. I kept repeating that we couldn't have V tested for food allergies until she was two years old, that we didn't know if the next time she had a reaction if her reaction would get worse (e.g. next time she would start wheezing in addition to breaking out into a rash) and that we simply could not risk them fixing her anything that could even possibly have a gluten in it. I was livid when I left because I got the distinct impression that all this woman could think about was what an inconvenience this was to her and her staff, nevermind how incredibly stressful this has been for me and my husband (who, by the way, was out of town this entire week, and left me to deal with the director by myself). I got in my car after leaving the classroom and screamed, cried and swore profusely for several minutes just to get it out of my system. It was that or become completely unglued on the daycare personnel.

So, as it stands now we are bringing in our own main dish plus vegetables and/or fruit and the daycare is giving V snacks of fruit/vegetables and occasionally gluten free crackers. We'll have V tested for both a gluten allergy and other food allergies once she gets older.

I really hope this is the end of the daycare drama. And yes, once we remove her from daycare there and send her to Montessori (which we have planned on doing but can't until she's two), I plan on writing a very long letter to the director's boss letting him know our experience with the daycare.

Man, being a parent is HARD.

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Jesus Christ. I'm so sorry that V had such an intense reaction, Robin! But I'm glad that you FINALLY got what you needed. I cannot believe it took as much as it took you to get it. You have far more patience than I.

I love that the daycare really wanted to give her gluten free crap, and go through the trouble of hunting down each and every little ingredient...as opposed to you just bringing in your own food...which is _SIMPLE_.

So crazy.

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Jesus Christ. I'm so sorry that V had such an intense reaction, Robin! But I'm glad that you FINALLY got what you needed. I cannot believe it took as much as it took you to get it. You have far more patience than I.

I love that the daycare really wanted to give her gluten free crap, and go through the trouble of hunting down each and every little ingredient...as opposed to you just bringing in your own food...which is _SIMPLE_.

So crazy.

I agree. The director would NOT leave the idea of trying to substitute ingredients alone though. Her ego is obviously getting in the way of clear thinking here. I was starting to get super frustrated with her on the phone (remember, we had a yelling argument over this back in December, so she's seen my temper and I don't think she wanted to go there.....) I would NOT describe myself as patient, ever, but I am getting better and I do have to have daycare. Plus, I really want to resolve this once an for all.

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Oh! And it is also INSANE that the only reason that your nurse relented on the allergy/sensitivity/celiac thing was because your hubby's an immunologist. What hope is there for the rest of us in doc's offices.

Oh, don't think that's lost on me, nor is the fact that my husband has boy bits as opposed to girl bits like me. I do think there is an element of you're-just-being-one-of-those-fretting-women. I feel like moms, especially first time moms like me, get that on occasion, particularily from physicians. And don't forget, this is the THIRD time I've called about this. I suspected over a month ago this was going on when V had a much milder reaction. Turns out I was right and everyone, including my husband, thought this was a matter of me seeing things because of my own preferences for paleo food. Huh. Imagine that: I was right to begin with! SHOCKER!!!

I have a stack of articles on gluten sensitivity v.s. celiac disease that I can refer anyone to if they're interested. One in particular from BioMed Central, "Spectrum of gluten-related disorders: consensus on new nomenclature and classification" is particularily good. I plan on giving this one to our pediatrician. You know, just so she's informed.

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I have a stack of articles on gluten sensitivity v.s. celiac disease that I can refer anyone to if they're interested. One in particular from BioMed Central, "Spectrum of gluten-related disorders: consensus on new nomenclature and classification" is particularily good. I plan on giving this one to our pediatrician. You know, just so she's informed.

I actually love that one :)

EDIT:

Oh, don't think that's lost on me, nor is the fact that my husband has boy bits as opposed to girl bits like me. I do think there is an element of you're-just-being-one-of-those-fretting-women. I feel like moms, especially first time moms like me, get that on occasion, particularily from physicians.

Oh, and I hate people. :-\

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<Hug> Man! I'm sorry baby V had that reaction, I'm really sorry you are having to deal with all this, and JEEZ! Stupidity! I, umm, rant below...

and I can't believe the daycare is responding like that! Are they willing to risk having a baby in a true emergency state (not being able to breathe) just because they want to feed their own food? Would they respond like this to a kid with a peanut allergy? It reminds me of the idea that multiple people have to be killed in an intersection before a stoplight can be put in.

I'm a fan of being proactive!

I work in an emergency room and I can tell you if you brought a baby in with what sounds like a rash over most of her body, including near her airway, you would have gotten immediate attention!

I applaud you for listening to your intuition! Keep trusting yourself; you are a fantastic advocate for Baby V.

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How awful! I can't imagine having to go through that. When I was interviewing preschool directors, every single one said it was no problem to accommodate us bringing our own meals, to protect my daughter from having an allergic reaction.

That said, many daycares don't want to accommodate vegetarian diets either. When my oldest was in daycare, they repeatedly gave my daughter meat (which made her cry in the night) and milk (which made her projectile vomit) against my wishes.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I know I'm a little late on this topic, but wanted to say I understand. When I was in the market for a daycare, every one I checked followed the state nutrition plan which included pop tarts for breakfast 2x per week. It was seriously horrible, and I had to get a doctor's note to say that my son would be allowed to have breastmilk at daycare after 12 months. Ridiculous. Anyway, I finally found one that had an agreement where I had to sign a consent form saying that I would provide all my son's meals and snacks, the cost of day care would stay the same, and they are not required to meet his nutritional needs. The compromise was that if he didn't eat the food I provided, he would have the option to eat chicken nuggets or whatever the other kids were eating. Go over that lady's head and see if you can set something like this up!

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  • 1 month later...

Coming from a centers perspective.. I have been in a childcare center as a teacher and a program supervisor for the past year. I can tell you that our meals come from the health and food guidelines from the state. With that said I do believe there can be improvement on what the "kitchen" chooses to provide. The director and cook are required (at least in WA) to attend classes on what the state feels is best and balanced nutrition for children. However we are human not always educated in nutrition (although most seems to be common sense). I try to put my own advice/opinion into what I feed the kids in my class and influence the overall food program. I also substitute when medically required and try to accommodate the parents wishes. Bottom line my suggestion to you and anyone else who is concerned about their child's childcare lunch/snacks, instead of telling them what is wrong with their program suggest some changes. As an educated person in nutrition, offer to help them "revamp" their food program. I would love if someone came to me and offered that. Like you I am concerned for my children. That is why the take their lunch to school (they are in grade school now). It is my hope that this encourages you not offends you. Blessings

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  • 2 years later...
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I ran an in home daycare for over two years and had no problem with people bringing in their own food.  You may look into an in home daycare.  The home setting is best for the children too.  Lower ratio gives more care and love to the kids and you do not have the politics to deal with.  Just a thought.

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