"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!"
For Aussie parents, the childcare struggle is real. So how do we stack up against the rest of the world?
Aussie childcare: How do we stack up against the world? 00:17:11
Navigating childcare choices was one of the hardest things I've had to do as a working mum.
When you do settle on a suitable carer or centre, you're essentially placing your trust in a complete stranger to care for your child according to your wishes.
"You feed her that slop?"
A single mum wrote into Slate's Dear Prudence column about an incident with her daughter's home daycare worker grossly overstepping the mark.
She said the "only bump in the road" seemed to arise on the first day when the mum, who had adopted her baby and therefore was not breastfeeding, produced formula and bottles for her daughter.
"You feed her that slop?" asked the child care worker, who had two children of her own and felt the need to shame the woman for the only way she could feed her baby.
The mum, who says she is used to such comments brushed it off and didn't think much of it until two months later.
Acknowledge your kid's strong emotions. When your child's meltdown is over, ask him, "How did that feel?" and "What do you think would make it better?" Then listen to him. He'll recover from a tantrum more easily if you let him talk it out.
The carer was breastfeeding her baby. Image: iStock.
"I about fell over"
Using a side door for parents to slip in without knocking one afternoon, the woman says she commenced the sign-out process when an assistant began to engage her in conversation.
"I wanted to get my daughter so I brushed by her," she said in the transcript with Daniel Mallory Ortberg.
"When I got to the area of the house where my daughter was, I about fell over. The daycare provider was NURSING MY BABY!"
The shocked mum marched over and took her daughter from the woman's arms and asked if she was crazy, and the carer's response was almost as appalling as the act itself.
"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!" she wrote.
Let that sink in a little bit. This woman has been trusting her baby to a carer who took it upon herself to feed her from her own breast instead of the formula the mother was providing.
The mum said her daughter will not be going back but has asked the advice column if she should take further action.
The woman grabbed her baby and left. Image: iStock.
Special times. Set aside a few minutes at a regular time each day when you can give your undivided attention to your child. This quiet calm time – no TV, iPad or phones - can be a confidence builder for young children. As little as five minutes a day can make a difference.
"She should definitely be reported"
Ortberg acknowledged the massive breach of trust and "total violation" caused by the carer and insisted the woman should be reported.
"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'," he said.
Sure, wet nurses have been around since the beginning of time, and there have been occasions where sisters or even close friends have stepped in and breastfed each other's babies when needed. But the bottom line here is that nobody asked this mum for permission to breastfeed the baby, and it was done behind her back. This was evident by the way the assistant tried to distract her and protect the despicable secret.
How far would you take it if this happened with your baby?