When mom Krystal Swift was told by her child’s day care that her daughter would no longer be allowed to drink her breast milk once she turned 13 months old, she decided to take matters into her own hands.
Swift’s husband is active duty military and is currently deployed. While Swift works part time, her daughter attends the military day care. The center told her that they would accept cow’s milk, goat’s milk and soy milk, but not human milk for her daughter.
Swift wasn’t ready to stop breastfeeding or pumping, so she began to research other Military Child Development Centers. She asked several about their policies, and after countless conversations between her and the USDA, FDA and military CDC, she learned that the policy stated that women were actually allowed to supply their child with breast milk for as long as they want.
So why did the day care staff say she couldn’t? Were they unaware of their own policies, or was this some sort of discrimination?
It’s not a day care’s job to decide what sort of milk they’ll allow a child to have. It’s especially not their duty to tell a mother providing her own breast milk to them for her daughter that she will be cut off once her child turns 13 months old. It’s not like they were handed the task of locating a breast milk black market — she was supplying them with the good stuff already. And it is “good stuff” at that.
Doctors and nutritionists around the world have all openly agreed that breast milk is the best source of nutrition for a child, though formula will suffice if a mother is unable to breastfeed (we’re in support of all babies with full tummies). Yet despite these accolades, we’re still in what seems like an uphill battle for breastfeeding.
A child’s nutrition is between her parents and her pediatrician until she’s old enough to grasp the concept of the food pyramid herself. It’s not up to a day care to make these decisions. In Swift’s case, she was able to locate the correct policy in order to have it properly enforced. She was able to continue to supply the day care with her breast milk for her daughter after she turned 13 months old, and she also requested that the CDC directors familiarize themselves with the policy so as to prevent this sort of confusion from happening again.
How a child receives nutrition is a mother’s prerogative. Whether that’s by the boob or the bottle, her intentions shouldn’t be questioned, and her efforts should never be denied. Hats off to Krystal Swift for standing up for not only herself, but for women facing the same struggle everywhere.