You read that title correctly! My baby got someone else’s breastmilk at daycare.
I don’t know if I’d ever had this fear before it happened… Some moms may fear their breastfed babies getting formula. Either way, when it happens, you are taken off guard. My reaction was unexpected, mixed, and surprising. Just like any other daycare, there were systems in place to keep mix ups from happening. This daycare was no different.
Our process starts the night before, thawing all the breastmilk and putting them in her bottles that are labeled with a color and her name. This time was different, the bottles were left at my husband’s office. We only had one feeding bottle, so I divided up the rest of the milk in storage bottles that were not labeled. It definitely crossed my mind that this could be an issue, but I shrugged it off and went with it, because I knew there was no other way. Thinking of it now, I could have sent the breastmilk bags that were labeled with her name, but 20/20. My husband dropped off the kids and mentioned to the teacher that the baby’s milk was in different bottles than usual and would need to be transferred to the feeding bottle. While at work, the thought never crossed my mind again.
When my husband picked me up from work that evening, he uttered the words, “the baby got someone else’s breastmilk today.”
I took a long pause before reacting, trying to wrap my head around what was just said. What? How? The first word out of my mouth may have been an expletive. I took more time to process it as my husband described the teacher’s emotional recollection of the incident. My heart sunk thinking of how she must have felt. Busy taking care of these small humans, she made a human error. How could I be upset with her? Did I have questions? Sure! But how could I be angry hearing that this teacher was on the verge of tears telling my husband of her mistake? I mean, did she really have to say anything? I am sure she is bound by some type of professional code the daycare has put in place for situations like these, but I am sure she could have decided to keep this mix up to herself.
She was honest and upfront, and I appreciated it.
This situation was far from ideal, but I also thought of the other mom. What were the chances that this mom was a heavy drinker, who was pumping at work for her baby? Any working mom who decides to breastfeed knows that pumping at work is no easy task. It takes serious dedication and commitment. I seriously doubt that she’d work so hard to provide her own baby with breastmilk if she had major health concerns. Now, I am fully aware that this was not like donor breastmilk that goes through thorough testing, but I just couldn’t believe that this mother would knowingly harm her own baby or believe that 4oz was going to harm mine.
I waited until after the weekend to call the daycare. I wanted to gather my questions and thoughts in order to relay my concern and not anger. I immediately started the conversation by asking the director to please tell the teacher that I was not angry with her. That I myself am a pediatric nurse and on occasion deal with breastmilk. I could only imagine what I would have felt and how easily it could have been me. I asked about the incident and what was being done to ensure this wouldn’t happen again. I took responsibility in our role for doing things differently and how that could have been confusing. In the end, it was explained that both my baby and the other shared the same color that was supposed to set them apart.
As a Christian we are called to be Christ like. What kind of example would I have set for my children by getting irate over someone’s honest mistake? How could I have not been quick to forgive, knowing full well how much forgiveness I am in need of? This was a chance for me to display Christ’s love for me to another human and I could not pass up the opportunity.