Early in the month the Assistant Director of the daycare we were using in Hot Springs, AR (contact me if you want to know where) came up to me when I picked Genevieve up. She wanted to talk to me about Genevieve’s transfer into the Toddler classroom on August 17th and that when she moved classrooms we would no longer be allowed to provide her meals. Until this point we brought our own snacks and baby food because I did not like what they served, and this was fine with the daycare. I told the Assistant Director that I did not want Genevieve eating the salt, sugar, and processed meat that was provided as part of their menu. I was told that I didnt have a choice, but that I could choose to have her served a vegetarian meal instead of the one with meat. I thanked her for the option and that would be my preference, but that I didnt want her eating the food and that I would look into the program rules.
The next day when my husband picked her up he called me. He said that they had sent all of Genevieve’s food home and she had a note in her cubby that we were no longer allowed to bring our own food and that any food brought would be thrown away. Additionally, he was told that she was fed the school meal that day.
I was FURIOUS! I was told I had a week to resolve this issue and then they gave her the food the next day! I was waiting to hear back from the DHS Special Nutrition office (who by the way still hasnt called me back 3 weeks later), so that I could speak to the daycare Director with informed information. I never had the chance to speak with her! To make matters even worse, when I called to complain, the Director told me that Michael (my husband) had given permission for her to eat the school meal that morning when he dropped her off. When I asked him about it, he said that no one even spoke to him when he dropped her off, so how did he give permission?!
- I was hardly given any notice about the meal requirement and the Director never took the time to meet with me about it.
- I was lied to about when the change would take place.
- The daycare had no nutrition program paperwork on file for Genevieve, nor any documentation about possible allergies.
- I was lied to (maybe the Director was too) about my husband giving permission for her to eat their food
- The Food Program allows for terribly unhealthy foods!
- The same guidelines seem to apply across the board. I dont understand how it makes sense to apply the same nutrition standards to 1 year olds as they do to school age children. And actually, the daycare we were at, started feeding the program’s snacks (but not the lunch) at 6 months old!
- These foods are highly processed and full of sugar and salt, which the American Academy of Pediatrics, The National Institute of Health, and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics say should be avoided, especially in infants and toddlers.
- While the USDA does not require that all daycare attendees participate in the program, it does allow for the State or the local institutions to impose additional restrictions, which can mean food isnt allowed from home.
- The USDA has no dietary guidelines established for infants and toddlers, so the program that are enforcing is created on a fallacy.
Sodium in Canned Foods
We have since changed daycare centers. The center we are at now, does also use the USDA food program, but they are willing to work with us regarding Genevieve’s diet and are allowing us to bring our own food until she goes back to the doctor in September. Until then, we have a pending request at the pediatrition’s office for a doctor’s note that will allow us to continue to provide Genevieve food from home instead of her eating the daycare’s meals.