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Daycare Debacle

Last week, my husband and I received a huge sucker punch: we had only two days to find another daycare for our children. Our daycare wasn't in the Seattle School District limits so our older son, who would be attending a special preschool for his speech delay, wouldn't be able to receive transportation and since our provider didn't provide transportation, we needed to find another daycare for both a child and an infant ASAP. No pressure!

This was nearly impossible. The kind of action movie I don't want to be in! I would rather be cast next to a shirtless Clive Owen or a Gerard Butler so sweaty that he needs to take his shirt off! Instead, I was in a cast in a film with mapped out daycare listings and a ticking clock that clipped off the minutes we had to find the new care for our boys.

We were looking for a place that met the obvious requirements: safety, location, price. But I was also looking for a place that was breastfeeding-friendly, meaning that there would be enough storage for breast milk and no use of the microwave ever in heating up bottles. I've seen other centers that thaw bottles in the microwave and but this isn't my frozen lunch tray. It's breastmilk I worked hard to pump out and I don't need microwave radiation to turn it into some mutant concoction that could cook the insides of my baby's mouth!

The first place we visited was a loud, bustling center with almost 40 children on its roster. There were separate rooms for different ages. The four-year-old room mirrored a classroom. But the baby room was a dark pit of cribs with a fridge in the corner. I asked the director how they stored breast milk and if I could use bottles that came with my pump.

"No," she huffed. "We only allow bags here. We provide all the bottles." My eyes wandered around the rest of the room. There were two assistants and two babies crawling on a patch of shaggy carpet. I'm sure the babies there were cared for and the children were attended to, but I was already put off by the director's sharp tone, the exorbitant price of sending both children and the insane volume that carried through the whole house. We politely declined.

There were a few more visits. Then we finally found a place that had an infant and child opening, was less a mile away from our home and within our price range. She totally understood the trials of a breastfeeding, breast-pumping mom who needs to know that her baby is snuggled, her older child given attention. She was fine with my pumping milk into bottles, offered plenty of space in the freezer. We shared parenting philosophies, discipline strategies, etc. When she took my baby into her arms and he immediately nuzzled against her skin, I knew we had found the place for our children and the race against the clock came to an end.