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to be a dairy-free childminder?

(98 Posts)
dairyfreechildminder Wed 14-Sep-11 17:10:12

I'm posting this in AIBU because I would like opinions from a broad range of parents. Please don't pull any punches, because I really do want to know what you think.

I'm setting up as a childminder (have registered with Ofsted but not yet started minding children). I would like my home/setting to be a dairy, egg and nut free zone, because my 3 year old DS has severe multiple food allergies and reacts on skin contact to traces of dairy. I want to keep him safe, and also to minimise the risk of having to call an ambulance for him when I have a house full of children who all need looking after.

My food policy says that I will provide all food and drink for children while they are in my care, and that they will receive a carefully balanced diet. I won't be able to take babies, as formula which is based on cow's milk is too much of a risk (e.g. babies being sick on clothes and furniture, as they so often are...)

How would you feel about leaving your child in an environment where dairy was not on offer?

OTheHugeRaveningWolef Wed 14-Sep-11 17:12:40

I might want to have a look at your food menus to see the kinds of meal you provided your mindees, but I know it's possible to have a perfectly good balanced diet without those things so provided I was happy you were providing that I don't think I'd be fussed.

silverfrog Wed 14-Sep-11 17:14:34

I owuld be fine with it, as long as I could quiz you on the balanced diet aspect (sorry, I realise you probably do know your stuff, but I would want ot know that you were not just cutting out whole food groups without balancing the rest of the diet)

I would want to know that you were not relying too much on replacement Free Form products (most of them are full of crap and fillers; lots of sugars etc), but instead cooking/baking yourself.

but otherwise I would be absolutely fine with it.

<but we are a multiple allergic family too. so I come to it from a different perspective>

chocoroo Wed 14-Sep-11 17:16:11

I think there's probably a market for what you plan to offer but being unable to take babies will presumably cut out the most lucrative part of the business for you?

I wouldn't be against it per se, but would be unable to use your services personally as my DD still has milk in the daytime.

psiloveyou Wed 14-Sep-11 17:16:39

I wouldn't mind. As long as you are providing a healthy alternative food.
Also I think it would teach children an understanding and empathy for others who have allergies.

My DDs school has a total ban on any kind of nut/lentil product going in lunch boxes because one child has a severe allergy. Some of the parents were really horrible in their moaning about it.

buzzskillington Wed 14-Sep-11 17:17:32

As long as you demonstrate a good knowledge of nutrition and the diet you're offering has enough calcium etc, it might even be an advantage. Fair few kids have allergies and I'd prefer my child were looked after by someone who understood allergies well than someone who I had to explain it all to.

SenoritaViva Wed 14-Sep-11 17:19:05

Well I am glad you said about formula fed babies not being accepted but I think I would have had a problem with DD was a toddler (she went to nursery at 2) as I would have liked her to have had milk during the day.

I totally understand about the nut and wouldn't really have a problem with the eggs but the dairy yes probably when DD was younger. Not so much now because she's 4 and at school most of the day.

The questions I would have for you are:
1. What drinks WILL you provide instead of milk?
2. How will your counteract my child's lack of dairy (e.g. calcium).

That said if I had a child with allergies I'd be pretty sure you'd be excellent at handling that...

NettoSuperstar Wed 14-Sep-11 17:19:06

Dd first went to a cm when she was 2, and I'd have been fine with that, so long as you were offering decent food.

fedupofnamechanging Wed 14-Sep-11 17:20:07

I wouldn't mind at all. Anything that you didn't provide, I would just give my dc at home. It's perfectly reasonable for you not to want to have things in your home that cause your child to be ill. Perhaps mothers who express milk would be able to use your service, then you could still offer a service to people with babies.

SenoritaViva Wed 14-Sep-11 17:20:12

sorry, when DD was a toddler not with

PuspornInBoots Wed 14-Sep-11 17:20:21

Just and only my opinion, and worth exactly what you pay me for it wink I would run a mile. I would be worried that your child would have an episode of anaphylaxis and have to be rushed to the hospital and who would then be looking after my child? If your child's allergies are so bad that your whole house has to be kept allergen free to the extent that regurgitated milk can be a problem, I would also worry that I my child would get the blame for the hypothetical anaphylaxis. All just too much for me given that there are lots of childminders out there. If you were the only CM in the world, I would still have to think more than twice.

nailak Wed 14-Sep-11 17:20:54

my 3 and 4 yr old still like milk in the day, esp when tired or upset so it would put me off

allhailtheaubergine Wed 14-Sep-11 17:23:17

I'd use you because I have a dairy allergic child.

I think if you're somewhere pretty central it might even work in your favour, with parents of allergic children seeking you out.

If, on the other hand, you are in a smaller town and your competition is high you might be at a disadvantage.

silverfrog Wed 14-Sep-11 17:23:46

pusporn raises an interesting point: if regurgitated milk is a problem, how would you cope with, say, a child who is obviously eating dairy at home, and then comes to you and is sick?

woudl any child you looked after get the blame for any unexplained reactions? what are your back up plans for hospital visits?

fedupofnamechanging Wed 14-Sep-11 17:23:50

You might have a problem if a child who has milk etc at home was sick while in your care. Although this would be a rare occurrence, I think.

fedupofnamechanging Wed 14-Sep-11 17:24:24

x post with silverfrog

OTheHugeRaveningWolef Wed 14-Sep-11 17:26:27

Hmm, yes. Thinking about it, Pusporn (great name BTW, if epically gross) has a point. What if there was an emergency and your child had to be rushed to hospital?

Ultimately though I think it'd depend on lots of factors. If there were two CMs in my neighbourhood, both of them seemed equally lovely, skilled, nice environment, safe etc etc etc and one of them had a dairy-free policy like this but the other didn't I'd probably choose the one that didn't. OTOH if the other was a bit skanky and laissez-faire I'd choose the OP. So in a (hypoallergenic) nutshell if it was the only deciding factor between 2 options I'd go elsewhere, but if the OP was otherwise lthe best choice I'd not see it as a dealbreaker.

mousesma Wed 14-Sep-11 17:28:16

I wouldn't have a problem with no dairy. DD is 14 months and only has milk when she gets up and at bedtime so it wouldn't cause a problem.
It also wouldn't bother me that your DS was allergenic.

My DNeice (6) has a severe nut allergy and has to carry and epipen at all times. I know it is possible to prevent allergenic reactions as long as you are careful so chance of you having to make a hospital dash is unlikely.

pigletmania Wed 14-Sep-11 17:28:20

It would not be for me as dd 4.5 (sn) loves milk and would have a meltdown at no milk. She also loves cheese and butter on toast or alternative not minded about that, bit no milk would be an issue

jeckadeck Wed 14-Sep-11 17:28:32

I totally respect your right to offer a dairy-free environment but a) I would think seriously about leaving my child in your care and b) I think depending on where you are you may be limiting your commercial opportunities fairly severely. If you could demonstrate that you could offer a nutritionally balanced diet and I'm sure you could because you will have put a lot of thought into it, I don't think it would be a nutritional issue. I also realize that you have no choice but to limit your child's access to dairy. But I have to say that I don't want my child brought up in an environment surrounded by people with allergies. I think that there is a lot of neurosis in society about food and a lot of people -- and I don't include you and your child in this but you are collateral damage if you like -- confuse intolerance with allergy. I don't want my daughter growing up to be hyper-sensitive to this because I think the power of suggestion and association is quite strong and a lot of people, frankly, imagine allergies which aren't there because they have been influenced by discussion on the topic. Maybe that sounds harsh but that's the way it is.
Where do you live? because I would think the success or failure of this venture would vary significantly depending on where you are. In certain upscale parts of London for example it could actually be a bit of a USP for you, but my guess is that in most of the UK and in certain demographics it will limit you.

AurraSing Wed 14-Sep-11 17:30:45

If you were just picking my child up from school and minding them for a couple of hours a day, I wouldn't mind a dairy free setting. If you were looking after my two year old all day, everyday, you'd have to be best childminder for miles.

HowToLookGoodGlaikit Wed 14-Sep-11 17:33:38

I would avoid you as a CM to be honest, because I would worrythat my child could cause a reaction in your child.

MerylStrop Wed 14-Sep-11 17:34:14

I'd be fine with it, and so would my kids.

mymummyisasquarehead Wed 14-Sep-11 17:34:23

Hmmm, I see your reasoning, but it might limit the children you can care for.

What alternatives would you eb offering to make up for the shortfall in the calcium etc?

Interesting idea though :-)

MumblingRagDoll Wed 14-Sep-11 17:35:20

I would also be afraid that my child might harm yours...what if m child ate some peanuts and then touched yours?

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