After Their Newborns Died at Daycare, These Moms are Fighting for Paid Family Leave


Excerpt: Babble

by Chaunie Brusie

Like many moms, Adrienne Kromer turned to her Facebook mom’s group to chat about how nervous she was to be returning back to work after the birth of her daughter, McKenna Rose Felmly. Kromer wished desperately that she didn’t have to go back so soon, but felt like she didn’t have a choice.

On her first day back to work, Kromer checked in with the daycare three different times, visibly nervous about being separated from her 3-month-old daughter for the first time longer than an hour and a half. While the daycare reported that the baby was fine, they did say that the exclusively breastfed infant was refusing her bottle around lunchtime.

Worried, Kromer decided to leave work early to pick up her daughter. On her way to the daycare, she received the call. Her daughter had stopped breathing. And although she was rushed to the hospital, it was too late.

The exact cause of the baby’s death has not been determined, but the daycare has been shut down in the meantime, according to PEOPLE magazine. Meanwhile, a family is left grieving.

Words fail us when we hear a story like this and unfortunately, it feels all too familiar.


Image Source: Amber Scorah

Last year, Amber Scorah also lost her infant son, Karl, on his first day at daycare. Having been denied additional unpaid leave by her company, the mother chose a daycare close enough to her work so that she could still nurse him on her breaks. Scorah dropped Karl off at 9:30 in the morning and returned shortly after noon to nurse him.

“I walked around the corner,” she wrote in a piece for The New York Times. “Expecting to pick up my son, feel his chubby rolls, see his face light up at the sight of his mommy. Instead, I saw my son unconscious, splayed out on a soft changing table. His lips and the area around his mouth were blue, and the day-care owner was performing CPR on him, incorrectly.”

Scorah goes on to explain how she believes that she should have been able to find a way to be home with her son until he was older.

“In comparison with the other new mothers I knew, I felt lucky to have three months’ paid maternity leave after Karl was born,” she wrote. “Most of the parents in my community had only weeks before they had to leave their babies to go back to work. But nonetheless, even with three months under our belts and Karl’s neck strong enough to hold himself up, I was uncomfortable with the idea of leaving him. I wanted to be his caregiver longer, until he was a bit bigger. I could see how our time together in this early infancy was of so much value, how being with me every day made him more and more comfortable navigating his new environment.”

This is not about daycare shaming. This is not about working mother shaming. This is not about shaming, period.

This is about giving parents the options to stay home with their very young babies. There are very real benefits to caregivers being able to stay with their babies during those early weeks and months. It promotes bonding, increases breastfeeding rates, and decreases infant deaths. Small daycare providers, too, are hesitant to even take on very young infants, out of fear of what could go wrong. (Even if a daycare provider does everything right, a baby could still pass away from SIDS.)

You can sign the petition to encourage paid leave right here