Mother Sues Nanny for $10,000 for Feeding Formula to Baby

Mother Sues Nanny for $10,000 for Feeding Formula to Baby March 12, 2019
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A New York mother is suing her former nanny for feeding her daughter formula. Lynn Wojton says she wanted to exclusively breastfeed her daughter. However, her nanny “force-fed” her newborn formula in the middle of the night instead of waking her to breastfeed.

According to the New York Post, the tragic tale began last fall. In September, Lynn Wojton gave birth to a healthy baby girl. After spending two days in the hospital, the new mother brought her baby home. According to the lawsuit filed in Manhattan Supreme Court, the mother planned to exclusively breastfeed her child.

Wojton said she hired Marcia Chase-Marshall to help her with the care of her baby. For the first two nights, Chase-Marshall woke up Wojton to breastfeed her daughter. The nanny slept in the same room with the new mother and infant, and she was supposed to assist the Wojton with breastfeeding.

However, on the third night, Wojton alleges that her nanny failed to wake her up. Instead of waking her up, Chase-Marshall snuck formula into the room to feed the child. The nanny insisted she was tired and did not want to bother the sleeping mother. Additionally, she said that helping the mother breastfeed would have taken longer than giving the baby a bottle.

The next morning Wojton realized that her nanny didn’t wake her up to feed the baby. She approached Chase-Marshall and asked why she allowed her to sleep all night. During the confrontation, the nanny confessed that she fed the baby formula rather than waking her up.

Apparently, the news sent Wojton into a tizzy and she told the New York Post that she cried for an hour. Wojton said that she did not want her daughter fed formula.

After the two women finished their conversation, the nanny left the home. According to the court records, Chase-Marshall received $4,200 for the three nights of work.

In the suit, Wojton claims that her nanny used formula because she believed formula the was better for the baby. However, the former caregiver said that she used the formula because it was less work than waking up her client.

Wojton alleges the formula feeding was the “last straw” in a tenuous relationship with Chase-Marshall. The two women also disagreed about bathing and diaper changing. Wojton said,

“If I didn’t change the diaper the way she thought was best, she would criticize me the whole time. It makes you second-guess yourself. You’re a new mother and this is all very new.”

Wojton’s Lawyer Brett Gallaway said, “Lynn obviously didn’t want to cross a stranger who had direct access to her baby, to her home and belongings at such an important and potentially volatile time.”

So what is the new mother looking for out of the lawsuit?

Well, Wojton is asking for damages of at least $10,000 from the nanny for feeding her daughter formula. That’s a lot of money for a couple of bottles of formula.

Fear not, the new mother has a new nanny now and she adheres to her “no formula” policy. Wojton says her daughter is now six months old and doing great.

There are so many questions I have about this story. As a new mother, Wojton should have been capable of waking herself to feed the baby. Relying on staff to wake her isn’t indicative of a woman that is ready to be a parent. Even if she was extremely exhausted, she should have heard her baby crying.

While the staff absolutely was in the wrong for feeding the baby formula against the mother’s wishes, I hardly think that constitutes damages of $10,000.00. The lawsuit has all the smells of a rich and entitled woman not wanting to take responsibility for her child.

Mothers around the world wake up at all hours to feed their babies without the luxury of assistance from staff. Even if Wojton can afford to pay the nanny, she is the one ultimately responsible for her daughter.

Can you really blame the nanny for giving the baby formula in the middle of the night?

I don’t blame her at all.

Hopefully, a judge will see the lawsuit has no merit and the case is dismissed.

 

*Katie Joy is a columnist and hosts Without A Crystal Ball on Patheos Non-Religious Channel. She writes articles on parenting, disability advocacy, debunking pseudoscience, atheism, and crimes against women and children.

She co-hosts the YouTube show, “The Smoking Nun,” with Kyle Curtis. The show airs weekly and tackles pseudoscience, current events, and crime stories.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Brian Davis

    Wojton says her daughter is now six months old and doing great.

    She kept the baby? Even after the baby’s purity was destroyed by a bottle of formula? She hardly seems committed to her cause.

  • phatkhat

    One mommy freaks out because the caregiver breastfed her baby, another freaks out because the caregiver gave the baby a bottle. Wow. Just. Wow. Strange times. (I can understand the first case far more than I understand the second.)

  • Raging Bee

    Wojton says her daughter is now six months old and doing great.

    So no damage at all, let alone ten grand worth.

  • So… she’s upset because the nanny let her sleep?

    I’m so confused right now.

  • Knitting Cat Lady

    Why did Wojton need to be woken up by the nanny?

    Did she wear industrial strength ear plugs or ear defenders? Did she take sleep aids?

    In my experience babies who wake up hungry aren’t exactly quiet, you know? And they cry in the frequency range our hearing is most sensitive to. Neat how evolution works out, huh?

    I have so many questions!

  • Jim Jones

    > According to the court records, Chase-Marshall received $4,200 for the three nights of work.

    WTF? What planet was this again?

  • plusaf

    Yes, Your Honor, and here’s the proof that justifies the claim for damages to the ….

    Oh, wait… um, sorry, forget it…

  • Terrie_S

    At best, the mother is entitled to the night’s pay, since the nanny didn’t do the job she was hired for.

  • Cozmo the Magician

    My mom was a foster parent for MANY MANY years… and she did not get anything like that kind of pay. Somebody owes my family a shit ton of $$$

  • Nix

    These two women’s opinions about how things should be done and about each other matter not at all in a court of law. Unless Wojton had a legally binding contract with her nanny agreeing that she wouldn’t feed her child formula, or she can provide evidence that doing so harmed her child in some way, this will in all likelihood be another story of “look what silly reason this person is suing this other person for” before it dies before a real judge.

  • Scout Kent

    You seriously don’t blame the nanny for not doing the job she was being paid $1,000 a night to do? You’re seriously okay with a paid caregiver disregarding the parents’ wishes for no reason whatsoever, just fuck it, I’m doing it my way?

    Saying that relying on staff to wake her up means she is not ready to be a parent is as ridiculous as this lawsuit. Babies usually stir and whimper before full-fledged hunger cries; the nanny may have been awake to observe this, whereas someone who was sleeping would not have heard it. Why are you buying into the Mommy Wars?

  • GaLd316

    This!

    Sure, $10000 seems a little much, but the nanny was hired to do a job and she didn’t do it. Call the mother entitled all you want, there is no excuse or justification for going against her wishes.

  • persephone

    Unless the mother, who shouldn’t have needed someone to wake her, was a horror show to wake up. If she could sleep through her baby’s cries, there’s something wrong with her.

  • persephone

    We haven’t heard the nanny ‘s side. If the mother could sleep through the baby’s crying, then there’s something wrong with her. I can’t imagine trying to wake up someone while dealing with a crying newborn.

  • Scout Kent

    It doesn’t matter if she was difficult to wake up; it was the nanny’s job to wake her up. Jobs are hard sometimes. If work was fun, they’d call it Disneyland and you’d pay them.

  • Scout Kent

    I could twist that around and say that I think there’s something wrong with anyone who can’t handle waking someone up while dealing with a crying newborn, lol. I am amazed at people actually leaping to “there’s something wrong with her” simply because she didn’t wake up when the nanny fed the baby. The Mommy Wars at its finest. You never, ever had to wake your baby’s dad for help with something when the baby was crying? You’ve never, ever observed someone stay asleep when a baby first starts crying? Plus, as I said in my original post, we have no idea if the baby was actually crying or if the nanny fed her when she began to stir and whimper – the nanny flat out stated that she fed formula because it was easier than waking up her employer. Heck, the mom may have heard the baby start whimpering or crying but did not get up because she hired a nanny for that very purpose. When the nanny didn’t bring the baby to nurse, she went back to sleep. Newborns do make noises and cry even when they are not ready to nurse.

  • persephone

    As a mother, I can tell you that it isn’t normal to sleep through your baby’s cries. Unless you’re sick or drugged, it just doesn’t happen. It’s a biological imperative.

    This isn’t a mommy war.

  • persephone

    Shut up, Kent. You don’t know a thing.

  • Scout Kent

    So clever and polite!

  • Raging Bee

    Yeah, because women’s opinions NEVER matter in a proper court, amirite?

  • Raging Bee

    Ten grand is WAY too much in “damages,” since clearly no actual damage was done, to anyone. She can fire the nanny for insubordination, of course, but suing her is beyond ridiculous (especially since most paid nannies aren’t likely to have ten grand sitting around after paying for their own necessities).

  • Nix

    No, you’re a moron for reading into this something that I very clearly did not say. In court, people’s opinions or hurt feelings don’t matter. It’s what they can prove. The public back-and-forth between these two, their ideas about who had the best ideas about raising children or breast vs. formula, are going to mean nothing. If the mom can’t provide proof of a legal agreement between her and the nanny that was violated, or hard evidence that what the nanny did caused harm to the child, she can cry to the press all she wants but her lawsuit isn’t likely to go anywhere.

    (Also, I can’t stand other women who are so oversensitive that they jump to take offense at every little statement made about another female. Seriously, put on your big girl panties and grow up.)

  • Nix

    Kent mansplaining motherhood to a bunch of moms. LOL!

  • Scout Kent

    I’m female. And a mom who nursed.

  • Nix

    My mistake. Whether or not people can or do sleep through babies crying isn’t the issue. Whether or not the mother had the right to fire the nanny for not doing what she wanted isn’t even the issue (she did fire her, and the nanny isn’t trying to force her to rehire her or suing her for wrongful termination). The issue is that the mom is claiming she has the right to $10,000 in damages when no damage or injury was done, but rather based on some pseudoscience based fear about baby formula. That’s what makes her a privileged, entitled asshole.

  • Nix

    She wasn’t working for her anymore. You’re missing the entire point. The nanny was already fired. It was after the fact that the mom filed a lawsuit demanding $10,000 for nothing. There weren’t any damages or injuries. The idea that formula is harmful to babies is known to be pseudo-scientific nonsense, so she won’t be able to strangle money out of her former nanny because some naturopath bullshitter told her she could. There is no mention of a legal contract between the two stating what the nanny could or could not do. There is certainly no mention of documented evidence of harm or injury to the child (if either of these things existed they would likely be the first things the mom would mention). And the idea that just because someone is being paid to do something they are required to mindlessly obey their employer is bullshit. None of us actually know what it was like to work for that woman, though her lawsuit gives at least a little insight.

  • Nix

    I hope you have the pleasure of having a job where you get treated like complete shit, then have everyone brush off all concern by saying “but you’re getting paid for it.” Seriously, though, never become an employer. We don’t need anymore of that type. You still haven’t explained how any of this justifies the $10,000 lawsuit AFTER SHE WAS ALREADY FIRED.

  • Scout Kent

    Oh, I agree that the lawsuit is nonsense.

  • GaLd316

    You want $10000 in damages?
    The nanny was being paid over $1000/night. Clearly she didn’t do her job on the third night, which, potentially, means she should never have accepted the job in the first place. Let’s say it took the mother a week to find a new nanny. That’s 7 days she was without a nanny and 3 she paid a nanny who couldn’t do the job. In total the nanny wasted 10 days of the mother’s time. At $1000/day that’s $10000.
    I didn’t even need to point out that lactation supply can be affected by missing a feeding. And we’re just going to let go of the debate as to whether formula is just as good as breast milk.

  • GaLd316

    Unless your employer asks you to do something that goes far out of the scope of your job description, or is demonstrably unsafe to you (or, in this case, the child), you most certainly are required to follow their directions.
    You’re right that this article says nothing about whether there was (or wasn’t) a contract, but I’d be really surprised if a job that pays $1000/day didn’t have a signed contract.
    See my post above for an outline of how $10000 in damages might be argued without even discussing whether giving formula to the child was harmful or not.

    All that being said, you missed MY point: even if the lawsuit is completely frivolous or the mother is entitled, NO ONE should be defending the nanny’s decision to give formula, when her job was to wake the mother for breast feeding. If she didn’t feel comfortable doing that after the first two nights, she should have discussed it with the mother or quit. End of story.

  • Raging Bee

    Let’s say it took the mother a week to find a new nanny. That’s 7 days she was without a nanny and 3 she paid a nanny who couldn’t do the job. In total the nanny wasted 10 days of the mother’s time. At $1000/day that’s $10000.

    Big effing deal. That’s the kind of “damage” every employer has to deal with every time they lose or fire someone and have to replace them. (And if you fire someone, then the “damage” caused by the loss of that employee is at least partly self-inflicted.) I sure as hell hope we don’t start suing every person who quits a job or gets fired based on logic like yours.

    The mom fired the nanny for insubordination. That’s a perfectly appropriate response, and suing for damages after that is ridiculous overkill. We already mistreat workers enough here, and there’s no need for a well-off client like this one to add insult to injury.

  • GaLd316

    Did you read the edits I made to my original post? Did you read the court papers? My original outline was one way someone might claim damages of $10000 (based on the information we were given in this article) without even resorting to the question of whether or not the child suffered damage in this interaction.
    Sure, that may be unnecessarily punishing to the worker, but, again, I was mainly pointing out that one could reach a $10000 figure without referencing harm/”harm” from formula. But the actual situation makes the $10000 claim more reasonable.

    In reviewing the court documents, it appears that the doula was paid $4200 upfront for a 6 week position. That’s only $100/day. However, she only worked 3 of those days, and only did her job on two, so, I would say she at least owes $4000. The documents also say that a new doula was found, eventually, but charged $200/day more, so $300/day. We don’t know how long the new doula worked, but 5 weeks works out to $10500 (keep in mind, the mother wanted a post-partum doula for the first 6 weeks pp, that’s a time sensitive position to fill when your first doula walks on you).
    Since the mother had originally intended to only pay $4200 for the 6 weeks, and only ended up paying more because the first doula took a job she was unwilling to perform, there is an argument that $6300 is owed since the doula actually cost the mother that overpayment through her actions. Add to that the $4000 she should pay back, and we’re at over $10000.

  • Raging Bee

    Sorry, I’m not going to keep on responding to posts after they’ve been edited in response to earlier comments. Just post new comments with new information and leave your old comments — that at least looks a bit more honest.

    I’ll just add that paying the nanny up-front for SIX WEEKS of work was kind of incompetent, as was not doing anything for so long about the nanny’s failure to work all of the days promised. This mom really sounds like an airhead.

  • GaLd316

    I apologize for the confusion, no one had responded to my post when I edited it.

    Here’s my biggest issue with the attitude of soany on here: even if I were to grant that the mother is an entitled, incompetent airhead filing a frivolous lawsuit, the doula had a responsibility to follow the directives of her employer or quit/not take the job in the first place. I don’t understand anyone who defends her decision to give the baby formula.

  • GaLd316

    *so many

  • Raging Bee

    No one here is arguing over giving the baby formula.

  • GaLd316

    Well, you haven’t argued that, but others in the comment section have.

    And this comment thread, started by Scout Kent’s comment, was in response to the following from the article:

    “Can you really blame the nanny for giving the baby formula in the middle of the night?

    I don’t blame her at all.”

  • Nix

    One glaring problem with you’re assertion that the employee has no defense whatsoever is that, of course, we’re only hearing this entire story from the employer’s and her paid attorney’s point of view. I notice that is often the case when conflict between an employees and employers make the news. The court documents seem to indicate that this has more to do with a contract dispute, and yet the mom is making this about breast feeding? The documents first claim that she was basically tricked into signing a contract to pay her more, but what does the nanny say about this? We have no idea (again, one side of the story). In fact, the entire document is basically “my client says she said this.” It’s basically a document of heresy. Just because it was filed in a court of law doesn’t it the truth, especially in a case like this. She was angry that she fed her formula, so she fired her. That’s the extent of her rights.

    And what I said still stands. A paycheck is something you get for work, it’s not a licences for the employer to treat you however the hell they want. Maybe the nanny was completely in the wrong. Maybe she wasn’t. Seeing as we only have one side of the story, we have no clue what the woman was like to work for, or if any of her complaints about the nanny are actually true. And before you say “well she could have just quite”, we also don’t know what her financial situation was and if she could afford to just quite because she didn’t like the job. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has been treated like shit at a job and has had to stay because it’s only in a rich person’s fantasy that anyone can just leave a paying job and expect another to suddenly fall into their lap. Perhaps you are such a rich person, but the rest of us have bills to pay.

  • GaLd316

    I haven’t commented at all on how the post-partum doula may or may not have been treated. You are certainly correct that receiving a paycheck does not mean your employer can treat you like shit. However, instructing an employee to wake you up for breastfeeding and to not give formula under any circumstances is not an action directed at the employee.
    If the mother was rude or nasty when being woken up, then you’re right, we haven’t heard about that, but no need to assume it, either. Even if the mother was nasty, and the doula who was receiving $4200 (upfront) for a 6 week position, plus travel expenses, had financial difficulties, I still can’t see how that gives her the right to decide how the child should be fed. It is not her child, but the mother’s.
    I’m sorry, if she could no longer do the job (whatever the reason) she should have quit. And I say that as someone who is struggling financially and cannot walk away from a job easily.

  • GaLd316

    Also, while the mother is certainly upset about the formula feeding, it is the media that is making the dispute about formula feeding.
    I mean, what makes a better headline:
    Mother Sues Doula for $10000 for Breech of Contract
    or
    Mother Sues Nanny for $10000 for Feeding Formula to Baby

  • Nix

    Again, you are missing the point. Because we are blatantly only getting one side of the story, we don’t know if anything the mother is saying is true or to what extent. Saying that “there is no excuse for the nanny” is implying that you do know the whole story and therefore are qualified to make a judgement about who is at fault, or who is in the wrong. You don’t and you can’t.

  • GaLd316

    Okay, give me one example of what the doula could give as her version of events that would justify her giving the baby formula

  • Argued what, that formula won’t kill the kid? (It won’t.) The mother’s wishes are simply impractical, and bottle-feeding the baby keeps kiddo fed, and lets mum get enough rest to be functional.

  • IDK, some people sleep so deeply that the dead are easier to wake. She may be one of them.

    But why she wouldn’t put the crib in her bedroom, so the baby’s right there? That I don’t get. Or the weird opposition to formula/bottle-feeding. IDK… something here just doesn’t feel quite right.

  • The baby was hungry. That’s all the “justification” needed. The mother is just freakin’ nuts.

  • GaLd316

    Clearly from my conversation with Raging Bee I’m stating that there are people arguing that the doula was justified in giving formula.
    Clearly you just proved my point.

    I don’t care that formula won’t kill the baby. You don’t get to decide how someone else raises and feeds their child.

  • GaLd316

    When the option to wake the mother for breastfeeding is available, and the option the mother specifically requested, the baby being hungry is most certainly not justification enough to decide you can raise someone else’s child how you want

  • You… really don’t understand how nannying works, do you? She was hired to care for the child. She did her job.

  • persephone

    Yeah, it’s just so off.

  • persephone

    You’re not.

  • GaLd316

    Actually, we do hire care givers for our medically complex child. So, I know what we require and expect from the people who care for our child. You can be sure that anyone who willfully goes against our care instructions will be terminated immediately. You don’t get to come into my house, look after my child, and unilaterally decide you know better how to meet my child’s needs.
    Staff are welcome to make suggestions, and we have adjusted care procedures based on staff input, but we have final say on what our child’s care looks like.

    Someone else (Nix) said that employers don’t have the right to treat employees however they want, simply because they are paying them. This is absolutely true. However, it’s a huge, illogical, leap to go from that to saying that employees can then decide how they will perform their job. The doulas job was not to simply make sure the baby was fed, her job was to make sure the baby was breast-fed.

    I’m really saddened by the lack of respect and compassion I see in the articles and comments in this community for any parent (especially mothers) who does anything even the slightest bit outside of the mainstream.

    I wouldn’t encourage forumla feeding unless breastfeeding is not a viable option, but I won’t condemn those who choose it for other reasons. This mother is being attacked simply because she is attempting to hold her caregiver accountable for making care decisions that were not her responsibility to make.
    Of course we don’t know the doula’s version of the events maybe the mother was a horror to work for. But why are you all assuming that is the case?
    And, even if the mother is a horror, that means the doula could have potentially put forth a lawsuit for abuse and harrassment by her employer, it does NOT give her the right to change the care plan for this child.

  • Yeaaahhh… you really don’t understand how it works. You don’t get to treat caregivers like slaves.

  • GaLd316

    You’re right; what was I thinking?
    You know what? I’ll go get a job at Boston Pizza as a server and after someone orders, I’ll go and bring back a garden salad. When they say, “excuse me, I ordered lasagna.” I’ll just reply, “fuck off, I’m not your slave,” and walk away.

    Seriously, though, this site (https://www.enannysource.com/nanny-doctor/nanny-training.aspx), as well as pretty much every top entry when I googled “nanny expectations,” supports the idea that requiring the nanny to ensure the baby is breast-fed is not an unreasonable request.

    Have you ever worked as a caregiver, or hired a caregiver? On what knowledge or experience are you basing your statement?
    Or are you just a troll? I feel like you’re just a troll…

  • I have caregivers myself (disabled), and you’re clearly unfamiliar with the rules they have to abide by.

  • GaLd316

    So then, what, action or request, specifically, do you see as the mother treating the caregiver as a slave?

  • strewth

    Nah, she’s not a troll. She’s a professional victim who has a monopoly on suffering and nobody else can gainsay her.

  • strewth

    You’ve obviously never been asleep in the same room as your crying newborn. Trust me, it doesn’t matter how soundly you slept before the baby, you are programmed to wake up once you hear that piercing cry.
    As the baby’s mother, it’s not a “weird opposition” to formula, it’s her choice. She chose to hire a nanny and presumably informed the nanny she wanted to breastfeed. The nanny should have brought her the baby to breastfeed, that was her duty.
    I don’t agree with the seeking of damages but she was perfectly within her rights to fire the nanny for not fulfilling the terms of her employment. You don’t do the job you’re being paid to do, you get fired. Simple.

  • strewth

    Have you ever had a job? In any job, the employer has certain conditions for employment. If you don’t meet those conditions, you can be fired. That’s not “treating them like slaves”. That’s having a reasonable expectation that someone will do the agreed-upon tasks for the agreed-upon paycheque. There’s nothing wrong with suggesting a different way of doing things if it might be helpful like GaLd316 suggests. But at the end of the day, you’re paying the bills, you get the final decision.

  • There are clear limits on what a caregiver is allowed to do regardless of what I request them to do.

    Some are for their safety, some are for mine, and professional boundaries are maintained.

    I think it’s unreasonable to hire someone to take care of your baby, but then demand that your baby be exclusively breastfed.

    A reasonable solution here would have been for the mother to pump during the day so there would be a supply for the nanny to feed the baby at night.

    If you wanna go the “but bonding” route, I’m gonna point out that she hired a nanny — if bonding was her concern, she wouldn’t have done that in the first place.

    You’re seriously tilting at windmills, here.

  • GaLd316

    So, now it becomes real important to point out that, although a lot of the media is calling the caregiver a nanny, the court documents say she is a post-partum doula. Those are two very different positions, with different job expectations and guidelines.
    This site:
    https://www.sleepdoula.com/postnatal
    states that their post-partum doulas provide breastfeeding support, and do overnight shifts. It doesn’t specifically mention waking the mother up, but that seems reasonable if the point is to increase the success of breast feeding.
    This site:
    https://www.whattoexpect.com/first-year/postpartum/should-you-hire-postpartum-doula/
    talks of a doula helping a mother to use the bathroom for the first time after giving birth.
    All-in-all, I really don’t see how asking the doula to wake the mother for breastfeeding crosses some kind of privacy/safety/professional line, especially if this was a stipulation of the contract that the doula signed (granted we don’t know this, but seeing how important it is to the mother, I’d be surprised if it wasn’t in the contract).

    Finally, if it wasn’t agreed to in the contract, if the doula felt it was beyond the scope of her comfort level, she should have informed the mother that she would not be waking her in the night and left it to the mother to decide how they move forward. If the request to wake the mother was unreasonable, fine. Feeding the baby formula, contrary to the mother’s wishes, is not an acceptable response to the request. Please try and understand this; whatever the mother’s faults may be, the doula was wrong to give formula to the baby.

  • Kylimayrow

    If an employer is this insane I would have left within the first day. Let these women figure it out themselves. I get they pay tons of money but it just isn’t worth it.

  • Kylimayrow

    A putrid sounding control freak like the mother is actually wasting court time. So yeha her case should be tossed out. No harm was done and she sounds like an exhausting human. Go take care of your own kid if you don’t want it “tainted” with formula. The rich can fend for themselves because they really think everyone owes them.