After giving birth, trying to ensure a baby is fed is a difficult task. And with the recent baby formula shortage, it’s only become more difficult for new mothers.
Redditor nmother1990 is doing what she can to feed her baby safe sources of food. However, the original poster (OP)’s husband has his own ideas of what safe food should mean.
OP isn’t sure if she was right to deny him, but has her doubts and decided to ask “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) to the internet and see how she’s judged.
She just wants something safe for her baby.
“AITA for not wanting my SIL to wet nurse my child?”
But is she being too picky?
“Didn’t think this would even still be a thing in the 21st century, let alone a argument that I would face as a parent, but here we are.”
“My husband and I had our first child six weeks ago after trying for years. I wanted to breastfeed, but my milk never came in despite my best efforts.”
“We’ve been trying different formulas, but all the ones we’ve tried don’t seem to work, and with the shortages, we don’t have unlimited options to try with any level of consistency. We’ve been supplementing with donor milk, which I was always hesitant on due to the risks.”
“I’ve found two women that I’ve been able to screen, but I can’t get the amount I would need from them, and one just finished weaning.”
“My SIL has two kids, 3 and 10 mos. She has never had problems with production, and for some reason she’s willing to feed the babies of people she knows to ‘help out’. One of her neighbors has taken her up on this, and my husband really wants our baby to be baby #3. I’m not comfortable with it.”
“My SIL and I have almost no relationship. She has…very strange views on motherhood that were born from trauma from her adoptive mother, who is now in prison.”
“She always kept her distace from me, and getting pregnant only solidified this. I wasn’t allowed to go to anything baby related or give her a single gift, not even a card, because it ‘made her uncomfortable’.”
“Even if we were best friends, her views make the offer just plain unsafe.”
“For one, she refuses to use a pump, which means my baby would be skin to skin with her and be directly exposed to not only her but the two other babies and two other households. There would be no hygiene standards whatsoever.”
“Two, I don’t know anything about her diet or supplements. She refuses to tell me anything about it, claiming that she isn’t ‘signing up to be my employee’ and am ‘using a kind offer to exert power’.”
“Tbh, I wouldn’t really trust her if she did anyway because she’s less than honest about her views. She said she wanted homebirths with her children, but her husband wasn’t comfortable with it, so she agreed to hospital births.”
“Somehow, she ‘accidentally’ just happened to have both of her children alone at home.”
“My husband thinks none of this matters, that we just need to deal with it because we need her, and that it’s perfectly safe because she’s family and ‘not like an addict or something’.”
“We’ve been arguing about it for days, and today he took the baby over to her house and just LET her do it.”
“When he got back, it went off. He’s now demanding that we do this, that this has gone on too long, we’re out of time, and he ‘won’t let me control the baby’s life to [bad outcome]’ because I’m not willing to ‘accept reality’.”
“He’s even threatening divorce so he could ‘make sure the baby was fed at least half the time’. I’m wrecked over this because of course I can see the difference, but it’s just not dire enough to make such a blatantly unsafe decision yet. AITA?”
On Reddit, the users of the board judged OP for refusing to let her sister-in-law nurse her child by including one of the following in their response:
- NTA – Not the A**hole
- YTA – You’re the A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everybody Sucks Here
Initially, people were divided. While the final judgement was that OP was NTA, there was ongoing debate about the situation.
On one hand, they could understand OP’s fear of her SIL’s diet and possible medications. But this is to get her baby fed when OP cannot produce milk and there’s a shortage of formula feeding options.
How right was OP?
“‘Two, I don’t know anything about her diet or supplements.’”
“That’s an irreconcilable red flag to me. It shouldn’t be an issue for her to disclose that, and it’s bizarre that she (and your husband) don’t understand that concern.”
“That’s like the most baseline thing a mother should know right after whether the wet nurse uses drugs.” – Leaves_Swype_Typos
“She claims I’m just wanting to control her and feels ‘put on display’ and treated like an employee by questioning. Unfortunately, she’s seen too many women, when helped by other women in areas of motherhood, use it to really think that they owned their bodies and lives, to not fight back hard.”
“I’ve brought this up to her, but she says that if she was in my shoes, she would have been grateful for the gift and not acted like she was allowed to control the giver. I know she’s not using illegal drugs, but nothing else.” – nmother1990 (OP)
“NTA. You have a right to know how your wet nurse would perform her duties so they were done in a manner that you feel is safe.”
“But, you’re in a rock and a hard place, because you need the milk. Your SIL isn’t going to change, so you’ve either got to accept playing it by her rules, or go elsewhere.”
“But you’re NTA for not wanting her.” – PhilShank22
“Maybe unpopular but I would say ESH. Your husband shouldn’t have taken the baby to your SIL without your consent.”
“However, if your baby is 6 weeks and barely gets what it needs, then you are on the verge of having a baby that has failure to thrive which is not healthy at all. You need to figure something out fast and this might be a temporary solution.”
“You could start talking with your SIL and asking of she would be OK with a hygiene routine. The diet is not a big deal as this should only be temporary.”
“You have said in a comment she is vaccinated which means this might be your best solution at this point. You need to think of your baby and it’s health more than your personal relationship with your SIL.” – Djiniii_123
However, OP came back with an update. One that changes the story for nearly everyone.
OP’s baby was less nourished than anyone could have guessed.
“We had an emergency call with our pediatrician this morning. It was eye-opening.”
‘While thankfully the baby is not at failure to thrive yet, it is truly more dire than I was willing to admit. The current patchwork of constant new formula and what milk I can get isn’t acceptable anymore and there needs to be a stable supply of something now.”
“My husband will be working from home with the baby at SIL’s house for the rest of the week, and staying over there until Saturday. If that goes well, the baby will be staying with SIL until Monday to catch up and give us both a reset.”
“I’ve also agreed that if this works, we’ll wait at least a month before exploring alternatives to allow for stability. We’re 4 hours in and the baby has improved with normal bms, so it’s looking like this is the plan.”
With that eye-opening update, some people changed their initial opinions.
“Edit: In light of OP’s updates, I’d change this to YTA. Before, it sounded like the husband was just being dramatic/alarmist, and I didn’t realize how close they were to not adequately feeding at all.”
“Sketchy food is better than no food. Original comment preserved for posterity.” – Leaves_Swype_Typos
“YTA. You have a national shortage of formula, a hungry baby, and a kind offer from someone you seem to make it your life’s work to pick holes in.”
“Your husband would be quite justified in removing the baby from your care, and a judge is going to laugh when you explain the reasons you have given here.” – Accomplished_Set4862
“Yes, this needs to be top comment.”
“Tell a judge you’re not feeding your baby because you’re being picky. The judge is going to laugh his ass off, after removing your rights over the kid.” – BlueAtolm
“All of the N T A judgments have no idea how bad the formula shortage is right now. It sounds like you can choose between breast milk that doesn’t meet your standards (either from a group or from your SIL) or letting your infant go hungry. Your husband is right.”
“These are your choices, and you are not accepting reality. He is making sure your baby is fed!” – andromache97
“YTA. Your baby is too young for you to enforce your high standards during a formula shortage. Six weeks old?! Please let her feed your baby.”
“Re hygiene standards: your SIL’s breast milk will have antibodies to any germs in her household. And, to be frank, malnutrition is a much greater danger to your baby’s health than exposure to lax hygiene.” – aporetic_quark
Luckily, OP’s baby is now getting fed. There’s a plan going forward that will ensure a stable supply of milk, and in a few weeks, OP can explore other options to try and supplement.
It can be difficult to see past our own hubris, but for the sake of children, we have to learn to put our ego aside.