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Dad Expects Breastfeeding Stranger To Explain To His Autistic Daughter Why Her Baby Is Crying

New mom breastfeeding in public
Marko Geber/Getty Images

Every child has their own needs and interests, and parents have to educate themselves on what their children need and how to meet those needs.

If they instead expect other people to do the work for them, that feels like a red flag, agreed the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.

Redditor tw0620 was shocked when her boyfriend told her how he had approached a new mom who was breastfeeding in public after his autistic teenage daughter started crying about the baby.

But when he expected the mom to teach his daughter for him, the Original Poster (OP) had to voice her concerns.

She asked the sub:

“AITA for telling my boyfriend it’s not a random woman’s job to educate his child?”

The OP’s boyfriend and daughter caused a scene at a restaurant.

“My boyfriend has a special needs daughter. She’s on the spectrum, and she is 13 years old.”

“They were in a fast food place one day when a very new baby started to cry.”

“The crying made his daughter cry. His daughter is non-verbal and is developmentally delayed as well as having sensory issues including noise.”

“Anyway, when his daughter started to cry, he went around the corner to where the crying was coming from. There was a new mom tucked in a corner, trying to nurse her new baby.”

“He brought his daughter right up to the woman and baby and said, ‘See, the baby is fine,’ but his daughter’s crying got louder.”

The boyfriend involved the woman in his parenting.

“He asked the already visibly stressed woman to explain to his daughter why the baby is crying and noted she was autistic.”

“The woman was hesitant but explained the baby is just hungry.”

“His daughter continued to scream while the baby continued to scream.”

“All around a very stressful situation for everyone involved. My boyfriend continued to stand there and asked the woman if it was okay that they hang around until the baby stops crying so he can show his daughter that the baby is okay.”

“The woman refused.”

“He got upset and stressed that his daughter just wants to make sure the baby is okay.”

The OP was shocked at what he had done.

“When he later told me about the incident, I just stared in disbelief. I asked if he didn’t think the woman was stressed enough without him hanging over her like that.”

“He said to me that he thinks where his daughter is special needs, the lady should have been more obliging.”

“That’s when I said it wasn’t that woman’s job to educate his child and that he had crossed a line.”

“He thinks I’m being inconsiderate and insensitive.”

“I don’t feel I am, I feel he was insensitive towards the woman and her new baby and I feel he’s entitled for thinking the woman should have taken the time and allowed them to just stand there and watch her nurse when she clearly was trying to hide from people.”

“I also think it’s weird he asked if they could watch so she could learn.”

“If a man asked me that, I’d think he was a pervert using his kid as a thinly veiled excuse to watch me.”


Fellow Redditors weighed in:

  • NTA: Not the A**hole
  • YTA: You’re the A**hole
  • ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
  • NAH: No A**holes Here

Some pointed out the boyfriend’s daughter might be experiencing sensory issues.

“I’m autistic. She was probably reacting to the sound, on top of the excessive light and noise in a fast food restaurant. This is kind of basic for autism. Noise-canceling headphones or just cheap earplugs would probably have solved things, and it’s odd he didn’t know that.” – CleanAssociation9394

“NTA. OP, your BF needs to meet with some support group, reach out to his daughter’s doctor, or a trained therapist, and get connected to some resources. He clearly doesn’t know what he’s doing, which is okay, but then he needs to be smart enough to learn.”

“(This is from a parent with a special needs child.)” – crystallz2000

“If she has sensory issues then the issue isn’t that she’s worried about the baby it’s that the sound of the baby crying is PHYSICALLY PAINFUL for her!”

“She needs to be removed from the area of the crying, not brought closer to it. She needs noise-canceling headphones and a dad who actually understands her issues.” – Anxious_Reporter_61

“The daughter wasn’t trying to check on the baby, the baby crying was extremely painful. The dad brought her closer to the noise and she screamed more because she was closer to the noise and it was louder. All while harassing the mother just trying to feed her baby and feeling entitled to watching her breastfeed.”

“He made it worse for everyone. NTA.” – VegQuaker

“It seems more like he will never get it. I assumed she was still a toddler and was giving this man a break but she is 13, he could have done any research, like at all. Sensory issues are a very well-known thing yet his brain doesn’t get that the screaming baby hurts her ears?!”

“My sensory issues have made me not want kids because of that.”

“At this point, it’s time for an autistic intervention because he seems to be deep in denial and he is screwing up any chance that girl has. She could live a normal life if he actually did any research but instead, he is acting as if her brain is like his which is the complete opposite of her having autism. It’s literally a different brain type!”

“Let me guess, he plays the special needs parent card a lot, huh?” – Stoned_Writerchick

Others questioned the boyfriend’s viewpoint in general.

“Your boyfriend is setting his daughter up to fail massively does he have a plan for her for when he’s not around anymore? Because… If she’s developmentally delayed, non-verbal, or if he himself unintentionally made her that way by refusing to properly parent, she’s not going to be able to survive on her own.”


“The dad may have aggravated a lot of his daughter’s symptoms by not seeking out the proper help and resources for his daughter. He also doesn’t seem like he even bothered to learn about autism, or what his daughter’s future would look like.”

“To me, it sounds like he threw in the towel when they got the diagnosis and just never bothered. He also never bothered to learn about sensory issues, otherwise, he would have known NOT to bring his daughter towards an excruciating sensory overload.”

“But I do have one question to ask you, can you see yourself staying with a man who thinks it’s everyone else’s responsibility to parent and teach his daughter, who doesn’t respect anyone else’s opinions, and throws out the disability card where it isn’t needed? Cause he refuses to listen to you about this one thing, where else is he refusing to listen?” – crocodilezebramilk

“Have you never looked at an autistic kid with severe sensory issues and a cognitive delay, and wondered how much less of a cognitive delay they’d have if they weren’t so busy having to shut out the world all the time?”

“My autistic kids didn’t speak until they were well into their fourth year when it suddenly clicked. But their sensory issues are mild, and we as parents work hard to give them coping mechanisms. This father never did that and may thus have inadvertently worsened his daughter’s speech delay.”

“In other words, no, being a bad parent doesn’t cause autism. But it may very well exacerbate some of the symptoms. I’m side-eyeing the dad right now.” – cottondragons

“Looking at the daughter’s age makes this situation so much worse. If the child was three to five years old, okay… awkward, still not appropriate, but could chalk it up to an exhausted parent exercising bad judgment.”

“But learning that the child is 13, I totally understand OP being utterly flabbergasted. NTA.” – Affectionate-Try9469

“He pulled a classic bait and switch, he figured after introducing kids you wouldn’t break up with him and cause instability for your own children (which I’m assuming you have because of the way you’ve worded some things).”

“He also thought, ‘OMG, here’s someone to help me parent because I’m overwhelmed.'”

“You need to get out and fast. By sticking around, you’re just prolonging the inevitable and making it more difficult when you finally do end it.”

“Do you really want to spend the rest of your life with someone who doesn’t get proper care for his special needs child?”

“Not seeking treatment, getting her into day programs or working with a caseworker to help facilitate services with various programs, find an ASL class so they could both learn and finally have a way to communicate with one another. He’s left her no even choice but to scream and cry.” – MsMia004

“If he knew his daughter, he wouldn’t drag her in front of a crying baby. I have an autistic kid with developmental delays, and I’ve taken tons of parenting classes for kids like this. These classes always have parents who think they know what they’re doing but are only making things worse. You don’t magically become an expert on autism just because you have an autistic kid.”

“The people who hold the classes always have to explain, ‘That might work for you and maybe for normie kid (they phrase it differently), but it won’t work on your kid because your kid is different. And he/she won’t stop being different just because you treat them like a normie kid” Some parents still don’t get it though…'” – ohdearitsrichardiii

The subReddit was left concerned for the boyfriend’s daughter, as well as the OP, after hearing about the boyfriend’s behavior. They were sure he needed to learn more about his daughter’s needs and how to cater to those needs, and he surely didn’t need to expect other people to do all the work for him.

Written by McKenzie Lynn Tozan

McKenzie Lynn Tozan lives in North Chicago, where she works as a poet, freelance writer, and editor. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from Western Michigan University, and her BA in English from Indiana University South Bend. Her poems have appeared in Rogue Agent, Whale Road Review, the James Franco Review, Thank You for Swallowing, and elsewhere; and her essays and book reviews have appeared with Memoir Mixtapes, The Rumpus, BookPage, and Motherly, among others. When she's not reading and writing, she's in her garden or spending time with her family. For more, visit