Parenting is full of tough decisions, and one of the earliest and most controversial ones is whether to breast- or bottlefeed the baby.
Some believe fed is best, but others find it to be more complicated than that, pointed out the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Redditor Big-Analysis-4770 offered to share her breastmilk with her sister-in-law, who was struggling to find something that her newborn could keep down.
But when her sister-in-law became picky about the delivery of the milk, the Original Poster (OP) wasn’t sure how else she could help.
She asked the sub:
“AITA for not giving my SIL (sister-in-law) my breastmilk?”
The OP had breastmilk to spare for the time being.
“I (female 23) am a new mom and my child is roughly 3 months old.”
“I’m producing a lot of breast milk. For example, if my child eats 4 oz every 2 hours, I’m producing 6oz.”
“I’m using the extra in my baby’s bath. And I’m also freezing what I’m not using. Since I started freezing it, I’ve accumulated quite a bit.”
Her sister-in-law unfortunately was in the opposite position.
“Here’s the issue. My SIL just had a baby. And her milk has yet to come in.”
“The doctor told her that formula is just fine, but my nephew spits it up. My SIL has tried different brands and types, but nothing works.”
“I offered to give her some of my milk, and she happily agreed, seeing as neither one of us wants her baby to go hungry.”
But the sister-in-law did something unexpected when the OP arrived.
“I went to her house to drop a few bags.”
“And she denied them, saying she only wants her son to drink milk from the source while insisting it’s better for the baby.”
“This might be is true, but I’m not 100% comfortable breastfeeding a baby that’s not mine.”
“I told her I’m happy to give her the frozen, or I can give her freshly pumped milk, but she’s not having it.”
“She told me I was being selfish and accused me of not being willing to help her.”
“So AITA for not breastfeeding my nephew?”
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 could not understand the sister-in-law’s reasoning.
“Your offer to share your stockpile was more than generous. Her demanding that you serve as a wet nurse is insane, shockingly entitled, and wholly impractical.”
“Even if you were willing, how would that work? The baby is only fed when you can go over? She brings him to your house for a 3am snack? You take your nephew until he’s on solid food?”
“Your SIL needs to understand that Fed is Best, and everything else is a matter of degrees. It is rather heartbreaking that so many in her position would be weeping with relief and gratitude at your offer to deliver breast milk and she somehow feels like it’s not enough.”
“Side note: have they tried goat’s milk formula? Often babies who can’t tolerate conventional formula do very well with the goat’s milk based version and it’s widely available in health food stores.” – rapt2right
“If it’s her first baby I can see not knowing. I was completely blindsided by cluster feeding. Reason number 8583926 OP should not accept under any circumstances.”
“If OP nurses the baby, SIL will not have enough milk when cluster feeding starts. Then what? OP has to do the cluster feeding and do nothing all day?”
“Newborns, even not cluster feeding, can feed for a LONG time. 3 months old is when things start to get fun. Under no circumstances should OP miss any time with her own baby just because she is wet nursing a newborn.” – Wise-Butterscotch-81
“NTA. Your SIL is struggling to feed her baby and she’s quibbling over whether the breast milk comes in a bottle or not? This is a hefty level of delusional thinking, and I would encourage you to have a conversation with the baby’s father ASAP to be on the lookout for any other strange behavior on her part.”
“Please be do not be pressured by her irrationality.” – DinaFelice
“NTA. OP, withdraw your offer to share. She can pay a wet nurse or eventually cave and pay for breastmilk from a place. You tried to help her, she wasn’t grateful, just move on. You did nothing wrong.” – crystallz2000
Others encouraged the OP to not accept breastfeeding her nephew.
“I still have nightmares of my son’s cluster feeding. My poor nipples would bleed and I would sob for hours while he nursed and nursed and nursed.”
“It felt like electricity was being shot into my nipples at high voltage and it took all my willpower not to yank him away from me. Instead, I just suffered through it trembling and crying.”
“My son was a terribly slow eater too (30mins a feed minimum) for his first 4, almost 5 months. It took until just recently for him to get faster at it.”
“OP should definitely not commit to this. Especially as baby himself has no problem with the milk, but rather SIL is being selfish and acting entitled to not only OP’s milk and time but also her body.” – potatooed
“Cluster feeding. The drudgery, the pain. For me, it was also that I was never told about this in breastfeeding class.”
“And I kept being told, ‘a W week old baby should feed X times for Y minutes every Z hours,’ and here I am feeding baby all day, not getting sleep and my butt sore as f**k from sitting in one place being like, ‘say what now?'”
“It’s normal! All the things they don’t tell you! I thought either me or my baby was broken. I powered through for my own baby. No way am I ever doing this for a nibling. When I read this thread and thought of the implications of what OP’s SIL was asking for, my jaw hit the floor.” – Wise-Butterscotch-81
“What does she want OP to do, keep the baby overnight and feed both kids every 2 hours? She wants OP to become a mom of twins so that she doesn’t have to handle the feeding.”
“It sounds to me like the sister isn’t getting enough support at home with the baby and needs a REALLY good nap while the kid’s dad warms up some frozen breast milk and bottle feeds his kid (assuming he’s in the picture).”
“OP, NTA, but do you have family that can help her out more (like parents or other siblings who can offer help)? She sounds very overwhelmed.” – lemmful
“The first thing I thought is that SIL must be having some struggles. I would err on the side of NAH, assuming that perhaps SIL is having some postpartum issues.”
“The stresses of having a new baby are great, and adding in not being able to feed your baby anything he can keep down could potentially devastate a new parent.”
“Sleep deprivation, postpartum body pain and adjustment, and baby illness and stress is not something to take lightly. Please make sure she is checked out, OP.” – gimmetots123
“Perhaps a more charitable interpretation: there is a lot of “information” out there telling new moms that if you EVER introduce bottle-feeding to a newborn they will NEVER be able to latch and it will DESTROY their ability to nurse FOREVER.”
“It’s nonsense but they can sound incredibly reasonable about it. I almost fell for it the first couple of weeks when we were really struggling to nurse and he was losing weight.”
“Everyone is sleep deprived and not thinking straight … if I had a good relationship with a SIL who was saying this kind of thing, I’d try a reassuring conversation with some good evidence to back me up that bottle feeding isn’t going to ruin their ability to nurse.” – forgedimagination
After receiving feedback, the OP shared an update.
“My brother called and asked if the offer of frozen breastmilk was still on the table. Of couse it was, because I think fed is best.”
“He came by and apologized for his wife’s behavior. She is trying to do what’s best for the baby and went over the top.”
“I gave my brother roughly a gallon of milk frozen in bags. (The baby is eating roughly 1oz every 2 hours.)”
“I went over the care and handling of the milk (as it’s literally liquid gold, and requires special care).”
“His wife called a few hours later in tears because the baby is keeping it down.”
“She has an appointment with the lactation consultant scheduled, too.”
While the OP was conflicted after seeing her sister-in-law’s reaction to receiving the breastmilk in a package, the subReddit thought that the sister-in-law needed to reevaluate what she wanted when compared with what her baby needed.
There’s a reason why many people argue that a baby being fed is best, rather than the how, because if a baby isn’t receiving the nutrients or weight that they need, that’s a bigger issue than where or how the milk is received.