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Traumatized Pregnant Woman Balks At Husband and Mother-In-Law’s Obsession With Breastfeeding

pregnant woman arguing with husband.
Liubomyr Vorona/Getty Images

Comfort level is a very personal thing.

As tempting as it is to encourage people to try to step out of their comfort zones, they should always think very carefully before doing so.

As one never knows what caused the fears and phobias that have led some people to be afraid to try and/or do certain things may stem from.

And when it involves someone’s body, the best thing to do is to mind their own business entirely.

Redditor ThrowRA_mytrauma was beginning to become overwhelmed by her husband and mother-in-law pressuring her regarding a matter with their soon-to-be first child.

A matter which made the original poster (OP) incredibly uncomfortable, owing to a past trauma.

Wondering if her past was clouding her judgment, the OP took to the subReddit “Am I The A**hole” (AITA), where she asked fellow Redditors:

“AITA for not doing my Mother-in-Law (MIL)’s breastfeeding exercises?”

The OP explained why she was becoming particularly anxious ahead of the birth of her first child.

This pregnancy isn’t planned.”

“I have trauma that makes it painful for me to have others see my breasts and no one can touch them including myself.”

“I’ve been to therapy, and the solution is ‘then don’t let anybody touch them’.”

“My husband has become obsessed with the idea that babies must be breastfed (I think he’s getting it from his mom), and wants to prep me by getting me comfortable with it.”

“I’ve told him the nightmare it will be if he does it to me and how it will make me feel like he’s a danger to me.”

“So his solution has been the idea of my MIL doing it.”

“It’s wrong on so many levels to me, but he’s freaking out telling me I’m “never going to live a normal life.”

“I feel like nobody touching my breasts is more normal than my MIL doing it.”

“I could be biased on this because I’m clouded by trauma which is why I’m asking here.”

“I know I can act crazy sometimes because of it, but this seems totally unreasonable to me.”

“Just to clarify, it would involve touching my breasts fully clothed.”

Fellow Redditors weighed in on where they believed the OP fell in this particular situation, by declaring:

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

The Reddit community was in agreement that the OP was not the a**hole for refusing to allow her MIL to touch her breasts in hopes of getting her to breastfeed.

Everyone agreed that the OP’s concerns were more than valid and that the only people who should be helping her with exercises in that manner, if anyone at all, were doctors.


“Fed is best.”

“Meet with your ob/gyn alone.”

‘Explain that you’ve had a traumatic history and you’re going to need their support in preventing family members and the health care team from traumatizing you.”

“A lot of standard care involves mom’s breast area so you’ll need to be prepared for what they’ll suggest and be very explicit about declining it.”

“Ask them to provide a letter you will share with your medical team and family explaining your 100% bottle feeding plan.”

“Hospitals vary, but many routinely send breastfeeding coaches or don’t automatically provide formula these days.”

“Make sure your labor and delivery nursing team understands that you’ll need support with bottle feeding.”

“A clear statement on your birth plan that you aren’t to be offered breastfeeding coaching, the birthing team isn’t to offer to place the baby on your chest after birth, and no one is to touch your breasts.”

“Your doctor may be able to suggest alternatives – holding the baby nestled between your arm and body after birth, etc.”

“A referral to a therapist who specializes in trauma-based care and anxiety treatment.”

“While the history of your anxiety isn’t in dispute, your future health will be more secure if you can find someone to work with to increase your tolerance for medical care around your breasts.”

“Eg your milk will come in shortly after birth, and you’ll want to have a care plan in place for addressing any issues that come up while the tenderness is subsiding if you run into blocked milk ducts or need future care like mammograms.”

“Ask the therapist to help you figure out the best way to hold and carry the baby, including practicing with a doll or stuffed animal.”

“Many local baby supply stores offer a variety of baby slings and carriers that you can try on in the store.”

“Ask the therapist for help finding a couples or family counselor to address your partner’s anxiety and his relationship with his mother.”- capmanor1755


“It’s totally ok to bottle feed.”

‘Don’t let anyone tell you differently.”

“Don’t feel guilty about it.”

“The baby will be fine.”

“Your partner doesn’t get to dictate how you use your body.”-wadoc1

“Sorry, your husband wants your MIL to touch your breasts?”

“Is that right?”

“If it is that’s plain off the deep end weird and wrong.”

“You have trauma, your body, your rules.”


“Again this is really weird on their part.”

“Super weird.”- ReviewOk929


“This is horrific, and absolutely nobody but you gets to decide what happens with your breasts.”

‘Tell your husband and MIL to lay off, quite literally.”- lilianic


“Fed is best, and a mother whose mental health is a priority is so important.”

“But it might be worth speaking to a therapist because even a bottle-fed baby might cling to you and grab at your breasts so think about how this will be something you manage.”

“And I’m pretty sure their advice won’t be ‘maybe have your MIL grope them’.”- semicoloncait


“They’re your breasts.”

“You get to decide who touches them and if you’re going to breastfeed or not (and not breastfeeding is totally normal, healthy, and fine).”

“Your husband and MIL need to butt the bell out.”

“That said, kids are grabby.”

“Burping and holding a baby is going to be a lot easier if you can handle the baby touching your breasts.”

“I would highly recommend seeking professional help on this issue.”

“I’d also recommend a new therapist.”

“Mammograms and breast exams are necessary to maintain your health.”

“Just moping out on necessary healthcare doesn’t sound like a good long-term plan, baby or no baby.”- TKDavis07

“You’re NTA for wanting a right to your own body.”

“And mother-in-law wanting to do the exercises for you clearly crosses a line and you’re NTA for enforcing that boundary.”

“Personally, I’d be weirded out by it too.”

“That being said, the boundaries around your breasts with your unborn child aren’t exactly normal.”

“Even as kids grow, they play and touch and grab.”

“You would do well to continue therapy as you could have a devastating interaction with your child in the future when they inevitably go there as most toddlers do.”- gurgurhh


“OP Husband: ‘Hey mom, wanna grope my wife as a favor?'”

“What the hell is that?”

“Aside from the trauma, and the fact that there are obvious viable alternatives designed for scenarios where breastfeeding isn’t appropriate, what a weird conversation to have with one’s mother.”

“OP, it seems unreasonable because it is.”- Narkareth




“You don’t want people to touch your breasts.”

“So people shouldn’t.”


“Full stop.”

“No arguments.”

“Your baby will be just fine with formula.”- edtd2


“Your husband and MIL have zero say in whether or not you breastfeed.”- tlf555

“NTA-but please restart therapy asap.”

“’No touching’ isn’t a solution anymore.”

“You’ll be carrying a baby around the house and world for a while, there’s no way to carry a baby and avoid the baby’s exploring or the little one’s torso touching you.”

“Plus, what is your plan when your milk comes in or when it’s time for mammograms?”

“These are things that need to be addressed (without your MIL’s involvement).”

“I suspect your husband was just thinking that a woman would be easier for you to deal with on this.”

“I think you need a better therapist and to start meeting with a lactation consultant WHO is open-minded about formula feeding.”- OkSeat4312


“Good grief!”

“Absolutely do not submit to the trauma.”

“Just formula feed and baby will be fine.”- Pinkie_Flamingo

“NTA and this is why you don’t marry a momma’s boy.”- gcraiders


“Your husband and MIL are wanting to violate your bodily autonomy and disregard your boundaries.”

“I’m so sorry you have trauma, but that shouldn’t even factor here.”

“You don’t want to breastfeed.”

“End of discussion.”

“They have zero right to tell you that you have to.”

“They have zero right to try to force you to allow either of them to touch your body, over clothes is irrelevant.”

“Please let them read my comment if you’re comfortable letting them know you posted.”

“Husband and MIL, you are at risk of crossing a serious boundary with OP, to the point of harassment and abuse.”

“Keep your hands and opinions to yourselves.”

“How dare you?”

“OP, do not let them bully you in this.”

“Your body, your choice.”

“If you can, then pump, but if that also triggers you, then formula feed your baby.”- manonaca

One imagines that the OP’s husband and MIL think that they are only thinking of her best interests.

When in reality, they are judging her and filling her with more worry and self-doubt than she already has.

Hopefully, they will realize this before the baby is born, and allow the OP to feed and raise this child however she is comfortable doing so.

Written by John Curtis

A novelist, picture book writer and native New Yorker, John is a graduate of Syracuse University and the children's media graduate program at Centennial College. When not staring at his computer monitor, you'll most likely find John sipping tea watching British comedies, or in the kitchen, taking a stab at the technical challenge on the most recent episode of 'The Great British Baking Show'.