Redditor plumbus_hun is a mother of two kids who with her husband were all enjoying a day in the park together.
But things took a turn when another parkgoer arrived with her school-age son and did something that made their three-year-old daughter question what they were witnessing.
A confrontation ensued when the other woman made an accusation after overhearing their conversation. The Original Poster (OP) visited the “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) subReddit to see what strangers had to say about the unexpected encounter.
“AITA for ‘breastfeeding shaming’ a woman?”
“OK, so my kids (F[emale] 3 and M[ale] 2) had their flu vaccine scheduled in the middle of a pre school session, so me & husband decided not to take them in for it, & just have a nice day all together instead.”
“So we went to the flu clinic then the park.”
“We had been there for 35 minutes, there were probably 4 other toddlers there with their grownups. I was pushing my 3yo on the swing, and my partner was playing with our 2yo on the little bouncers.”
“We were all having a good time, me & the girl are chatting/giggling, & daddy is laughing with the boy. So then, a woman comes in with her kid that looked older, probs 6/7.”
“They wander for a bit, her son seems kind of stroppy & huffy, & is complaining.”
“So then she sits down on the benches in the middle of the park within eyeline of everyone else at the park, and starts to breastfeed him!”
“I made eye contact with my husband, and he widened his eyes and kind of nodded in her direction, and then I kind of grimace back to him. She didnt see this.”
“However my daughter ‘Molly’, who is very chatty/speaks quite loudly, immediately says to me ‘Mummy, why has that lady got her booby out?,’ to which I reply ‘I think… she is giving the boy some booby milk.’ We then have a conversation that went something like this:”
“Molly : Is that like when Jane (SIL) feeds booby milk to baby Harry (cousin)?”
“Me : yeah”
“Molly: but that boy isn’t a baby. He’s a big boy, like Ruby (older cousin)”
“Me : yeah, I know”
“Molly : Why would he drink booby milk from a mummy if he is a big boy?”
“Me : Honestly, I dont know why.”
“Molly : its a silly thing for big children to do isnt it”
“Me : mhh”
“Molly: he could have food instead, like broccoli or eggs or jelly”
“Me (seeing an opportunity to get out of this convo) : or cake. Do you like cake? You’ve got a treat cake for having your vaccination, and a smoothie in the car. Shall we go home soon?”
“We then got off the swing, had a play on the slide said goodbye to the park & went over to the car , & clipped them in. While I was getting their snacks out of the back, the breastfeeding woman came over without her kid & said:”
“‘I’m disgusted about how you have shamed me for naturally feeding my child’ & that I should teach my daughter that breastfeeding is the most natural thing in the world, & I obviously don’t care for their emotional/physical wellbeing, and that they need breastmilk instead of their ‘toxic’ cake and smoothy.”
“She had obviously heard the uncomfortable conversation I had with my daughter, which I thought I handled well!”
“I was speechless for a second, but then said to her that if she really cared for her kid then she wouldn’t leave him standing in a busy car park on his own, and that she should ‘wind her f’king neck in’.”
“Her son was just stood in front of her car alone, on the road. I then slammed my boot, got in the car and told my husband to drive!”
“When I told my husband, he said I was a bit of an a**hole, but honestly I don’t think I was (except swearing)”
Anonymous strangers passed judgment by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
- NAH – No A**holes Here
Most Redditors said the OP was NTA.
“NTA. You didn’t shame or complain here. You tried to answer your daughter’s questions as best you could and then distract her.”
“The woman was obviously eavesdropping and felt that it was her place to guilt you for not handling it the way she would have.”
“There is stigma in feeding an older child absolutely so I get that it may not have been nice to overhear such an awkward convo but that doesn’t give her the right to tell you how to parent your child in such a situation.”
“Had you actually been saying anything to her directly then you would have been the AH but you weren’t.” – nessa_ac
“NTA. Someone who publicly breastfeeds a six year old is actively seeking attention, IMO.” – yourlittlebirdie
“NTA. You fielded a teaching moment. Your transcript doesn’t indicate that you stated it was weird.”
“You maybe could have been more neutral, but I don’t think it was bad. The other lady was far ruder than you were for just coming up and confronting you.” – ADawg28
The thread sparked an interesting discussion about breastfeeding.
“In Africa some children are breastfed past the age of 6 due to scarcity of food. Which is sad for the mothers because the mother’s body will cannibalize her bones, organs and teeth to produce milk with enough nutrients for her offspring, this is a law of nature.”
“As for breastfeeding children over 3, in a developed country where there is no scarcity of food, she might be influenced by that cringe moment in Game of Thrones when Lysa Tully breastfeeds Robyn Arryn. IIRC everyone was talking about that at the water-cooler the day after that episode aired.”
“NTA btw. I thought you handled it well.” – Stormy8888
“interestingly, prehistoric mothers used to breastfeed much longer than mothers do now (and archaic human mothers did it for even longer).”
“It provided young children with defences against disease, and also acted as a sort of contraceptive to prevent mothers having multiple infants close to one another.” – Butterscotch_Little
“Yeah well during prehistoric times you couldn’t just drive up to a restaurant and have easy access to a variety of food and nutrients either. Luckily we do now!”
“And we have all sorts of vitamins and modern day medicine to prevent diseases! I consider it a huge win for science that I don’t see elementary aged children breastfeeding in the park on the daily.” – donttalktome18
“Depending on whom you ask, natural age of weaning (when children self-wean) in humans is between 3 and 7 years. This is coincidentally the age when most humans become lactose intolerant.”
“So while it is outside of Western social norms today, breastfeeding a 6/7yo wasn’t uncommon in the past, and is still practiced to this day in some cultures.” – throwaway-a0
Redditors were concerned about one potential hazard for breastfeeding a child well past the six-month mark.
“Forget that! Why is the Mother not scared of teeth!! I just clutched my boobs in protection and I have seen toddler bites on some of my friends.”
“Kids are vicious gremlins that require sleep before a certain hour to ensure they don’t go crazy and no impulse control.
Damn, that would hurt.” – MiskiMoon
“I would be more scared of permanent teeth, yikes. My little cousin (1 yo) bit my finger once and it hurt a lot, can’t imagine how badly permanent teeth hurt.” – haitechan
“Yea my son got bored of feeding and bit me so hard he bit half way through my nipple. Needless to say that was the end of breastfeeding him!” – Ultra_Leopard
“Heck, soon she should be scared of stubble.” – HyacinthFT
Overall, Redditors thought the OP handled the situation well, whereas the other woman overstepped her bounds by approaching her to initiate conflict.