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Nursing Mother Ticks Off Downstairs Neighbor By Setting Nightly Alarm To Pump Breast Milk

Mother holding a baby being shown a breast pump.
SDI Productions/Getty Images

Even though living in an apartment building seemingly puts you in closer quarters with your neighbors than living in a house on a street, chances are you still might not see or talk to them any more frequently.

Of course, sharing a wall could mean that you might hear your neighbors more often than you would like.

This can be particularly annoying if your work/home hours differ substantially, and your neighbors are making noise just as you are trying to get some sleep.

An unfortunate medical situation required Redditor sushikat323 to perform a necessary task at a fairly ungodly hour.

Much to the annoyance of her downstairs neighbor, who had finally had enough and came up to complain to the original poster (OP).

However, his lack of sympathy for her situation resulted in the OP having as little or less sympathy towards his, and she wasn’t afraid to tell him so.

Worried that her behavior was out of line, the OP took to the subReddit “Am I The A**hole” (AITA), where she asked fellow Redditors:

The OP explained why she had no patience or sympathy for her neighbor’s lack of sleep:

“So, my daughter was born over 3 months early.”

“She’s doing ok but she still have periods where she Bradly desats (braddies) where she stops breathing, oxygen saturation drops in her body and goes bright blue.”

“She does this at least once a day and because of this, she is still in the NICU with no current projection for when she’s coming home.”

“The only thing I can do to help her is to give her cuddles and provide her milk, which means expressing for 20 minutes minimum on each boob every 2 to 3 hours, including over night.”

“I have also had problems with flees in my home (they’ve been awful for everyone in my area this year), so I’ve torn up all carpets and thrown away my sofa and mattress, so I’m currently sleeping on the floor on a blow up mattress with my fiancé.”

“This means that any noise that I make, no matter how much I try to minimize it, carries downstairs to my neighbor.”

“I express milk over night, once at 11:30pm, 1am and then at 6:30am.”

“My neighbor downstairs knocked on my door this morning and complained about my 1am alarm waking him up.”

“I apologized and told him that I can’t turn that specific alarm off because it’s the expression that impacts my milk flow and doing that expression will prompt me to produce more milk over the day.”

“I’m already under enough stress that my milk flow has already been impacted ( I was producing around 100ml and I’m down to 50 to 70 ml).”

“I need the alarms because I cannot miss my expressions, I already feel guilty enough that I’m not producing as much as I was.”

“I explained all this to him and he still said that it wakes him up and that he can’t sleep after it wakes him up. I again apologized and said to him that I can set my alarm between 1am and 3:30am, and he can choose from between those times.”

“He said I should just turn the alarm off and I responded that I can’t, because I can’t afford to sleep through my expressions times.”

“He then said that I should express after 5am, which isn’t possible because the hormones that help produce more milk are at their peak at between 1am and 4am.”

“He complained about it waking him up again and I angrily responded that ‘My daughter is premature, she needs my milk and I will do everything to make sure she’s got as much as she needs, including waking you up at 1am because I need to express!'”

“‘She is my priority, not your sleep’.”

“I closed the door in his face.”

“I just spoke to one of my friends and she’s telling me that I’m the a**hole because my daughter is eating every 3 hours and I’m making just enough milk every time for at least one meal for her, so ‘it won’t hurt to not express the 1am expression’ but it honestly IS the most important expression for milk production.”

“Many people have suggested I put the phone on vibrate, which would be a fantastic solution if it wasn’t for the fact that I have slept straight through having injections or having a cannula put in (I was awoken long enough to give permission to have it put in).”

“I’m open to solutions, but putting my phone on vibrate isn’t going to work.”

“I gave him noise cancelling earplugs and explained the situation when I first came home from the hospital.”

“We also pulled up the carpets 4 days before I went into labour, so it’s not something that we could control, we have to leave the flea solution to work for 2 weeks and the firm has already been booked to have new flooring put in after that 2 weeks.”

“He apparently needs absolute silence, noise or vibration doesn’t seem to matter.”

“He made a noise complaint when I moved in because I flushed my toilet at night and then again when my cat jumped down from her cat tree to get food or water at night.”

“I’ve learned every squeaky floorboard in my home because if I stand on one and the squeak wakes him up, he’ll scream and bang on the ceiling.”

“So Reddit, AITA for not stopping expressing at 1am even though I know it wakes up my neighbor?”

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 generally agreed that the OP was not the a**hole for continuing to pump in the middle of the night in spite of waking up her neighbor.

While some people felt that the OP should have been at least willing to consider meeting her neighbor halfway, nearly everyone agreed that his overall lack of sympathy towards her sad situation merited her having no sympathy toward him in return.

“Noise is the price you pay for living in apartments.”

“Tell him to buy a boxed fan, it silences a lot of noise for me, personally.”

“If it wasn’t for your last paragraph about his general noise complaint I’d have at least said you were being inconsiderate but priorities are priorities, but after your last paragraph your neighbor can f*ck right off, he’s entitled.”

“NTA.”- Theoriginalensetsu


“You can’t help that he hears your alarm.”

“The only other suggestion would be to move your mattress into the living room so it’s not directly above his bedroom.”

“The baby will cry when it comes home.”

“That will probably wake him up, too.”

“You have to stay on schedule.”

“Speaking from a mom with a similar situation.”

“My baby went back into the hospital after one week.”- Individual-Royal-522


“The guy didn’t have to come rudely like that, but probably had a justification to air his concerns.”

“My dogs wake me up at night and it IS hard to fall back asleep.”


“So what to do?”


“Could you muffle the alarm?”

“Put it in a cushion beside you?”

“Turn it on vibrate?”

“Get a carpet remnant to put it on?”

“Set it on something high up or in the bathroom?”

“I had neighbors gripe we were too noisy when my son was tiny.”

“It pretty much irked me since babies make noises, point being it just ticks the stuffing out of you when life is noisy and some grumpy goat complains.”

“Apartments can be frustrating, so many people so close together.”- Graycy


“Sounds like it’s an alarm you need.”

“Do his alarms at in the morning wake you up?”

“This is something you should be able to do, and given that your alarm isn’t a foghorn(I’m assuming) you’re allowed to have some levels of noise.”

“It’s your house, you need to be able to live there.”

“I don’t think an alarm is something that should be disturbing the neighbors 😅. “

“Sounds like your apartment complex has some insulation/noise issues or your neighbor is a bat.”

“An alarm is such a small thing, and if it’s bothering him maybe he can try to figure out something that helps him sleep.”- Amazing_Log7180


“Can’t wait to hear what he says when the baby comes home and is crying during the night.”-heartunwinds


“If he is so easily disturbed he should be the one taking steps to avoid noise.”

“If a cat jumping from the cat tree was so much why didn’t he install soundproofing in his apartment?”

“The world doesn’t revolve around neighbor.”

“He urgently needs surgery to remove his head from his a**, truly a medical wonder that he can talk from there.”

There is little more frustrating than being woken up in the middle of the night, or at any hour truth be told.

Even so, one can’t help but be a little surprised that the OP’s neighbor showed virtually no sympathy towards her sad, stressful situation.

And as others aptly pointed out, things won’t get any better for him when the baby comes back from the hospital.

As there’s no off switch for the baby.

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'.