Aunt Who Breastfed Her Nephew While Babysitting Doesn’t Get Why Her Sister Is So Furious

iStock

Woman breastfeeding
iStock

Although you wouldn't necessarily allow a stranger to breastfeed your child, is the same true of your close family? One woman thought she was in the clear when she decided to breastfeed her nephew while babysitting for her sister, but she was in for a shock when her sister came home and was thoroughly furious.

  • The mom explains that she and her sister had their babies three months apart.

    Her sister's baby -- whom she calls Sister's Baby (SB) in her Reddit post -- is 5 months old, whereas her baby -- whom she calls My Baby (MB) -- is only 2 months old.

  • Advertisement
  • Her sister recently had to go to the hospital for an appointment and asked the Original Poster (OP) to babysit.

    Before she left for the hospital for her minor surgical procedure, both sisters breastfed their babies, "so she expressed enough milk to last the day so I could bottle feed SB and I would breastfeed MB."

  • But there was a problem -- her nephew was extra hungry that day.

    The mom fed SB at the times that her sister had instructed her to, but "he always seemed hungry still afterwards."

    The OP would then dole out an extra ounce of milk to her nephew to tide him over, but quickly her supply was shrinking.

    "I tried my best to make the milk last but I was down to 6 oz left and I wasn't expecting my sister back for another five hours."

  • Before she knew it, it was time to feed her nephew again.

    All he really needed was another "nibble" she reasoned. Would it be so bad if she just breastfed him too?

    "So I just put SB on my other boob," she wrote.

    "The same thing happened a couple of hours later and again, I ran out of milk," she continued. "My sister had been delayed with her procedure and wasn't back yet so I just fed SB from the breast."

  • Eventually, her sister did come home.

    When she walked in, the OP told her what happened and that "I would probably be engorged tomorrow as now my t--s think I've got twins."

    Her sister, however, did not think it was funny. "She went ballistic."

  • Her sister thought it was "so disrespectful" for the OP to breastfeed her son.

    The furious mom told her that she should have given him formula if he was still hungry. But the OP explained that she would "never give my kid formula if I could help it" -- and besides, she doesn't keep formula in the house.

  • On the one hand, the OP can see why her sister would be upset.

    It's pretty personal to breastfeed a baby, but "I'm not a stranger, SB is my nephew and he was hungry," the OP explained.

    After she left, her sister sent her a text telling her she was upset and that the OP had crossed a line. How would the OP feel if she was in her shoes?

    "I think I would have been glad she didn't give MB formula," she added. "I'm not sure if she's being over dramatic or if I'm just a big hippie. Am I the A--hole?"

  • To some people, what the OP did was unforgivable.


    One commenter who is a NICU nurse explained that "Breast milk is still a body fluid, family or no, and breastfeeding is a personal activity for a mother and her child. In the hospital we treat breast milk as a high risk medication and require two licensed people to sign off its administration because it is a bodily fluid and even donor milk cannot be given without parental consent.

    "Each person gets to weigh the risk/benefit/emotional aspects of their child getting another woman's milk for themselves," the person continued. "Moreover, putting the baby to your breast was entirely wrong without your sister's consent. That's much too personal of an action to take without making sure your sister was okay with her child eating from another woman's breast. Absolute worst case, you should have pumped and bottle fed if the baby was really crying hungry, not breastfed him because you thought he seemed a little less than full."

    "Not to mention any medication OP could be on that sis isn't?" a second person chimed in. "Oh my god, people seriously underestimate the amount that's transmitted via breast milk."

    Another person agreed. "YTA because you should have asked her permission first since you understand that it's a very personal thing to do and went ahead with it anyway. Also what is wrong with formula? I'm guessing women who can't breastfeed give it to their kids and they will be fine as a result of it."

    The mom later clarified that she has nothing against formula but she doesn't consume dairy, her baby's father is allergic, and in general she doesn't keep it in the house.

  • Other people argued there was no way she could have let her nephew be hungry.


    "Was she supposed to let the baby go hungry?" one person commented.

    "Right now, at least for me, it just isn't possible to pop into the grocery store anymore to pick something up quickly," another commenter pointed out. "It means waiting in lines. Babies don't wait for food. Also, if you don't pump regularly that might not have worked. She should have sent extra milk -- she doesn't have the right to be upset at how you handled the situation. Hungry babies need to be fed, and they aren't exactly patient."

    "I understand people's reservation regarding another person's body fluids, but OP is justified in this specific situation," a third person wrote. "Her sister was in surgery so there's no way to contact her and it is not advisable for her to go out to buy formula now" because of the current health situation.

  • For now, it appears the two sisters will remain at odds with each other.

    Later, the mom shared that her sister is still angry with her.

    "I doubt she will let me babysit again to be honest," she wrote. "She doesn't want to talk to me yet."

    And yet, it doesn't seem as if she would have done anything differently. 

    "If she would rather her child be hungry, I don't think I want to babysit him again, it would break my heart," she wrote.

breastfeeding