Family & Pets

The breastfeeding debate with a major twist

The breastfeeding debate with a major twist

A woman has sparked an online debate after revealing that she breastfed her sister’s baby.

In a post on Reddit, the woman said she breastfed her sister’s five-month-old son while he was in her care.

The sisters had their babies months apart, and both were still breastfeeding.

“My sister had to go to an appointment in the hospital and because of all the Covid she didn’t want to take [her son] so she asked if I could care for him,” the woman said.

She explained that her sister expressed a day’s worth of milk ahead of her appointment so that the baby could be bottle-fed.

But she found a problem. “I fed sister’s baby the amount she said he could eat at each time, and he always seemed hungry still afterwards,” she said.

“I tried my best to make the milk last but I was down to 6oz [177 mL] left and I wasn’t expecting my sister back for another 5 hours.”

She decided her sister’s baby “just needed another nibble” and fed him from her breast.

“I was feeding my baby already so I just put sister’s baby on my other boob,” she said. “Sister’s baby drank a little bit then fell asleep. The same thing happened a couple of hours later and again, I ran out of milk. My sister had been delayed with her procedure and wasn’t back yet so I just fed sister’s baby from the breast.”

Her sister was enraged to learn about the breastfeeding upon her return home, describing the woman’s action as “disrespectful” and “crossing a line”.

“She said it was so disrespectful and I should have given formula if it wasn’t enough. I would never give my kid formula if I could help it and I don’t have any in the house,” the woman reasoned.

“I can see why she is upset, it’s a very personal thing to feed your baby, but I’m not a stranger, sister’s baby is my nephew and he was hungry.”

Some criticised the woman in the comment section, saying the woman overstepped her sister’s boundaries.

“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,” one wrote.

Another user claiming to be a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) nurse commented: “A baby fed slightly less than it can take is not starving, and won’t be harmed. In fact, babies can be very poor judges of how much food they can take without spitting. As long as this baby was being given adequate fluid and calories across the span of the day, he was in no danger, and was far from starving.”

However, others were more supportive of the woman, saying the infant needed to be fed.

“If your sister didn’t express enough milk you can’t be expected to let the baby go hungry, that would be cruel. I think asking first would be better but women donate milk for premature babies all the time,” one chimed in.

“She didn’t give you enough milk and no supplemental formula. What were you supposed to do... take two infants to the grocery store in the middle of a pandemic?” another added.