It's cliché but true: Everyone's journey in parenthood, including infant feeding, is different. Some choose to breastfeed. Others choose not to. Either decision is perfectly fine—it all comes down to what's best for each individual family.
Likewise, everyone's body is different, and that includes the amount of milk a lactating person can produce. Some people are unable to make enough milk, while others wind up with an abundance of it, including one mom on Reddit who is exclusively breastfeeding and producing more than her four-month-old daughter needs. She's using the extra milk to create a stash.
No big deal, right? But apparently, her sister, who is also a new mom, thinks it's a problem. Then, the whole family got involved, and now it's a very big deal.
"Recently [my daughter] has been unable to latch on my left breast, and I have been pumping that side, so I have a decent stockpile of milk," u/tossmeaway48 wrote in the AITA subreddit. "My sister also recently had a baby and decided against breastfeeding (which I support. Fed is best.)."
The poster later explained that her sister decided against breastfeeding because she didn't want her breasts to sag. And you know what? That's fine—her body, her choice. Formula is a completely nutritious option. It's also expensive, and the Redditor's sister has noticed.
"She came over one day and asked if she could take my breast milk," the poster continued. "She decided formula was too expensive, and she would just take my breast milk that I pump. I told her no…I was saving that in case baby girl has issues latching again, or if I'm not around, and she needs to be fed."
And then, the conversation went sour.
"My sister freaked out, and told me I didn't need that much, and I could always pump more, so giving her what I have pumped so far wouldn't matter," the poster said. "We argued for a while, and she got our parents involved. Now, it's become a whole family issue, and the people who disagree have been blowing up my phone."
She wanted to know, "Am I being unreasonable?"
The post hasn't even been up for 24 hours and has already racked up more than 1.2K comments. And Reddit's verdict came fast (and without much deliberation): The original poster (OP) is absolutely not being unreasonable.
"Imagine if OP didn't have a newborn at the same time as her sister. Would she feel entitled to the breast milk of those around her?... How ridiculously entitled and selfish," one top commenter responded.
"Your sister clearly doesn't understand how physically demanding and time-consuming it is to breastfeed and pump a supply. She has no right to the milk you've collected from your body for your own daughter," wrote someone else.
"This is so bizarre. I breastfed three kids. Pumping and stocking up milk is HARD. It takes so much time and effort. Asking someone to give that away is like asking someone to give away paintings or hours and hours of their work," another said.
I feel the last two comments personally. I also had an oversupply with my son. Though I stopped pumping shortly after his first birthday, he will be getting his last few ounces of breast milk later this week at 18.5 months old. I worked hard to make that milk, and I made it for him.
I looked into donating, but the FDA recommends against using milk acquired from someone online because it potentially exposes the infant to issues like HIV and illicit drugs. I don't have problems with either, but I felt uncomfortable contributing to something the FDA advised against. I didn't know of any local hospitals that took breast milk, either. And frankly, my body made that milk, and it was my choice to give it solely to my son.
If you have extra breast milk, here are some things you can do with it:
Find a reputable milk bank and donate it. Some milk banks, like those at hospitals, screen donors to safely collect and test human milk.
Find a peer-to-peer group. Though not recommended by the FDA, it's not illegal to donate to peers. Lactating people who donate likely have other babies' best interests at heart. Facebook groups, like local Human Milk 4 Human Babies, allow people to post about extra milk they have or need.
Put it in the freezer and give it to your baby. The CDC says you can store breast milk at temperatures 0 degrees Fahrenheit or below for up to 12 months (though six months or fewer is best).
Give baby a milk bath. Put a little breast milk in a bathtub. Though there's minimal research on it, experts say milk baths could treat conditions like baby acne and dry skin.