Public breastfeeding is a parent’s right — on that we are absolutely solid in our beliefs. But every once in a while, even those solid principles receive a little shake, and that’s what happened to one mom who wrote on Reddit about an unpleasant exchange in a playground. Her daughter had some probing questions about another mother who was breastfeeding an older child, and answering those questions turned into quite a nasty confrontation that has us wondering who was right.
Reddit user plumbus_hun wrote on the AITA subreddit about how she and her husband took their 3-year-old daughter and 2-year-old son to the playground recently. There, she saw a boy who looked to be around 6 or 7 years old getting “stroppy and huffy” with his mother.
“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!” plumbus_hun wrote. She admitted to sharing an astonished look with her husband out of sight of the other mother, but then her daughter started asking, “Mummy, why has that lady got her booby out?” and then, “Why would he drink booby milk from a mummy if he is a big boy?”
“Honestly, I dont know why,” plumbus_hun answered. She didn’t really judge or shame the mother, but the 3-year-old kind of did, because 3-year-olds aren’t known for having filters.
“It’s a silly thing for big children to do isn’t it,” the girl said, according to her mother. “He could have food instead, like broccoli or eggs or jelly.”
Plumbus_hun then steered the subject to something else, but the breastfeeding mom apparently overheard this exchange. Later she confronted her at her car, saying, “I’m disgusted about how you have shamed me for naturally feeding my child,” and attacking her for the snack she was about to feed her kids. Plumbus_hun shot back that she should “wind her fucking neck in” which is a British phrase we would like to adopt into our own vocabulary promptly.
She feels kind of bad for cursing at the end there, but Plumbus_hun asked the forum if the conversation with her daughter really was shaming another mother. And is this one situation in which the other mother should have breastfed in private? Redditors were eager to weigh in.
Many had opinions about why someone would be breastfeeding a child that old.
“Someone who publicly breastfeeds a six year old is actively seeking attention, IMO,” yourlittlebirdie wrote.
This is harsh and uncalled for. No one can know another mother’s motivation, for one. Second, we can’t tell if the boy was actually that old or just big for his age. Third, extended breastfeeding is just fine, provided both child and parent are OK with it. Even if a child doesn’t need breastmilk to survive, it is an emotional comfort for him.
“There’s nothing wrong with late term breastfeeding, and it’s pretty natural in a lot of places / cultures (just not publicized due to the criticism etc),” mumma_bear_to_1 wrote. “HOWEVER. You are sooooo NTA. Nothing wrong with breastfeeding, late term feeding, or feeding in public…. but also, just in my opinion, I think feeding in public should probably stop when your kid is an actual kid now… yeah. Like that lady should probably not be shocked by the conversation you had with your little one given the circumstances 🤷♀️ and I think the way you handled your conversation was pretty good.”
Others also urged a little more compassion for the breastfeeding mom.
“You didn’t insult anyone yourself; you just tried to field your child’s comments, and you did it pretty well,” Tomodachi-Turtle said. “However, it’s clear you’re judging her hard-core for this, which I don’t think is fair and makes u a little mean. First of all, there are enough 4-year-olds that look 6 for there to be reasonable doubt. Also we don’t know the kid. We don’t know if he has developmental delays (other poster here mentioned she’s been working on weaning her autistic child for a couple years now). Yes, breastfeeding a normal 6 year old is weird. But remember we can’t really judge people when we don’t know what’s going on in their lives.”
Another commenter had suggestions for how she could have been more supportive.
“You did essentially agree with your daughter it is weird and instead of just teaching her not to judge others, you just left the moment hanging,” IAmABlankPage wrote. “It doesn’t take much for you to go ‘Yes he is having boobie milk; maybe he doesn’t feel good,’ and change subject. You don’t have to understand it.”
Wise words we can all take in.
Enjoy these powerful photos of public breastfeeding protests.