The popularity of using donor breast milk is back on the rise thanks to many studies touting the “liquid gold” for its nutritional benefits. Which is why some women start looking for donors before their babies are even born. And while the practice isn’t for everyone, a lot of new moms have found themselves turning to hospitals, local mom groups on Facebook, and even asking their friends for pumped milk.
A new mom on Reddit recently shared her story of how helping out her sister-in-law caused a rift between her and her own sister. The 31-year-old explained how both her and her SIL gave birth around the same time. “SIL and I are very close (known each other since primary type close); several years ago she was diagnosed with breast cancer and chose to have a double mastectomy,” user airabreastfed writes. “She had arranged to get [colostrum] from the hospital store for her son and the formula feed, but due to the virus our hospital had very little in stock and they were rationing what they had, so she would’ve only gotten a couple of mls.”
OP (original poster) says she was, we’ll say blessed, with an oversupply and had begun collecting her own colostrum beginning at 33 weeks with the expectation that she would donate it to the hospital. “When she told me about her situation, I offered her some of my oversupply,” she wrote, adding that the whole thing worked out great for everyone since she was able to help her SIL and had enough leftover to donate to the hospital.
As time went on, though, OP’s oversupply didn’t let up, and she found herself with a freezer full of milk, so she offered some to her SIL. The whole arrangement has worked out great for the both of them, since her nephew was experiencing a reaction to formula, and her daughter was left feeling gassy after feedings due to her forceful letdown. But then airabreastfed’s sister entered the picture, and things got complicated.
“However, my sister has now asked me to do this for her when her baby is born because she doesn’t want to breastfeed as she doesn’t want to get saggy boobs or stretch marks,” OP writes. “I declined because by the time her baby is born, I will be back at work and my daughter will be moving onto solids and my job isn’t pumping friendly for a variety of reasons.” This has apparently enraged OP’s sister, causing her to take her complaints public, bashing OP’s SIL for “deliberately excluding her,” amongst other things.
“No amount of explanation calms her down, and I’m starting to wonder if I should just do it as her big sister,” OP writes, asking at the end if she’s the asshole for not wanting to continue pumping in order to help her sister.
We commend OP for everything she’s doing for her SIL. Pumping is a lot of work, and it’s so admirable that she’s continuing with it so that both babies can benefit from her supply issues, but we’ve got to ask what exactly her sister thinks is going to happen to her body after pregnancy? We hate to be the bearers of bad news, but breastfeeding isn’t what causes “saggy boobs or stretch marks.”
Commenters rallied behind OP, agreeing that she was basically a saint for even considering continuing to pump for what a lot of people called issues of vanity.
“OP did a wonderful thing for her SIL, who did not even have a choice, which is really damn difficult and upsetting, especially when you have a kid that’s allergic,” wrote user wildflowers. “Sister just wants to be a brat. My goodness, just stand behind your decision and feed your kid. And if vanity is the reason you don’t want to bf your kid, get over yourself.”
Some commenters, like user SincerelyCynical even pointed out that it was disturbing that OP’s sister would even consider bullying her into continuing after she declined. “I did not breastfeed and am obviously in the ‘fed is best’ camp, so I like to support women who choose for themselves in either direction,” they wrote. “That being said, I’m most disturbed by the sister thinking she can demand another woman’s bodily function in order to protect her own vanity. If she doesn’t want to breastfeed, I think that’s fine. But to then demand another woman — any woman — endure pumping so that her baby can have what she could but won’t give it? Hell no.”
We agree. And we really hope OP comes back with an update after her sister gives birth and discovers that it’s really not the breastfeeding that causes all those changes to your postpartum body.
Celebrate the beauty of different breastfeeding journeys through these photographs.