Commenters in a popular internet forum blasted a woman after her son-in-law discovered she was trying to breastfeed his four-month-old daughter.
The anonymous father, known only as u/SammyandMe35, posted about his mother-in-law in Reddit’s popular r/AmITheA**hole forum and received nearly 11,000 upvotes and 760 comments, many from users calling out the woman for crossing several major boundaries.
In the post titled “AITA, I had my MIL trespassed after she entered my home and fired my babysitter,” the man explained that his wife Anne, 34, died after giving birth to their daughter, Sammy.
Due to a difficult pregnancy, the man already took an indefinite three-month leave before Sammy was born.
The man said Sammy is now four months old and he needed to find a nanny so he could go back to work. When he asked his mother-in-law, Sandra, 56, if she could recommend a nanny, she insisted on doing it herself.
He decided to give Sandra a house key with an agreement that she would come to the house 30 minutes before he leaves for work and stay for dinner after getting Sammy to sleep.
“Everything was fine for the first couple of weeks until I noticed that Sammy’s not feeding as much. Her formula’s barely touched,” the post read. “I asked Sandra about it and why Sammy’s not feeding well. She said she’s trying to breastfeed my daughter. At first I thought she was joking then I realized she wasn’t.”
The man said Sandra told him she needs Sammy to “latch for a few minutes every day” in order to “activate her milk production.”
Breastfeeding without pregnancy, also called induced lactation, is more common than some think, with plenty of adoptive parents utilizing various methods in order to breastfeed the infant even if they did not give birth.
According to the Mayo Clinic, lactation can be induced by replicating the hormonal process that causes milk production.
“If you have months to prepare, your health care provider might prescribe hormone therapy—such as supplemental estrogen or progesterone—to mimic the effects of pregnancy,” Melissa A. Kurke wrote for the Mayo Clinic.
Hormone therapy may last for months and requires preparation—about two months. Even though milk may be produced, health care providers recommend supplemental feedings with formula to ensure the infant gets enough food.
“I almost lost it, I told her she cannot do that, and she needs to stop,” the post read. “She said she will but I caught her again when I walked in my daughter’s room and she was forcing Sammy to latch. I confronted her and told her she’s no longer my baby’s nanny. I didn’t ask for the key back as she is still welcome to come visit anytime.”
He said he took a week off work to search for a nanny and care for his daughter. Eventually, he found one but after two days she did not return. When he called to ask what happened, she told him his “mother” fired her the day before.
“I asked her to describe the woman and I was livid when I realized it was Sandra. She came in my house using her key and fired my nanny,” the post read. “I was about to call her when she showed up and said a convoluted story like how I hired an incompetent nanny…I told her to leave but she refused and told me she’s calling CPS [Child Protective Services] because I am endangering my child.”
The two argued before he called the police and Sandra was charged with trespassing. He said he knew Sandra was grieving her daughter, but that she crossed a line by disregarding his wishes.
“She is very upset with me. My SIL and BIL are calling me ruthless and I am now second guessing myself. Have I taken it too far by calling the police? AITA?” the post concluded.
In an update, the man said he contacted CPS to inform them about the situation and also had his mother, a retired family law attorney, help him look over his options. He also said he upgraded his home security system.
“BIL and SIL know the whole story and they also think that forcing to breastfeed Sammy was wrong, but they are angry at me for calling the cops on MIL and having her trespassed,” the update read. “They said it was unnecessary and cruel to do to a grieving mother.”
More than 760 users commented on the post, almost all calling out Sandra’s behavior as inappropriate and dangerous since she was not properly feeding her granddaughter.
“NTA. Her trying to breastfeed your daughter without your permission is gross and completely wrong,” one user commented. “Beyond that she FIRED YOUR NANNY? I’d ask for your key back and set some serious boundaries.”
“Oh…. My…. God… NTA. Keep that crazy person away from your child, who cares if it’s their grandparent,” another user commented. “Not only was that so disgusting but she was also starving your child.”
But other users called out commenters for saying it was not possible for the grandmother to breastfeed.
“I’m not saying she should have breast-fed if the father said not to, but please stop saying people can’t produce milk,” one user commented. “There are whole cultures where grandma reactivates her milk glands to feed her grandchildren and while in our culture that’s not the norm it is in theirs.”
Newsweek reached out to u/SammyandMe35 for comment.