A woman claimed online that she recently bought infant formula for her sister-in-law who is struggling with breastfeeding. That decision has caused a major divide in the family, according to the woman, but commenters were quick to offer her support.
In the popular Reddit forum “Am I The A**hole,” Redditor u/Strawberry-Fixer8911 asked: “AITA [am I the a**hole] for giving my sister-in-law baby formula?” The post has received over 17,000 votes and nearly 3,300 comments.
According to the 18-year-old Redditor, her sister-in-law had just recently given birth but was having trouble with breastfeeding. So a cousin named Rachel stepped in to help.
“My brother said our cousin Rachel was around a lot because my SIL is having trouble breastfeeding and Rachel is a big believer in it and is helping her,” u/Strawberry-Fixer8911 explained. “I offered to help them…and on Saturday they asked me to go to [the] grocery store for them because no home delivery had an open spot.”
But when she dropped off the groceries, u/Strawberry-Fixer8911 was immediately “shocked” and worried by how exhausted her sister-in-law looked.
“She literally looked like the walking dead. Barely awake and not showered and she was actually crying because she was so frustrated. It actually scared me how bad she looked,” u/Strawberry-Fixer8911 explained. “At first I didn’t want to butt in but it bothered me so much I went back to the store and got a can of baby formula. I figured it would give her a break and my niece could eat.”
When she reiterated to her sister-in-law that it was OK to give her child formula, u/Strawberry-Fixer8911 said that her sister-in-law started “weeping” because “no one told her it was okay not to breastfeed.”
“She felt so guilty because of Rachel butting in and no one telling her formula was okay,” u/Strawberry-Fixer8911 continued.
After she screamed at her brother for not being of any help to his wife, u/Strawberry-Fixer8911 said that she finally got her sister-in-law to shower and sleep. Her brother then put his foot down with their family and told their cousin Rachel and each set of parents to “butt out.”
The husband and wife now take turns feeding the baby so that they can both sleep.
“My parents and Rachel are furious at me,” said u/Strawberry-Fixer8911. “SILs sister was in agreement with Rachel and left me an angry voicemail full of swearing.”
It is not uncommon for mothers to struggle with breastfeeding.
A 2013 study conducted by UC Davis Medical Center revealed that 92 percent of new mothers said they were having trouble breastfeeding just three days after birth, according to NPR. Half of the mothers who participated in the study said that they had problems getting their babies to latch, while others reported nipple confusion and pain. Forty-four percent felt that they weren’t producing enough milk.
“The most commonly reported problems during the first week were also the ones that made it more likely that a mom would give up,” NPR said.
Two months after birth, 47 percent of moms reported using formula and 21 percent said they stopped breastfeeding altogether, NPR continued.
In a 2019 statement obtained by The Independent, the chief executive for the Royal College of Midwives said that a mother’s decision to bottle feed her child should be respected.
Though u/Strawberry-Fixer8911’s family didn’t approve of her decision to give her sister-in-law infant formula, other commenters surely did.
“NTA [not the a**hole]. You totally did the right thing,” commented u/Dusty_Duck. “Some women, no matter how much they want to breastfeed, just can’t for various reasons. The mom and the baby should not have to suffer for it. I’m glad you were brave and caring for your SIL and her baby. “
“Fed is best. I was your sister-in-law. Baby was starving, I was on the verge of a nervous breakdown. And I knew that it was fine to use formula,” said u/MxXylda. “NTA. You’re a saint.”
“OP is not only NTA; but also, a freaking savior. Just telling this poor mom formula was ok was a saintly move in this situation, but then OP stepped in and did stuff that should have been done for this poor mom days and days ago,” added u/Bubbly_Preference688.
Newsweek reached out to Redditor u/Strawberry-Fixer8911 for comment.