Woman Thinks She's Entitled to Sister's Extra Breast Milk, But Reddit Doesn't Exactly Agree

There's an old saying about not crying over spilled milk. But what about starting a family feud over your sister's extra breast milk? Reddit weighed in.

It's cliché but true: Everyone's journey in parenthood, including infant feeding, is different. Some breastfeed. Some formula feed. Others do a bit of both. All are 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 4-month-old daughter needs. So, she decided to use the extra milk to create a stash.

No big deal, right? But apparently, her sister, who is also a new mom, thinks that there is a problem because she believes that she is entitled to the extra breast milk. And just when you think things were already dramatic enough, the rest of the family got involved in the heated argument too.

Here's how the Redditor described the situation:

"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.)."

Breast pump next to baby
Getty Images

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 that meets a lot of different needs for families. However, formula can also be 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 now-closed post racked up more than 1.4K 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 Federal Drug Administration recommends against using milk acquired from someone online because it isn't adequately screened for infectious diseases or contaminants. While I didn't think either was an issue for me, 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 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 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.

In the end, while we hope this family was able to work out their differences, the bottom line is that if your body is producing the milk, you definitely have the right to decide what gets done with said milk. And if you're having trouble getting your baby breast milk, don't hesitate to reach out to a pediatrician or other health professional, because there are resources that can help.

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