‘I gave my newborn niece formula milk and now half the family won’t speak to me’

Breastfeeding is, of course, a wonderful and natural thing, but there are a number of reasons why many parents decide it’s not the best route for them.

Gone are the days where women are shamed for opting to bottle feed their little ones, and yet, one new mum has found herself in a heartbreaking situation after trying everything she can to breastfeed her newborn, only to discover she can’t.

The new mum gave birth just 17 days ago and has been feeling overwhelming pressure from family members to nurse her daughter, regularly breaking down in tears due to frustration and exhaustion when her little girl doesn’t latch on.

Recently, the mum’s sister-in-law called round to drop some groceries off the family, and she was left feeling horrified after discovering how under the weather the mum looked due to exhaustion and the stress of trying to breastfeed.

“When I dropped the food off I was shocked at how bad my sister-in-law looked. She literally looked like the walking dead, barely awake, not showered and she was actually crying because she was so frustrated,” the 18-year-old woman explained on Reddit’s Am I The A**hole forum.

“It actually scared me how bad she looked. 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 the woman returned with the formula, the new mum broke down in tears and sobbed as her sister-in-law was the first person to tell her it was okay if she couldn’t breastfeed and that the baby would be more than fine being fed formula instead.

“I was so angry at my brother because he sat back while my sister-in-law suffered. There was no way he didn’t see how bad she looked (no offence but she looked terrible),” the woman continued. “I got my sister-in-law to shower after my niece ate and fell asleep and I changed the sheets on the bed and told my her to sleep while my niece slept and I said I would get more baby formula.”

The woman presumed she’d done the right thing as her sister-in-law stopped crying and actually managed to relax and get some sleep, while her niece was fully fed. Her brother agreed and told the family members pressuring his wife into breastfeeding to back off – but they weren’t happy.

“My parents and cousin are furious at me and my sister-in-law’s sister agreed with them and left me an angry voicemail full of swearing,” she continued. “My dad said I overstepped and should not have butted in. Normally I’m big on minding my own business, but this time I was scared s***less after seeing my sister-in-law looking so unwell.”

She added: “Since I’m not a mother or baby expert I have no idea what it is like with a newborn. I’m second guessing now after feeling like I did the right thing because everyone is angry with me.”

The woman turned to Reddit to question whether she was right to intervene, or whether she should have kept her nose out, and she was met with hundreds of comments praising her for helping while no one else would.

“You probably saved the baby’s life. Husband should have taken her to the hospital and they would have probably done the same thing, giving the baby formula. Some people are so smug about thinking they are right they ignore the facts under their noses,” one Reddit user commented, adding: “You are a smart, kind, loving person.”

Another added: “You totally did the right thing. 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 sister-in-law and her baby. Good job, you’re a good person and I’m sure she is very thankful for all you did.”