A new mum has shared her shock after her 70-year-old mother-in-law demanded to breastfeed her baby.
Taking to social media, the woman says things took a strange turn when the mother-in-law said she wanted to start nursing her grandchild claiming she wanted to improve her bond.
Her other daughter-in-law is also due in 6 weeks, and she wanted to “tandem nurse” both babies at the same time. Umm… she wants to do what now?!
The mum shared on Reddit: “This 70-year-old woman plans to breastfeed [my] sister-in-law’s first baby that’s due in six weeks,” she wrote.
“She read that grandmas help breastfeed babies in some cultures and wants to give it a go.
“Now that she’s got this idea that she’s going to breastfeed ‘her grandbaby’, she’s started saying that she doesn’t want a stronger bond with one baby more than the other (my youngest baby is two months old).
“And since he’s already here, she wants to start ‘practising’ breastfeeding with my baby. I can’t even.”
To make matters worse, the mum said her mother-in-law asked her to “teach her how to breastfeed as well”.
“In hopes it goes well and then she can breastfeed both my baby and [my] sister-in-law’s baby, she says she wants to breastfeed them at the same time … like her eyes gloss over as if it’s some dream of her to tandem-feed them.
“This woman is a special kind of delusional. Can women that age really even re-lactate?”
Her husband stood up to his mother and soon shut down the request, telling her it was “inappropriate” to ask.
So… here is another about Grans That Demand to Breastfeed Their Grandchildren!
Not the only Granny to Try It On
Another horrified mum wanted to call the police on her Mother in law when she realised she was letting her baby suckle at her breast.
She shared, “I had a baby two months ago. About two weeks ago, my husband had to go out of town for a few days, so his mother came to stay with the baby and me. One night I heard the baby crying, and heard my MIL go to him. I thought she was going to bring him to me to nurse so I stayed in bed for a while. When she didn’t bring him, I figured she was just rocking him back to sleep and went to see if she needed anything, like a bottle from the fridge.
When I entered the room I saw her holding my son to her breast, letting him suckle. I was (and am) livid.
I took my son back to my room and told her she had to leave first thing in the morning. I want to call the police, but my husband thinks that would be taking things too far. We’re at an impasse. Should we call the police? I’m hesitant to let her near my son again.”
Gran caught on camera
Another woman shared how she recently caught her mother-in-law breastfeeding her baby on the nanny cam.
She shared on Reddit, “I’m so upset with her and just completely baffled at why she would do this that I never even want to see her again, let alone have her anywhere near my baby.”
“I don’t want her to watch my baby anymore, even though that would mean spending extra money on childcare and taking away something she really seems to enjoy doing.”
One day, Giselle started receiving texts from her mother-in-law saying that the boy was “crying really hard” so she was thinking of just “holding him” for his nap.
“I wanted to check and see if he was OK and if she ended up just holding him so I looked at the nanny camera,” she wrote.
“My mother-in-law was holding him and she had her shirt up and he was latched onto her breast.”
“I was shocked and horrified. I called her right away and she didn’t answer, so I had to sit there and watch her attempt to breastfeed my baby.
“He was latched on, but obviously not getting any milk as my mother-in-law is not lactating.”
“She was mad that I had checked the camera and told [Hugh] it was an invasion of privacy.”
Now the two are at war, with Giselle convinced that getting a nanny or sending the baby to daycare is the better option.
Is it even possible?
While rare, it is possible for a woman – including one who is post-menopausal – who has not been pregnant for many years to re-lactate and produce breastmilk.
Not uncommon, especially in some cultures
In certain tribal cultures, it is customary for female members of the family – including grandmothers, sisters, aunts and cousins – to breastfeed a baby when the mother is unable.
As early as 1674, “A Person of Great Veracity” recounted two cases of breastfeeding grandmothers.
The baby kept “sucking the Breasts of his Grand-mother”, which caused “such a commotion in her, that abundance of milk run to her Breasts for a sufficient nourishment”.
A Dutch physician, Diemerbroeck, also described a poor woman who gave birth to a healthy boy, but both the father and she died soon after.
The sixty-six-year-old grandmother, Joanna Vuyltuyt, took in the child, but had no money to hire a nurse. She desperately attempted to feed the baby herself. “From that old woman’s strong imagination and vehement desire to give suck to this child”, she soon produced a good quantity of milk, and “all that saw it much wondered at” it.
Gran to the rescue!
This mum admitted she needed a little help in the feeding department when her 6-month-old daughter wouldn’t take a bottle and she was in desperate need of a shower.
Julia asked her mum Angela Owens “” who could still somehow produce breast milk after years “” to breastfeed her granddaughter.
“[My mum] had always lactated “” she never stopped “” so she had always asked me how would I feel if she tried to latch Naomi,” Julia told POPSUGAR. “I didn’t mind it, we just never ended up trying. Naomi was going through a cluster-feeding stage and I had to take a shower and she was squealing her head off, so I said, ‘Mom, try to latch her,’ and it was a wrap after that.”
“It was extremely empowering as a woman to know my mum was feeding my daughter from the same breast milk that fed me for years,” she said. “It was magical and made me feel so good!”
Wet nurses were quite popular in the old days.
A wet nurse is a lactating woman who breastfeeds a child who is not her own. Once a well-paid profession, wet nurses all but disappeared by 1900 (or did they?! Read on… ).
Prior to the 17th century, it was common for women of the upper classes to send their babies to lower-class women or rural peasants for the first two or three years of their life.
By the 18th century, wealthy women were hiring live-in wet nurses because they wanted to watch their nurses closely. Many poor women who had to work to survive continued to send their babies to outside wet nurses despite the risk of death.
According to the Australian Breastfeeding Project it is actually a lot more common than people realise in today’s society.
One Brisbane mum relied on donor milk and the generosity of wet nursing mums to feed her baby exclusively on breast milk until he was 14-months-old.
“It happens a lot more often than people think, but there is still such a stigma around it. But even in the last three years it has become much more acceptable. If someone puts out a request online for a wet nurse at least 12 people will immediately respond,” she said.
She said she found many of the women who wet nursed her son on breastfeeding groups and Human Milk for Human Babies.
Celebs who have wet nursed
Salma Hayek caused a stir when she breastfed a starving baby in Sierra Leone.
The actress was still breastfeeding her own daughter at the time and said it was instinctive for her to feed the very hungry baby boy from Sierra Leone, saying later, “Am I being disloyal to my child by giving her milk away? I actually think my baby would be very proud to share her milk. And when she grows up I’m going to make sure she continues to be a generous, caring person.”
A flight attendant also went viral when she breastfed a passenger’s baby after the mother ran out of formula milk.
The Philippines Airlines crew member shared a Facebook post about the “special” experience, which has been liked hundreds of thousands of times.
We have also seen stories of female police officers sharing similar gestures when caring for infants on duty.
One officer in Argentina is being called “beautiful” for breastfeeding a malnourished baby while working at a children’s hospital.
Of course, there are always risks involved.
Viruses can be transmitted through breast milk; you can transmit serious ones like hepatitis and HIV, but there are other much more common viruses, too like CMV, which causes a flu-like illness.
There are also lots of bacteria in human milk, which is meant to be shared between mother and baby. Every mother has a different set of bacteria in their milk and that’s different from person to person.
There can also be traces of substances like prescription and non-prescription drugs transmitted through human milk.
It is wise to know the history beforehand of anyone you might allow to feed your baby.
Plus you really shouldn’t feed anyone’s baby without at least asking mum’s permission first. Seriously gran, come on!