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Liquid gold: is breast milk too precious to share?

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Most mums are happy to share anything to do with babies: clothes, toys, books, information or advice. But what about their breast milk? One woman found herself asking this question when her sister demanded that she hand over some of her precious stash from the freezer.

The woman explained to Mumsnet how she had been exclusively breastfeeding her four month old and had a good supply of milk. “Recently she has been unable to latch on my left breast, and I have been pumping that side,” she explained. “So I have a decent stockpile of milk.”

The woman’s sister also just had a baby, but chose not to breastfeed, which the woman totally supported. “My issue arose when she came over one day and asked if she could take my breast milk,” she said in the post. “She decided formula was too expensive and she would just take my breast milk that I pump.”

“Am I being unreasonable?”

The woman was not prepared to “donate” her extra milk, even to her sister. “I told her no, that I was saving that in case baby girl has issues latching again or if I’m not around and she needs to be fed.” While this seems a valid response, her sister was far from impressed. “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,” she 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.”

The woman later added that her sister chose not to breastfeed “because she did not want her boobs to sag.”

Pumping is hard

The post attracted a huge response with nearly 1500 comments. Needless to say, most of the readers were outraged by the sister’s behaviour. They also appreciated just how precious that pumped milk is.

“I breastfed three kids. Pumping and stocking up milk is HARD. It takes so much time and effort,” said one reader. “Asking someone to give that away is like asking someone to give away paintings or hours and hours of their work.”

“Your sister clearly doesn’t understand how physically demanding and time-consuming it is to breastfeed and pump a supply,” said another. “She has no right to the milk you’ve collected from your body for your own daughter.”

“There’s a reason pumped breast milk is referred to as ‘liquid gold’,” said one mum. “In an exhausted state I once dropped a completely full bottle right after pumping and I cried.”

She made her choice

Many readers were shocked that the woman was put through this drama when she should have been enjoying time with her newborn – not worrying about her sister’s issues or family fights. “Please block your sister and every single person who’s butting in,” said a concerned reader. “This should be a peaceful time for you and your baby without their nonsense.”

Others viewers didn’t buy the excuse about the expense of formula. “Your sister made her choice when she decided to go with formula over breastfeeding,” said one follower. “It’s not your job to supplement her milk needs because she’s realising formula is expensive.”

“Your sister should’ve researched her options better and known that formula costs and arm and a leg,” said another.

And finally when it came to the issue of saggy boobs, many readers simply told it how it is. “Not breastfeeding because your boobs will sag is a stupid selfish excuse,” commented one amazed reader. “News flash to your sister, your boobs will sag either way”

Tough but very true!

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