A woman who was expecting a baby the same time as a neighbor wants helps deciding how to respond to the neighbor’s demand for her breastmilk.
The new mom sought out the advice of Slate’s online’s “Dear Prudence” advice column, penned by Daniel Mallory Ortberg, and explained :
“My neighbor feels entitled to my breast milk: I have lived in the same apartment building as ‘Tara’ for two years, but we have never been more than acquaintances. We started talking more when we both got pregnant, although still casually.”
She went on to say that she saw Tara a few days after she gave birth, and asked her how it was going.
Tara “burst into tears and told me that she didn’t think she would be able to breastfeed. She sounded so heartbroken about not nursing (with comments like ‘my baby is unlucky to have me for a mother’) that I offered to give her a few of my stored bags of breast milk to at least ease her mind,” the reader explained.
Tara accepted the offer “enthusiastically,” and the reader gave her four bags of milk that day. It was only a matter of hours before Tara’s behavior took a turn for the aggressive. “The next morning I had more than a dozen texts from Tara, wanting to set up a schedule for me to drop off more milk,” she wrote. “The texts made it clear that she expected me to provide her with enough breast milk to feed her daughter exclusively.”
She peppered the neighbor with excuses but was met with a response to each one.
“I tried offering excuses, none of which she would accept,” she shared. “If I said I didn’t think I could produce enough milk for two babies, she replied that mothers of twins do it all the time. If I said I didn’t want to spend any more time pumping or nursing, she said I could pump on one breast while feeding my son on the other.”
She said that Tara soon resorted to guilting tactics, sending “pictures of her crying daughter with captions like ‘Faye is so sad that her bottle has yucky formula! She misses her yummy breast milk!'” The reader lamented, “I don’t know what to do. Tara won’t stop texting me, and I’m worried that if I block her number she will start coming to my apartment to confront me in person. My wife and I do not have the ability or desire to move, but I can’t live with this.”
She hoped that the advice columnist, , could offer some words of wisdom.
Fascinating request! Read what the advice column and readers had to offer here.