The mom of a 7-year-old girl wrote to the r/AITA subreddit questioning if she overreacted to a decision her sister-in-law made while babysitting her daughter, Rose.
The mom ‘banned’ her sister-in-law from babysitting after she used a ‘crunchy mom’ remedy on her sick daughter without permission.
The mom explained that her daughter, who’s prone to ear infections, recently had a double ear infection. She had to be kept home from school, but the mom had to work, so her sister-in-law offered to babysit.
“Everything seemed to go well until I picked Rose up, and my sister-in-law told me she put breastmilk (she has a 12-week-old) in Rose’s ears to help with the ear infection,” she explained. “She claims it’s a great remedy and that Rose was already starting to feel better.”
The mom was enraged that her sister-in-law dosed her daughter with breastmilk without parental consent.
“I yelled at her for it, we argued, and I told her she will no longer be able to babysit [or] be around Rose unsupervised,” she shared.
The ripple effect seemed to be that everyone involved felt hurt: Rose was upset she could no longer visit her aunt. The sister-in-law was upset because “she was just trying to help.” The mom’s brother was upset because his wife was upset, and he accused his sister of overreacting.
“It seems that everyone is against me on this,” the mom revealed.
“This is a woman putting her bodily fluids in my child’s ear. I think I have a right to be upset,” the mom exclaimed, wondering if she was in the right, or if she was indeed overreacting.
While there seemed to be some debate in the comments as to whether or not breastmilk was an appropriate ear infection remedy, most people got the bigger picture.
The issue wasn’t about the breastmilk, per se. It was about the fact that the sister-in-law administered something vaguely medicinal to a child who wasn’t hers, without first getting permission from her parent.
As one commenter wrote, “Babysitters shouldn’t be giving any medicine or home remedies without permission. No matter how normal and fine people apparently think it is.”
“This isn’t about whether or not breast milk is beneficial to ear infections,” another user commented. “Since your daughter is too young to understand and consent, it is your role as her parent to protect her and make the best medical choices for her. No non-parental figure has the right to make that call.”
The commenter continued, suggesting the mom take time to cool off from the initial shock of the situation and then meet up with the sister-in-law.
“Explain that you know she has your kid’s best interests at heart, but you are not comfortable with her making medical decisions for your daughter. If she can agree to that, I think it’s okay to let her back into your daughter’s life,” they advised.
The Redditor even offered guidance on what to say if the sister-in-law pushes back against the boundaries the mom sets, sharing the line, “I don’t need you to understand, but I do need you to accept.”
“You sound like a really good mom,” they concluded. Don’t let anyone make you doubt that.”
Parenting is rife with situations in which it’s easy to doubt yourself or think you’ve made the wrong decision for your child. Yet trusting your intuition goes a long way, and this mom’s reaction wasn’t out of bounds, at all. Breastmilk might have healing properties for the baby it’s biologically designed for, yet no consequential decision should be made for other people’s kids without their active consent.
Alexandra Blogier is a writer on YourTango’s news and entertainment team. She covers parenting, pop culture and all things to do with the entertainment industry.