Leah McLaren's recent column on the Canadian news site Globe and Mail tried to promote co-feeding, but after finishing the story, readers couldn't help but wonder ... WTF did we just read?!
The column, “The Joy (and Politics) of Breastfeeding Someone Else’s Baby,” was published last Wednesday but has since been scrubbed from the website. (Another Canadian journalist tweeted that the editors "loved (the) surreal premise," which was meant to be funny, but took it down for "legal reasons.")
But the thing about the internet? It never forgets. People quickly found a cached version of McLaren's post and, well, let's say it's a story like no other.
McLaren writes that over a decade ago when she was about 25, single and childless, she was at a Toronto house party. Feeling "glum" and "distracted," she wandered upstairs to find a bathroom, then walked into a bedroom afterward and found a baby sitting in a car seat with a monitor besides him (this was before monitors had cameras in them).
"I smiled at the baby, the baby smiled back. Now this was a connection."
She picked him up and gave him a cuddle, but then, somehow (BUT REALLY, HOW?!), her pinky finger ended up in his mouth and she was surprised by the strength of his sucking reflex.
"I suddenly knew what he wanted. And I of course wanted to give him what he wanted," she continues. "The only problem was, I had no milk. But would it be so bad, I wondered, if I just tried it out—just for a minute—just to see what it felt like?"
Wait. Pause for a second. Can this really be called an attempt to "breastfeed"?! Author Anne Thériault brings up a good point.
OK, back to the story. McLaren was unbuttoning her blouse when Michael Chong, the baby's dad and now a Conservative leadership candidate in Canada, walked in. Chong, who was probably confused AF, said, "I see you've met my son. May I take him now?" and soon left the party with his family.
McLaren, now a mother, has both breastfed her friends' babies a few times and had her babies breastfed by her friends, acknowledged that she later understood her actions were wrong and rude.
"I think if I found a strange woman—one who was both childless and milkless—nursing my baby at a party, I’d be inclined to give her a swift smack upside the head and then call the police," she wrote. “This is all to say that breastfeeding is a lovely and marvelous thing, as is co-feeding and everyone should do it. Just don’t try it with a stranger’s baby in a bedroom at a party if you are 25 and stupid."
After Twitter was flooded with so many questions about the story, especially about its validity, Chong said in an email statement, "This incident happened over 10 years ago. It was odd, no doubt, but not of any real consequence. I entered this race to discuss important challenges facing Canada. I am happy to to discuss those. But I won't be making any further comment on this."
Chong may be over it, but the internet isn't. It seems after McLaren's #uncessaryconfession, no one will be leaving their baby unattended at a party.