Leah McLaren was about 25 years old when she found a baby at a house party, picked it up and attempted to start breastfeeding it “just to see what it would feel like”.
The columnist – who wrote about her experience online in a piece called The Joy (and Politics) of Breastfeeding Someone Else’s Baby – was then caught by the father, who has ended up becoming a prominent Canadian politician.
In the piece, Leah said she went upstairs at the party to reapply her lipstick, when she spotted “the cutest baby I’d ever seen”.
After smiling at the adorable baby boy, Leah felt an "instant connection" and picked him up for a cuddle.
"He felt gorgeous in my arms, all warm and lumpy and milky-smelling in the way small babies are," she wrote.
"Somehow, my pinky finger ended up in his mouth and I was astonished at strength of his sucking reflex. 'C’mon lady,'said his eyes.
Leah said she instantly knew what the baby wanted: he was hungry, and he wanted to be fed.
"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?
"Then slowly, carefully so as not to jostle the infant, I began to unbutton my blouse. Just as I was reaching into my bra, a shortish man with in a navy suit walked into the room," she said.
LISTEN: Would you let someone "dry nurse" your baby? Mamamia Out Loud discusses. Post continues...
Many years later, Leah admits that it was "wrong and rude and frankly a bit weird" for her to think of breastfeeding a stranger's baby "just for kicks".
"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 said.
But, she wrote, having had her own babies, she said she has breastfed her friends' babies, and let hers be breastfed by her friends, many times.
"All to say that breastfeeding is a lovely and marvellous thing, as is co-feeding and everyone should do it," she wrote.
"Just don't try it with a strangers baby in a bedroom at a party if you are 25 and stupid."
The column has caused quite a stir on social media, which probably explains why the post was deleted from the site it was originally published on (too bad we all know the internet never forgets...).
The whole thing about Globe columnist breastfeeding a stranger's baby without consent and them deleting the story is just pic.twitter.com/5r2AZBjScV
— Brianna Wu (@Spacekatgal) March 27, 2017
After reading the Leah McLaren story pic.twitter.com/UdHaVecYQe
— Richard Lee-Sam (@RLeesam) March 27, 2017
I will never get over this batshit Leah McLaren story. LEAH. ARE YOU READING THIS? STOP TRYING TO PUT YOUR BOOB ON BABIES THAT ARENT YOURS.
— Emma Schützkowski (@emmaschuetz) March 27, 2017
Michael Chong - the father of the baby at the centre of the story - clarified that the incident did indeed happen, and that it was "no doubt odd, but of no real consequence".
Incident happened over 10 years ago. It was no doubt odd, but of no real consequence. Let's focus on the important challenges facing Canada
— Michael Chong ???????? (@MichaelChongMP) March 27, 2017
What do you think - is breastfeeding a stranger's baby ever a good idea?