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To wonder how to deal with DSis and her behaviour around my baby?

(20 Posts)
PapayaCoconut Wed 23-Oct-19 10:31:55

DSis is coming to visit next week with 10 yo niece. They will be meeting my 5 month old baby for the first time. Dsis lives in another country, but we are close and generally have a good relationship. I have anxiety with a bit of OCD and she's been very supportive when I've needed to talk.

However... When I had my first child, she did a number of things that I never said anything about at the time, because I wanted to avoid conflict. She's very sensitive and doesn't deal well with being challenged about anything, will either roll her eyes, tut in a patronising manner and imply that I'm hysterical, or play the victim and even start crying.

Some of the things she did were as follows:

* Took a dirty teat out of the dishwasher, held it under the cold tap for a few seconds and then handed it to me to use with DD's bottle. It still had rancid milk in it. I just went and washed it properly and she acted like I was being silly.

* When I asked her to look after the baby so I could shower, she said: "(10- year old) DS can take her." I said no, I want you to do it. She begrudgingly agreed. When I came back for the towel I'd left in the room, she had left her DS alone with the baby and he was leaning over the (very high) side of the travel cot (more like a playpen), trying to lift DD out.

* We were in a restaurant with a hard stone floor and DSis who was holding DD said to her own DD (7 years old): "Do you want to hold?" and got ready to hand the baby to her DD. I think (I hope) that she was planning to hold on to the baby and let her DD "cuddle" her, but who knows. This one, I just said plain NO to. DSis looked nonplussed.

* She microwaved a bottle of milk for DD and gave it to me. When I tested it on my arm it was scalding. She said "no or isn't, I already checked!" and acted all offended even though I gave it to her to feel and she realised it was.

Sorry, this is long. My point is: how do I deal with this next time? I just know she's going to try and hand the baby over to her DD to hold and act offended if I say no. My niece night be upset too if I say she can't walk around with the baby.

ActualHornist Wed 23-Oct-19 10:35:20

I think you’re being a bit precious about holding the baby. The child is 10, your baby is 5 months so not a newborn anymore.

That being said, if you really don’t trust her, then just play on the Neurotic Mother label your sis has clearly given you in her head. If she scoffs and thinks you’re silly, just ask her to indulge you as this is your new baby.

You could go all hardball on her but as you have a generally good relationship and you’re not geographically close anyway this should help keep the peace.

ChrisPrattsFace Wed 23-Oct-19 10:36:20

IMO... offend her.
Surely you would put your babies safety over upsetting your sister. Especially if you really feel like your sisters ways are wrong.
anyway... She might have changed?
good luck!

Windydaysuponus Wed 23-Oct-19 10:39:20

My dc were never allowed to walk around holding ds. He wasn't a toy and a dropped baby isn't a nice prospect. Sat on the sofa is just fine.
Or not at all.
Your dsis and her dd don't get to decide how your baby is managed.

Whattodoabout Wed 23-Oct-19 10:42:08

I agree re children walking around holding baby, they’re arguably harder to hold at 5 months than newborn because they’re heavier and wriggle around.

Don’t leave her alone with the baby, I’m amazed her own children survived infancy from this post tbh.

PapayaCoconut Wed 23-Oct-19 10:44:33

I’m amazed her own children survived infancy from this post tbh.

Oh, trust me - she was nothing like this with her own babies!!!

GettingABitDesperateNow Wed 23-Oct-19 10:48:42

You cant do anything that you think is unsafe. So you would still have to say no to the 7 year old walking around with a baby if you think its unsafe. However maybe focus on the things they can do rather than cant it doesnt sound like you're refusing things all the time? Eg the baby would love a cuddle with you, niece! But she is quite wriggly at the moment and sometimes tries to escape so its better to hold her on the sofa like this.

Your baby is not a newborn any more though so should be a lot safer now her head doesn't need supported etc and should be fine to play with your niece and nephew if they are supervised. Just explain some ground rules such as no arguing over who gets to hold, no running, dont give her any food and no toys with small pieces as she could choke.

Also your sister does sound like she is acting strangely and doesnt have a good idea of basic safety or hygiene but then why leave the baby with her? After the rancid milk teat I wouldn't have left the baby with her when I went for a shower, I'd have taken her with me in a baby bouncer next to it or whatever you normally do. And that's your only options - let her get on with it and feel uncomfortable, tell her you will do it your way and make her feel uncomfortable, or if it's a short visit just engineer things so that you do everything for the baby like you normally do and keep their contact tightly controlled and dont leave your baby with her

Mummyoflittledragon Wed 23-Oct-19 10:53:05

The way you handle it is to helicopter parent. Don’t ask for any help. If any is offered, redirect to making sandwiches or emptying the dishwasher. If your dsis asks her dd if she would like to hold your baby, you say, “let’s get you comfortable on the sofa / bed / floor etc first”. This is your baby. Not theirs. You don’t have to fall out or discuss her behaviour. But you sure as hell have the right to protect your child. And if she says anything, just breeze it out with “oh well, we all parent differently”.

ChangeAndThenChange Wed 23-Oct-19 10:54:28

I wouldn’t allow it either. I’m a first time mum too we are sometimes overprotective but I feel it’s better this way. Maybe explain to her you both seem to have different parenting ideas & she needs to respect yours

Isadora2007 Wed 23-Oct-19 10:57:11

Ummm I do think you’re being a little overprotective and perhaps your sister is just being under protective so you need a middle ground. A five month old being carried around by a 10 year old really isn’t an issue. Get them a sling if you prefer. Ask for specific things to be done or just let her get on with it. It sounds like you have difficulty letting go of control so maybe admit that to your sister in advance and say you will try hard but can she be mindful of that please too and not take any risks.

Sceptre86 Wed 23-Oct-19 11:03:53

State your boundaries clearly. If you don't want your niece or nephew walking around holding the baby say so. We had family friends who's daughter would always want to pick up my newborn ds and walk around. She was gently told no each and every time. She was 7 at the time and my ds was a big baby who would squirm a lot in unfamiliar arms. I dont think this is an issue to fall out over just be firm and polite.

ColaFreezePop Wed 23-Oct-19 11:13:46

Your child is probably better of with your niece than your sister as children are more willing to learn.

So you are better of showing and explaining to your niece how to look after the baby so by the end of the visit if you go to the toilet you know your child is safe with your niece rather than your sister. (If your sister rolls her eyes while you are talking don't be scared of saying to her in front of your niece that people don't learn if they are aren't shown. )

Unfortunately children do want to hold and carry babies and toddlers, even if they are toddlers themselves. With other children we take charge. So we offer that the child holds and cuddles our DD where and how we choose before the child's own parent offers them a cuddle.

Also be aware even if children are told multiple times not to lift a baby/young toddler out of a cot/play pen they will try. So the best thing is not to leave the baby/young toddler in one if you are going out of the room. Either take the baby with you or if the older child can be trusted to hold them for a few minutes get them to hold them.

notthemum Wed 23-Oct-19 11:18:40

Mummy of Little dragon, THIS

BlingLoving Wed 23-Oct-19 11:23:02

I think you're being a little precious re the holding etc. I'd expect a 10 year old to be able to hold a baby. And if your'e very nervous, just step in and say to neice that if she wants to hold the baby she must sit down on the couch or whatever.

The teat thing is just different people. I'm not sure that I'd consider a washed teat full of "rancid milk" myself unless it had been sitting dirty in the dishwasher for 3 days. And certainly at 5 months I'd not be worrying as much about sterilising etc. However, you do get to say that you are very strict and ask her to respect that. Say it with a little laugh if you like, "I know you think I'm a bit silly but I really need all the b bottles and teats properly washed and sterilised or I can't relax" etc. My DSIS was absolutely militant about her sterilising and basically fired a nanny for not doing it her way and while I think her way was ridiculous, I still supported her on the nanny because it's HER baby and she gets to make the rules.

But you do need to try and be a bit more relaxed generally.

FizzyGreenWater Wed 23-Oct-19 11:24:08

'It's ok, I know it's been a long time since you had a baby! Don't worry about it' with a big smile. response to any rolled eyes. She won't like that - she can't make a comeback without looking as if she is getting upset/''hysterical''. Especially if your approach to any further huffiness is a soft understanding smile and more 'Really, it's ok' comments


I find this 'understanding' approach (while still not giving in to whatever nonsense is in the offing) works quite well.

NoSquirrels Wed 23-Oct-19 11:38:02

I think just develop a thick skin! Your baby, you can ask anyone to follow whatever rules you like.

I would let a normal 10-year-old hold a 5-month-old baby, if it were me, though.

PapayaCoconut Wed 23-Oct-19 11:43:42

After the rancid milk teat I wouldn't have left the baby with her when I went for a shower, I'd have taken her with me in a baby bouncer next to it or whatever you normally do.

The teat thing is just different people. I'm not sure that I'd consider a washed teat full of "rancid milk" myself unless it had been sitting dirty in the dishwasher for 3 days.

It wasn't washed. It was dirty with visible specks of yesterday's milk. She took it dirty from the dishwasher and ran it under the cold tap for a few seconds. It was visibly dirty after that too.

I was staying with her in her house.

PapayaCoconut Wed 23-Oct-19 11:48:17

Ummm I do think you’re being a little overprotective and perhaps your sister is just being under protective so you need a middle ground.

I think you're right. I'm just wondering how to reach that without offending her or compromising too much on my own standards. But I've had some good advice here. Thanks everyone!

onetimeonlyy Wed 23-Oct-19 11:54:15

Can you not just control the holding situation eg get her kids settled on the sofa or somewhere safe and make a big deal of them holding the baby but on your terms? And as for the other bits, I just wouldn't get her to do anything for you.... If she doesn't do things to your hygiene standards or can't be trusted to heat milk just don't give her the chance.... That's what I would do

WhenPushComesToShove Wed 23-Oct-19 13:35:53

Your sis needs to respect the way you do things and if she won't then she wouldn't be welcome in my house. Dcs safety always comes before offended grownup in my opinion

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