Short but firm statements please before am forced to kill MIL(44 Posts)
Okay! To start with apols as doing this on my phone so may be typo central. In brief, my inlaws are in their 70s and are kind, generous and lovely people. My MIL raised three sons almost single handed while her husband worked and she dotes on my DS. BUT!! She is very pass-remarkable and has some very old fashioned ideas. My wee boy is 12 weeks old and EBF. His weight gain etc is perfect and for ages he's managed on 5 day feeds and one overnight. Then he slept right through for 10 hours for past two nights. Hubby and i have been on holiday since Saturday and inlaws joined us today till.Saturday. Since MIL arrived she's gone on and on about when am starting DS on bottle as he's too big for me to feed (am a size 6/8). She claims see dudnt have enough milk to feed my hubby and that her "milk left her" early on with all her three boys. I've basically ignored her.comments and showed her how content my son is - as to be honest i feel his night sleep is irrelevant (even if up. hourly my milk still enough for him!). Tonight for first time since a tiny.tot he woke about 2 hours after put to bed. He was inconsolable and i had had wine with dinner so he got a bottle expressed milk. He only took 30mls but now she has taken this as proof that she's right. I don't want to be rude, have tried educating her and ignoring her but would value any suggestions for things to say to shut her up. Before am forced to kill her...
don't argue your point it is pointless
just say 'darling I love you, and I am grateful for the fantastic job you did raising a wonderful son who is now my beloved DP/DH but please allow me to bring up up my son my way
I really appreciate your concern but let's leave it at that'
if she does not heed then more serious action can be undertaken
"we'll see about it when we get back home".....may be untrue and storing up trouble, but there is something oddly intense about holidaying with in-laws that makes me want to suggest that lying through your teeth to keep the peace for the next 72 hours may be the way forward.
it might help to remember that she was told by a medical professional she didn't have enough milk. you are lucky enough to be better educated. ask her directly if she has any issues with ds's health at present. She won't find any. I know its hard but ignore, ignore, ignore. She will for sure, come up with other gems too, some useful some that will make you especially if this is her first GC. Generally by the 3rd GC they've got used to their dcs parenting their own way
You do know it's okay to feed a baby even if you've had some wine? (Just checking! ) Info on Kellymom here.
This approach works for us: "DH and I have talked about it and decided we're doing X." When there's a comeback, you reply, "that's very interesting, but DH and I have talked about it and decided we're doing X." Repeat ad infinitum.
I think a lot of women of your mil's generation found their milk dried up early. Staying in hospital with your baby in the nursery, mandated feeding times, ten minutes each side etc.
Any suggestions that our DS had a bottle were countered by talk of magical boobies, pathetic I know, he was so clearly thriving (11 ounces in a week ) and DH and I have a slightly warped sense of humour. However timetosmile's idea is probably best. Tis easy to suggest later that you've spoken to HCP and are aiming for 6 months.
Oh and just to let you know if it was only a glass or two of wine you'd be fine to feed your baby no need to bother with bottle's.
Acting like she was giving a compliment/encouraging can be quite a useful tactic:
"My milk dried up early" - "Gosh, that's awful. I feel so blessed that mine has always been abundant."
"He's too big for you to feed."- "It's amazing what the human body can do isn't it. I've heard of [insert random story about 11lb at birth baby EBF to six months]."
he is obviously thriving so point that out and tell her whilst i have enough milk to express i have enough to feed him.
it is none of her business really if you feed him for 6 months or till 2 years but maybe with her milk drying up early she watched her ds's lose weight and it scares her.
I think I'd be honest with her - if she is kind and lovely she will hopefully accept it!
"Actually MIL I find it quite upsetting when you undermine/criticize me breastfeeding and I don't want to discuss it again"
My child is healthy, I'm healthy and the decision is mine.
Had to say these words when MIL wanted me to put DD on solids at 3 months.
try "this is working for us" and if she keeps on change the subject, and if she still keeps on say "will you just excuse me for a moment" and walk away
she's gone on and on about when am starting DS on bottle as he's too big for me to feed (am a size 6/8). She claims see dudnt have enough milk to feed my hubby
Err... I'll read that as baby. Feeding your hubby should maybe be posted elsewhere.
Anyway "How do you think he got to this size?" should answer that one. I have a 3 month old who is tracking the 91st centile and EBF. I've not ahd to use that phrase for a while now so it must have worked...
I think that while educating yourself with relevant info and being willing to pass it on is the ideal approach, some people aren't interested in facts and are just spouting their own opinions with no interest in your situation. In which case, please don't let it affect you. There will be growth spurts etc ahead. Choose who you discuss any concerns or potential issues around BF with carefully so you get the right support and info.
And being assertive and confident in your decisions now may help avoid more intrusive advice being offered later
Aaargh I just realised - MIL couldn't feed your hubby / her baby
My Nan has started making similar comments, she is early 70s. I am not tiny but baby is huge - 98th centile for weight since birth. However he is putting on weight as expected, is clearly happy, healthy, alert etc and sleeping through the night.
So I just say he is doing so well at the moment I don't want to change anything, but of course if things changed I would think about what she had said.
Don't argue, explain,justify or educate-there is no need. Just smile,say (pleasantly and mildly)we all have different ideas and change the subject. Do it every time-she will give up in the end.
Thanks all for the suggestions. Have had a tough day today. For some reason she's obsessed i should give DS water overnight but equally moans i feed him too much during day, as i Don wait till he's spent half an hour screaming... Think will go with all the suggestions to brush it off and change subject. Wish me luck!
Graciescotland has hit the nail on the head, maybe you can say now the HCPs give better advice on breastfeeding there's much less danger of my milk drying up early, (might be being overgenerous to NHS but heyho!). My MIL was convinced that breastfeeding was just some silly hippy idea and entirely inadequate for feeding a baby, but we just nodded until the evidence of a big fat porker of a baby proved her wrong. Of course now she says feeding on demand is going to make my baby overweight so you can't win! Just bite your tongue, smile, feel smug and wait for her next bit of parenting advice that you don't want to follow; there'll be plenty more!
It's just not on, you know - constant comments and undermining, and the assumption she and her experience are somehow better as a guide for you and your own baby.
I'd be less polite and friendly, I think. I'd show in my tone and my words that I'd had enough. Unless she really wants a row, she will have to back down and learn to shut up.
I think you're already being kind in not actually asking for an apology and and undertaking never to comment again!
Just to add - you would not accept this from a friend, a sibling or a partner. Why should a MIL get away with it?
She may have some sadness about her own bf experiences (I have spoken to women whose experiences of not managing to bf were decades before - in one case 40 years before - and they were still upset) which is making her defensive.
But the net effect of her comments is not justified by this, IMO.
FWIW I did EBF my 10lb 6oz fatty piglet baby up to 6 months and continued to BF him til 16 months. He was/is perfectly healthy and happy AND I don't weave lentils OR anything
Good luck with this one. If she is fixated by what health professionals say then maybe tell her your HV said he was "perfect" and you are doing everything right.
Playing Devil's Advocate
Maybe she just wants to offer help to you - so could you ask for advice on something not so emotionally charged to let her feel like she is making a contribution? Like, I don't know, how did she wind your DH? Or if she swaddled or something? To take the focus away from BF and onto something she can fiddle with and not make you reach for the axe ...
My MIL was like this when DS was a baby. But I am very glad I didn't kill her as we now get on like a house on fire and she is an ace grandma. The subject change tactic from MadamDeathStare is highly recommended. And I like Secondtimelucky's turning it into a compliment in the 'Oh dear, that's a shame for you, how lucky that my experience has been so different' template. I'm sure part of it with my MIL was that she was gagging to get her hands on him, and while I was BF she couldn't feed him. Also as has been said, she'd been given this advice previously by doctors, and there had been no reason for her to update her breastfeeding knowledge since then. I'd recommend that you stay firm on 'my baby my rules' but avoid confrontation - gently assertive. Because there'll only be about 6 months - or more if you choose of course - of breastfeeding talk. Then, IME, if you've played it right, you can get years and years of doting grandma help with your DC. And as I sit here, sipping my cup of tea (made by MIL) and eating my cake (baked by MIL) and faffing about on MN while DS plays with his Nana, all that breastfeeding tussle we had seems like a world away - even though it was stressful and frustrating at the time.
Ha my mum has been on at my sisters and every conversation I get 'why don't you start formula feeding, don't you use a dummy, why don't you do this' ad infinitum...
My response - 'because I don't want to.'
I love being stubborn!
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