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researching/wanting to breastfeed- MIL driving me bonkers

(38 Posts)
mummytobejuly2014 Sat 15-Feb-14 09:39:47

Im due in july and determined to try breastfeeding for as long as poss. Yesterday I got a great deal in boots, an avent natural manual pump half price & 1/3 off with a voucher so it only cost me £12. I know not to use it until we're established after 2/4wks. MIL is seriously pissing me off. Keeps telling me I shouldnt be and how sore it will be amd anything more than a few days is too long blah blah blah and baby will be massive etc. I believe she is behaving this way because she thinks if I do breastfeed then she cant take baby. Shes planning on decking out a full nursery in her house "for when the baby stays", this massively freaked me out & I have no intention of handing baby over to her for any length of time. I feel like she is using my pregnancy to fill her life as she was made a widow nearly 3 years ago. We all support her etc but my partner is her only child that is a 5min drive away, the rest live an hours plane ride away. One of them is also pregnant but she is focusing all her attention on my baby. I cannot cope with this and the baby isnt even here yet. I think she's desperately trying to put me off BF because she has this idea she will get more baby sitting etc if its bottle fed. I had planned on expressing once established to have a small stock for going out or for OH to help out sometimes. I'll prob be going back to work at 9months when the smp runs out. Any advice help welcomed. I dont want to give her any excuse or chance to say she was right if I experie experience pain/difficulty. Should I stock up now on nipple cream/shields, is there any prep to "toughen" up the nipples or anything. Sorry for the long winded post

OrangeMochaFrappucino Sat 15-Feb-14 09:53:22

Sorry she is unsupportive - it's not uncommon for some family members to behave this way and it's very unfortunate as breastfeeding can be very difficult to establish in the early weeks and you need all the encouragement you can get!

Don't try to toughen up your nipples, this isn't a good idea. Nipple shields can cause confusion for the baby, I think, and make it harder for them to latch on. It can be sore for the first couple of weeks - Lansinoh is helpful.

Babies feed like crazy in the early weeks - they cluster feed for hours on end. It's important that they do this as they are establishing your milk supply. Don't let anyone tell you they can't be hungry again! For the first 6-8 weeks you may feel like all you do is breastfeed - this won't last forever! Once you are a couple of months in, it all settles down and becomes so easy and convenient.

Remember, even if you were to bottle feed you may not want to be away from baby and your MIL needs to know that overnight stays won't happen til you feel ready, regardless of feeding method. For some women, that might be very early on whilst for others it could be years! It's completely up to you.

Good luck and whilst it's great that your MIL is excited and loving, this is your baby and these decisions are yours to make, not hers.

WitchOfEndor Sat 15-Feb-14 10:23:53

Find details of your local breast feeding support groups (la leche league, NCT etc) as it's good to have practical advice and support from people who are feeding too. You should be given advice at the hospital after the birth on how to latch your baby on, don't be afraid to ask again if it doesn't feel right ( or you get the bossy nurse I did!).

Remember that the advice you are getting from your MIL is intended to suit her, not you or your baby, so why would you take it? Advice has changed since she had children so it might be wor having some facts at hand that you can use to stop her in her tracks, like the World Health Organisation recommendations. It's important to put your child's nutritional requirements first in these key growth stages, there will be plenty of time for bonding later when the baby is a bit bigger and less focused on feeding as much as possible.

You could always ask your MIL to come to your house to have the baby in between feeds to you can sleep/shower/eat in peace. It's too early for the baby to stay away from you overnight.

tiktok Sat 15-Feb-14 11:31:21

Not good at all - she needs to back off. Your dh can tell her if you feel unable, but a bit of assertiveness from you is important.

She sounds as if she know absolutely zero about bf, in any case.

Jess03 Sat 15-Feb-14 11:43:55

You need to tell her firmly that you need encouragement and support without her offering advice as you intend to bf and if she isn't supportive it will mean she sees the baby less. You and your dh need to set boundaries on many things re dc as this'll be one of many skirmishes and she has to understand what's appropriate.

pomdereplay Sat 15-Feb-14 11:47:55

I'm sorry but I wouldn't be worrying about being at all diplomatic here. If breastfeeding is important to you, having a supportive family will be really helpful -- conversely, having a close relative undermining you at every turn (and potentially 'poisoning the well' with regard to your DH's attitude too, depending on how much he listens to her!) could be devastating. So tell her now to back off, and get your husband on side with that. She should realise that if she messes up your feeding choices, you'll be even less inclined to letting your baby stay with her!

As a PP said, this is all about boundaries and the sooner you establish one here the better for all concerned. Good luck.

MildDrPepperAddiction Sat 15-Feb-14 11:52:22

What the others have said.

You and your DH need to stand firm if bf is important to you.

Engage your midwife and get in touch with a local bf group for additional support.

Good luck smile

MaryWestmacott Sat 15-Feb-14 11:58:17

did she FFed her DCs? Is this the first grandchild as well? One thing you need to be aware of is that often with the birth of the first grandchild, a lot of emotions around their own pregnancies and early days of motherhood are stirred in woman. If she feels slightly guilty that she didn't give her DS and other DCs the best start in life (remembering that a lot of the evidence about the benefits of breastfeeding didn't become widely known until relatively recently, I konw my mum's generation where told there was no difference, and I'm only early 30s), then quite normaly, she might be abit defensive and attack is often the best form of defense.

You might be talking about the health benefits to breast feeding, what you are saying is "this is why I'm doing this for my child" what she's hearing is "you made the wrong choice for your child".

People like this, unfortunately, can be very distructive to your intention to breast feed - often subconciously deliberately ("see, she couldn't do it, it is hard. I wouldn't have been able to anyway even if I did decide to breast feed, I didn't make the wrong choice.").

Make sure you have your DH on side, talk about the benefits, say you're aware it'll be hard and painful but you dont want him or anyone else offering formula unless you decide to do that. You want him and everyone else - including his mum - to be supportive so that you can get BFing establish, if not, you are going to limit how much they are around.

Don't bother buying in nipple shields or trying to toughen up your nipples (slightly concerned how you plan do to that?!), laniosh cream is worth buying in advance (use tonnes! it also makes excellent lip balm!).

oh and I managed a few dinners when DC1 was still bfed, I fed him at 6:30pm, went out, was home for 10pm to feed him. With DC2, even though she's bottle fed now at 8 months, I don't go out or leave her regularly with anyone, I'm not that sort of mother. My MIL hoped I would be (and also kitted out the nursery), but it's not who I am. (Plus we're skint now my SMP has run out, who are these mothers of babies with all the energy and spare money for going out all the time???)

eddiemairswife Sat 15-Feb-14 12:07:40

When I was pregnant with my 1st baby I had a useful little paperback book about pregnancy and birth which suggested massaging the nipples with cream for a few seconds each day. I used Nivea as I don't think nipple cream had been invented then!! I never experienced any soreness when feeding.

HavantGuard Sat 15-Feb-14 12:15:31

I think you might buy yourself some peace if you point out that your baby will be with you 24 hours a day for the first several months however you end up feeding them. Hopefully it's just grandparent fever and she'll calm down once the baby is born.

mummytobejuly2014 Sat 15-Feb-14 12:26:47

When she said about the nursery at her house I said for her not to be spending money on that as the baby will not be too far travelled as I plan to BF. Im not the type that will just be able to hand the baby off when requested. She is talking about cutting her working week from 4 days to less so she can have more babysitting days when I return to work, this is unnecessary as my parents are retired and have volunteered to do the other 4 working days for us while we are working. We are due 1st with the 1st ggrandchild and 2nd is due 2wks later. The 2nd is getting off lightly in my opinion because it involves a 1hr plane journey. I have visions of having to go into hiding at my parents to get peace from her/fussing. I dont want visitors for the 1st week apart from quick 30min tops grandparent visits. I've read the womanly art of breastfeeding also & plan on finding local groups. I want to give our little one the best start & also formula is an unnecessary expense to us if im able to BF successfully as I only get 5wks 90% wage then smp after so I have to go back 9months later

TodayIsAGoodDay Sat 15-Feb-14 14:44:49

Some great advice and support on here.

I would re-iterate what jellyandcake said about cluster feeding. IMO, one of the biggest threats to breastfeeding is the well intended (but utterly incorrect) advice that "you're baby shouldn't be needing to feed so often, you've obviously not producing enough milk, why don't you 'top them up'" etc etc.
Cluster feeding is totally normal and as long as your baby is gaining weight and is healthy then formula top-ups are not required.

IME some MILs resent breastfeeding as it takes away some of the control that they might otherwise have had

Nip this in the bud and, most importantly, get your dp/dh onside too.

OrangeMochaFrappucino Sat 15-Feb-14 15:08:16

I'd make ir clear baby won't be staying away even if you don't breastfeed as that may help in terms of getting her off your back wrt feeding if she knows the method won't make a difference to her having baby to stay.

Are you sure your parents want/will cope with 4 days childcare? It might not hurt to split the days if you're happy with how your MIL cares for baby - I know my parents were surprised how tiring they found their one afternoon of childcare per week!

Money was a great motivating factor for me in the early days of breastfeeding - no way was I going to fork out for formula if I could feed for free!

mummytobejuly2014 Sat 15-Feb-14 18:05:26

Yeah my parents are early 50s and really excited to be able to help. I dont mind who takes what days when im at work. Its just the influence she trying to have. She wasnt happy when she seen the breastpump an ensued another lecture about how painful it is and you won't last past 3 days. I've told her time and time again I've read up on it& there are support groups and there is no reason it should be painful and if it is it will soon pass as long as latch etc is correct as per mw/lactaction group people. Id have thought she'd want the best for her grandchild and be pushing me towards BF especially as it'll be her sons income that we will have to live off. My parents are totally on my side and will support whatever way we choose to feed our little one. Im mid-late 20s and if I can give the baby my antibodies etc then im all for it as I've rarely been ill my whole life so must have a good immune system. Hopefully little one will take to BF successfully and show her how well they thrive against her advice

Shallishanti Sat 15-Feb-14 18:19:09

you have good advice here, I would say again it's worth contacting local groups and if you can going to meet them- it will be very useful to get used to seeing how people bf (bearing in mind if they are out at a group they have probably got over the first few difficult weeks)
however, I would also suggest trying to see it from MIL's point of view- as Mary says, she may well be (subconsciously)hearing a criticism although you intend none. You may be able to find some leaflets aimed at grandparents which might help. And you might have to do a lot of nodding and smiling if she talks about scheduling feeds ....'making a rod for your own back'...and all the nonsense that gets talked.
Maybe it needs your dh to make very clear that baby won't be going for overnight visits anytime soon.
You mention that she was widowed 3 years ago. This may seem a long time to you, but after (I guess) 20+ years of marriage, it isn't long. If her other children and future dgc are far away she may well be investing a ot in your family. Maybe finding ways to involve her that suit you would be kind.

OrangeMochaFrappucino Sat 15-Feb-14 18:47:47

She is very silly to say it will be too painful to last more than a few days - it can definitely be sore but plenty of women worldwide get through more than three days! My MIL wasn't particularly keen on breastfeeding and I'm not really sure why though I think it's a combination of feeling criticised for her own feeding decisions and also a bit of the control issue. It did grate on me a lot because it's a sensitive and vulnerable time and it's easy for a new mother to take offence and also feel a bit under attack. I'm sure your MIL does want the best for your family but it's maybe a generational thing that means she is less likely to see bf as the best. Formula was pushed on women a lot in previous decades and my MIL didn't get the cost argument at first because she bought formula cheap at the baby clinics - obviously they aren't allowed to discount it nowadays.

Get yourself sorted with plenty of support and stick with what you want to do - she will get used to it. But I would be making it clear now that you aren't planning to leave the baby with anyone else for a certain amount of time. I had to state that a few times and it's easier to do so calmly before the baby is born than when you are post-partum and hormonal and inclined to look on everyone as a demanding and grabby baby-snatcher. I didn't leave my baby with anyone til he was six months and even then it was only when strictly necessary and for short periods of time. It was easy to enforce this because I was breastfeeding and although I had a go at expressing, ds was a stubborn bottle refuser. I would have been very upset if I had been bottle feeding and someone had taken that as an invitation to take him away from me before I was ready. It was a boundary I was very strict on and clear from the outset. I know grandparents are excited and that's lovely, but it was very upsetting to me when people would talk about having MY baby to themselves whilst he was still inside my body!

pinkr Sat 15-Feb-14 20:48:37

I found breast feeding really hard initially... no one had prepared me for issues with latching, cluster feeding etc and a severely cracked nipple that took almost three weeks to heal as it tore open at each feed. But I have so far made it to six months and it's a breeze now.
The real reason I stuck it out? All the naysayers in my family who kept telling me to stop, how much easier a bottle is, howI'd never last etc etc. Turns out I'm one stubborn, bloody minded mumma. and I'm glad!

hollowhallows Sat 15-Feb-14 20:51:19

I had an awful time with my mil who used to shout at me every time my dd would cry that it was my fault because I was starving my baby by exclusively breastfeeding. I will say to you what I say to everyone with this kind of problem. Nip it on the bud now and make clear to her that you will parent your baby your way so she may as well keep comments like that to herself for everyone's sake.

As for breastfeeding, you have no idea what will happen and you may fly through it so don't allow what she says to worry you. I had three months of awful cracked, blistered, bleeding and horrendously sore nipples. My nipples would turn black and peel! Eventually it got better and breastfeeding has been an amazing experience for my dd and I. My nipple sensitivity was exceptional though and even with that the soreness eventually subsided. You may be slightly sore at first but unless there is an exceptional reason you will be fine.

Huitre Sat 15-Feb-14 21:14:44

If there's any chance of doing a breastfeeding workshop before your baby arrives, I'd see if you can. I did one with my NCT group and it did throw up a few issues about positioning etc and how to get them to open their little mouths wide enough that I don't think I'd have really 'got' alone. I felt like an utter idiot 'breastfeeding' a large doll, but actually it was really helpful in hindsight. I was very fortunate to have an easy ride with breastfeeding (no pain bar that of letdown which was astonishingly bad but at least didn't last long). I do wonder if some of the easiness was partly to do with having had a really good grounding in positioning etc - there was only one out of the 8 of us who did the workshop who stopped breastfeeding before about six months.

I also had a similarly unhelpful bottlefeeding-obsessed MIL who was keen to have DD to stay overnight asap and kitted out a 'nursery'. I breastfed for fifteen months (back to part time work at five months) and would not have felt comfortable letting DD stay two hours drive away until she wasn't breastfed, so it just didn't happen, despite lots of pressure and moaning. It turned out that DD is one of those children who just wouldn't take a bottle no matter how hard I tried (from about 6 weeks on) so it simply wasn't an option to let her stay so far away without her major source of comfort and food. It also turned out that actually DD didn't want to stay with her grandparents and learnt to talk early so she still hasn't done so at age 7 (though I would have really liked her to from about three years on, I won't force her to do something unnecessary that she doesn't want to).

Good luck with everything and stand your ground. Even if you do decide to bottlefeed later on down the line, you are still your child's mother and it is your decision when he or she stays overnight away from you.

Huitre Sat 15-Feb-14 21:16:40

MIL and FIL did one shortish day of childcare a week for me at their request, btw, about five hours, so they certainly weren't deprived of contact - they just didn't get overnights. I think that is fine. My own parents did no childcare at all, being overseas, but it hasn't made a difference to her relationship with them.

ThingsThatGoBumpInTheNight Sat 15-Feb-14 21:23:27

Everyone else has said the useful stuff so I will say..

Lansinoh cream and buy yourself a new water bottle to help stay hydrated during those first few cluster feeding weeks

And congratulations smile

verdiletta Sat 15-Feb-14 21:24:42

I had a terrible time bfing my first and had bleeding nips a lot - with my second I was really strict about making sure his latch was perfect every time, even if it meant taking him off and putting him back on when I was half asleep. Made a world of difference. Agree with what others said about cluster feeding too - knackering as it is, feeding loads at the start makes things easier in the long run.
Good luck smile

HeartsTrumpDiamonds Sat 15-Feb-14 21:28:06

Some excellent advice here.

Just to add - about expressing - I hated it. Never really got the hang of it properly. I did find a manual pump better than an electric one, and I did manage to express and freeze enough for an emergency supply, but neither DD ever had a bottle of expressed milk. Just something to keep in mind.

Good luck OP. Stick to your guns smile

Pregnantberry Sat 15-Feb-14 21:49:34

My mum never has anything nice to say about BF either, tells me all about how she couldn't BF because of how sore and cracked her nipples got and I shouldn't bother.

"Lalala, fingers in ears, not listening" is a childish yet effective response. biscuit

I'm just going to try my best to refuse to talk about it with anyone who I know will try and talk me out of it, you don't need that stress!

My MIL did the full on personalised nursery/later bedroom thing too for DSS, it is OTT, especially since a lot more babies (inc. mine) are popping up in the family now, so she'll either have to change it to be a generic, gender/age neutral room or she'll have to have a nursery block extension built. grin

everythinghippie29 Sat 15-Feb-14 22:03:13

I'm EBF my 8 week old, it has been tough at points but I would reiterate what has already been said.

I had quite heavy milk production so had to use my manual pump from the first week to take a little bit off the top as they were so engorged LO struggled to latch. I've had leaky boobs, sore nipples and baby puking up whole feeds which is disheartening!

It sounds like you are getting as knowledgeable as possible about BF which is the best thing you can do. I had lots of DPs family telling me that LO was feeding too much and gaining too much weight- well no such thing, keep on feeding. I also decided from day one to be unashamed and whack a boob out as and when LO needed feeding. I feel. this has left us much more confident.

Lansinoh is amazing for sore nipples, instant relief. They also do a pad thing that can be heated or cooled if you have mastisis/general soreness.

Stick with it, so many times over the past few weeks I've partly wished I could FF and have a break but things are finally settling, my 'supply' paranoia is getting better grin, LO is a great weight and its easy as pie to get him latched (which it CERTAINLY wasn't even a few weeks ago). I can even feed him walking around now, which I would have thought impossible early on! I'm even donating to the human milk bank now.

I had a night off with DP feeding him expressed bottles last night so that I could have some wine. I really missed feeding him! grin

Congratulations and good luck with BF, if it doesn't work out don't put too much pressure on yourself, if BF causes issues and FF ends up working for you and your baby go for it.

As for your MIL, cut her some slack, she is probably very excited and so thinking a little selfishly. Just be firm about what you want to happen when your LO gets here but be flexible. She might be an amazing source of support that you never expected.

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