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MIL letting my 4mo lick chocolate - what do I do?

(76 Posts)
WhyNotSmile Mon 22-Dec-14 00:03:40

My 4.5mo son is mainly breastfed (gets 1 bottle of formula each night, though rarely drinks more than a couple of mouthfuls of it). My MIL has been asking when he's getting solids, and I've said that it won't be until he's at least 6 months (he was a month early too, so if he doesn't seem ready then, I'll maybe leave it a couple of weeks). I got the feeling that she disapproved of me waiting so long, but she didn't say anything, so that was ok.

Tonight we were at her house, and she was eating a chocolate bar, which melted on her fingers. She proceeded to stick them in my son's mouth to let him lick it off! I initially assumed she was just messing about and pretending, until she actually did it, so I didn't have time to stop her. When I thought about it afterwards, I was pretty appalled. Husband just sort of shrugged it off when I brought it up.

This is on top of a few weeks ago when my SIL had my son on her knee at dinner, and put a carrot in his mouth for him to lick. That time I did ask her to stop, but in a joking way so as not to cause a scene.

Anyway, am I being silly being concerned about this? I know there would have been so little chocolate it probably wouldn't make it into his tummy, but still! And what should I do? My MIL is quite domineering, and my husband never stands up to her. I'm reluctant to cause a scene, but we're going there on Christmas Day and I don't want it to happen again.

The thing is, as well as the fact that he's not on solids yet, I don't want him being fed chocolate even when he is. My parents would never even think of going against what I wanted, but my in-laws seem to have their own ideas.

DandyHighwayman Mon 22-Dec-14 00:07:50

Right

You do not let baby out of your arms when in their company. Your husband needs a boot up the arse, btw.

NotQuiteSoOnEdge Mon 22-Dec-14 00:09:33

Well I know that I would have been upset.

I wanted to choose my DC's first taste of food and do it with my DP. I wanted it to be healthy and tasty. The thought that the first thing my child ever tasted other than milk was chocolate would have seriously upset me.

However, as MN collective are good at pointing out, you don't have an IL problem, you have a DH problem.

Boundaries. They have no right making such decisions, and your DH needs to realise this.

SellMySoulForSomeSleep Mon 22-Dec-14 00:15:43

My DM was the same. she weaned her kids at 3 months as that was the norm 30 years ago.
Try not to worry about it. Sadly you just have to be strong and forceful when it comes to your baby. Other people always have ideas of what is best and "ok"
Just take him away from anyone who tries to give him something you're not happy about. You have to get used to saying no as it will be all sorts of sweets and other things when he is even older.

Sorry if thats a bit straight to the point but you're in charge. You just have to make everyone else aware! Good luck! fsmile

YANBU. I'm fairly relaxed about this sort of thing but that would upset me. Probably worth laying down some ground rules now - with DH's help!

Oops. You didn't actually ask AIBU! Next time it happens say "actually, we'd rather ds didn't have that". Keep saying it as often as you have to and if you ever leave ds with her make it clear what he can and can't have.

It needn't be a big deal - I'm sure you can be quite friendly about it!

MissHJ Mon 22-Dec-14 00:40:11

Yanbu. I too am very relaxed at that sort of thing. My family gave my son licks of things before I officially weaned him and it was hardly anything. Did not bother me at all, and it won't harm your lo. But that is besides the point. You don't like it and as his mother they should respect that. So I would have a chat with your mil telling her to respect your wishes as a parent or expect to never be asked to babysit.

SageSeymour Mon 22-Dec-14 00:40:51

It's not crack ...

It's really no biggie I promise . Just feels like it when it's A your first or B you're a little bit precious.

If you can't just relax and accept that he'll still grow up just like he would've done minus the lick of chocolate , then mention it to her

WheresMyBodyGone Mon 22-Dec-14 00:48:45

Just roll your eyes and ignore it. It's wrong but sometimes you just have to go with the flow for the sake of family harmony. I would be far more concerned that the child was licking her fingers at all, chocolate or no chocolate.

If she persists in this kind of provocative rule-bending it might indicate that she wants to create conflict between you and DH. Be careful if that's the case, don't rise to her behaviour, try to 'manage' her carefully but directly. Don't get DH involved as he probably won't have a clue what's going on.

I would play the naive parent - "oh are babies allowed chocolate at this age?" that way you defer to her wise experience and she will then have to justify her actions.

TheCrimsonQueen Mon 22-Dec-14 01:14:38

Sorry but I think you are totally overreacting. Its a bit of melted chocolate FFS.

Glad your husband shrugged it off.

Are you looking for reasons to dislike your MIL?

TheGirlAtTheJingleBellRockShow Mon 22-Dec-14 04:37:16

If I were in your shoes I would be upset too! It's not necessarily about the chocolate, it's about them overstepping boundarys and taking decisions about your child away from you. Your DH needs to grow a pair and stick up for you, whether he sees the problem of not.
On Christmas day you just don't let DS be held by anyone else eating, or holding, food. Keep them in your sight and if they get food take back DS saying "I'll have him while you eat that".

WhyNotSmile Mon 22-Dec-14 04:52:54

Thanks for the opinions, it helps to get other people's perspectives. I think my main issue is just that she didn't ask, and I felt I had no say and no comeback. I know it's not something that's really going to harm my son, I guess - it's more that I want to feel that I can say 'no' and she'll respect that, because next time it could be something bigger and more significant.

I'll keep a close eye on things at Christmas, and see how that goes. I'll talk to my husband in advance and let him know that I'd like him to intervene if it happens again, and that if he doesn't, I will. Problem there is that he's a bit of a people-pleaser, who won't want to upset anyone. I don't really want to introduce conflict, but I do think it's ok to expect him to stand up for my wishes to some extent.

And no, I'm not looking for reasons to dislike her, CrimsonQueen - mostly I like her, and she and I get on well. It's just that when she does things like this, it doesn't seem as if she respects me all that much. She's used to being able to have the final say in family-related things, though! I often feel that I have to back down to avoid my husband becoming a piggy-in-the-middle in situations. It's something I'm not used to, as my own parents aren't like that.

TheCrimsonQueen Mon 22-Dec-14 05:57:38

You say your husband is a people pleaser but why should he get into conflict with his mother over something that is really no big deal. it's his mother. I assume she did a good job bringing him up otherwise you wouldn't have married the man he has become.

I am glad you get along with her generally and that this isn't an attempt at driving a wedge between her, your husband and your child.

Your husband is a parent too and he has an equal say. That seems to be lost in all of this. You seem to think that if you simply bark orders to intervene he should.

If you hadn't guessed I have too boys and overreactions like this worry me.

merrymouse Mon 22-Dec-14 06:16:30

I don't think you are over reacting. You aren't worried about the chocolate. You are worried about her ignoring specific instructions. However, it shouldn't be difficult to bring up feeding in conversation and chat about your approach.

Guidelines do change so people without babies shouldn't be expected to keep up with them.
I couldn't tell you what they are now on all aspects of baby safety. However People shouldn't be offended if you expect them to follow them once pointed out.

springbabydays Mon 22-Dec-14 06:38:33

Your baby, your rules. Next time something like this happens, say something, politely but firmly. All my in laws seem to want to do is get refined sugars into my ds, when he's perfectly happy with fruit right now, and I'd like it to stay that way as long as possible!

MoRaw Mon 22-Dec-14 06:45:59

Agree with Crimsonqueen. Sounds like you are turning this into a big drama. Do you expect your parents and in-laws to ask you for permission in all their harmless interactions with your child? This might simply lead to them giving your DS a wide berth.

Your husband does not see this as a big deal and you seem unable to respect that. You want him to stand up for you and create a fuss even if he thinks you are overreacting. I do not think our spouses/partners have a blind duty to stand up for us against mother, father, brother, sister, etc even when we are being unreasonable.

WhyNotSmile Mon 22-Dec-14 07:35:45

To be clear: my husband doesn't think she should be doing this either. It's just that he won't tell her when there's something he disagrees with. We'll agree on a boundary, but when his mum crosses it, he just shrugs and laughs and says "That's how Mummy is". This is probably the first time it's happened over something that really bothers me.

We're not imposing tons of petty rules. By and large we just let the grandparents work away. But there are a few areas where one or both of us disagree with what the grandparents would normally do. If it's my parents, I'll just mention it to them (even if it's something my husband is concerned about and I'm not - if we've agreed it between us, then that's what matters). They would rather we told them, so that they don't do something that we don't think is best for our son. But when it's my MIL, my husband just doesn't say anything, even if he's the one who thinks what she's doing isn't what he wants. Sometimes he'll even say "Don't tell my mum that, that'll just be how we do things when she's not there".

I don't want a fuss or a conflict. Just a quiet word or something. I do think that what my son eats is quite important, and in years to come I'd like to feel confident that if he goes to his grandparents' house he'll not be filled with all kinds of sugar, fizzy drinks etc.

Havingabeer Mon 22-Dec-14 07:39:08

I agree. The fact that your baby will be fine is not the point. You could do all sorts of things, paint the baby's face, gel his hair, pierce his ears and he would still be fine.
She's undermining you which is not fine

WhyNotSmile Mon 22-Dec-14 07:59:33

Yes, havingabeer, I think that's what I'm realising as I read through the responses and think about the things people have raised. I'd rather he didn't have chocolate for a good while yet, but I know it's not really doing him harm if it's just a little lick. But it's that I feel I have no way of saying anything, and therefore in the future I wonder how that will go.

My MIL isn't someone who gives a second thought about eating healthily, exercising etc - it's just not on her radar, for herself or anyone else. She'd be more of the opinion that you eat what you like, and if kids like sweets, then you might as well give them what keeps them happy. I don't think she's undermining me deliberately; I think she just wouldn't think that eating sweets is a problem.

I can't figure out whether she cares what we think or not - or whether she even really realises that other people have different views on things, and that that's ok! So that's why I'd prefer my husband to take the lead - he knows her better, and the way she communicates is very different from how my parents communicate. There are things I could say to my parents that my MIL would take offense at.

SisterNancySinatra Mon 22-Dec-14 08:08:01

Now you are a parent you can now see you have to constantly fight for your child, from ensuring a healthy diet and lifestyle to later on supervising education and keeping an eye on school etc. I bet you didn't realise it would start so early . I made sure my Dd didn't eat any sweets or chocolate for the furst 18months and I'm sure that's why she eats anything and so easy when going onto solids .

TheCrimsonQueen Mon 22-Dec-14 08:19:50

How can you figure out whether she cares what you think? What is she mystic Meg?

If you aren't prepared to talk to her honestly and openly or your husband isn't then I suggest you deal with your husbands reluctance to talk to her. Maybe he doesn't want to talk to her because this really is a mountain out of a molehill situation.

I would suggest you pick your battles as I suspect that battles is where the MIL relationship is heading.

As to her indifference to exercise and healthy eating shouldn't you be dealing with your husbands lack of exercise and overeating of sweets? I have assumed that this is case given she raised him and I have an image of a fat unhealthy man given your description of her indifference.

merrymouse Mon 22-Dec-14 08:26:10

The thing is, a lot of guidelines aren't 'common sense' - sleeping on back, avoiding honey, not giving aspirin to children - even things like seat belts aren't 'common sense' to some people. Things like sugar intake are a problem that didn't exist a generation or two ago because it just wasn't so widely available.

I think it is unfair not to tell grandparents and other carers what you have decided is best practice, and ask them to act accordingly (assuming you haven't said something completely daft like you aren't bothering with car seats). If you aren't straightforward and honest, for fear of causing a very minor upset, at best you are allowing resentment to fester and at worst you are allowing them to unwittingly do something that could harm your child.

WhyNotSmile Mon 22-Dec-14 08:42:39

No, CrimsonQueen, my husband is very healthy, eats loads of fruit and veg, very few sweets (just a slight weakness for crisps). He goes running and cycling. Not super-fit, but likes to exercise.

The whole point here is that I'm prepared to say "Please don't do that", but my husband doesn't seem to be, even when he thinks something matters. And I've said I'm not imposing a ton of petty rules and then arguing over them - there are just a few things I care about. But I don't want things to cause conflict - just to be listened to.

Merrymouse, I guess my question is more around how to communicate what we want. I kind of expected that my husband would take the lead with his parents, and I would with mine, but he doesn't seem to want to say anything to his mum.

FamiliesShareGerms Mon 22-Dec-14 08:46:40

I'd save the conflict for big stuff, not licks of chocolate or carrot. I understand why you're upset but I do think with family stuff it's a matter of picking your battles

Snakesandpropertyladders Mon 22-Dec-14 08:56:25

I'd be furious too. My son has food allergies. If someone had given him chocolate it probably would have caused him to have an allergic reaction.

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