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Baby-led feeding - how to stop DP mum worrying?

(36 Posts)
Ridersofthestorm Wed 10-Jul-13 12:15:41

Hello everyone, I hope you all are having a lovely day smile apologies in advance this will be long

I'm just a bit stressed out about my DP mum constantly getting more critical about feeding my 13 mo ds proper food and how to handle it. She was always quite sceptical about baby-led weaning from the start, she being a mum of the 70's both her ds's were weaned on jars of puréed food. I've explained to her that times have changed since then and many of us new mummy's offer finger foods with purées to start off.
Fast forward to now, she minds my ds 3 days a week and all is going great. We don't really have many issues, she is trying her best to make sure my son is well cared for and is doing a great job. I think this is mainly because in the beginning she was very critical of me, and being a stressed new mummy had a go at her. I don't feel bad about it, it built up for far too long and I kept quiet out of politeness hoping she would take the hint.
I don't want to have to do this again, I hate confrontation and it was so awkward since my DP her ds took her side (as he always does).

Anyway, I make all my ds food for him and leave it out for her to give him that day. She always gives him what I leave, and lets me know how much he has eaten, any problems etc. however, she is the type of person who is over over protective and a big worrier over the slightest thing. I however am not, I am a bit more of a relaxed mummy. Please don't think that I don't watch my son because I really do, I am cautious and worry about him loads too. Her style just grates me a bit because I feel like I can't relax around her with my own ds in case she is watching and picking up on the slightest thing. 'Oh riders watch him with that, you need to be careful with this' - I know this all already and find it all a bit patronising tbh as she shouldn't need to worry about stuff to that extent whilst I am around.
So she has started making comments about how he chokes on breadsticks I leave for her to give him (he loves them). Now I know he doesn't , he shovels his food in and will gag a little but not once with me has he choked on these with me. I make sure I break up the food more for him, he's even started doing it himself, he's 13 mo. I just ignored the first time she mentioned it, I know my son and I never leave him alone to eat anything.
Since she's gotten more used to minding my son she is being more critical of things I do, and she's careful to make sure she's not telling me what to do, to her it's 'just a suggestion' - then why keep mentioning it? She is the type of person who if someone is doing she doesn't agree with will keep mentioning it until they give in and it's getting on my nerves.
So today, I am knackered and DP gets up and goes to work without helping with anything (again). His mum turns up and my ds is having a nap and I run through his food for the day etc. I say I've got chopped up apple in the fridge for him and straight away she says "oh I don't like to give him apple riders he chokes on it, I prefer when you leave soft fruits", so I tell her I gave him apple last night with his dinner and he ate it fine. She then goes into the whole breadstick thing again (god this sounds so petty I know). I told her yes he might gag now and again not all the time, because he shovels his food in so just break it up into smaller bits if she's worried. Then she says "I've had to pat his back a couple of times because I thought he might have been choking", I've funnily not had this problem, he gags but never choked, they are quite dry so I offer him water.
So I just ended the conversation by saying I'm not worried, he is absolutely fine with me on these food. In fact I'm pretty proud how well he can feed himself now after the nightmare I had in the beginning with weaning him. I know I probably sound like a loon and overacting as she is minding my child for free and is a wonderful granny to him, but it makes me feel like she thinks I don't care about my child or notice anything about him. I think I'm a good mum but all this gets me a bit down, there are other things she picks up on too so it's not just feeding.

I don't know how to handle this, I can't ask my DP as I can't criticise his dm AT ALL and I'm not exaggerating, she is always right.
I've got no family here and no one to really talk to about how all this makes me feel.

Right, so getting to my point, what can I say to her that is positive about baby-led weaning? I'm kind of stuck of what to say when she thinks I'm giving him foods she thinks he could choke on. I personally think baby-led weaning has worked great for me and my ds. I shouldn't even have to explain my decision to her as I am his mum, but I totally understand she is worried that something may happen to a child in her care, I know I would.
What would you say to her? Be nice though, I want to be as diplomatic as possible as things are going well at the moment.

Thanks if you have managed to survive this long winded thread

Madlizzy Wed 10-Jul-13 12:29:47

For 3 days a week, would it be worth relaxing your feeding regime for him just to keep the status quo? Pieces of banana are just as good as apples. It sounds like the gagging makes her very uncomfortable, and as she's a bit old school, might be worth compromising.

LieweHeksie Wed 10-Jul-13 12:36:42

I agree you need to compromise.
Our CM was not happy feeding my DC everything that I would have fed them. In general she was about 3-4 month behind what I was doing at home.

I didn't see it as a criticism of my choices, just differences in how we preferred to do things. There is no 'right' way to feed a child and what is right for you may not be right for your MIL.

And remember that it is more stressful feeding someone else's child. There are many 'small risks' I would happily take with my own children that I wouldn't dream of taking with someone else's child.

LieweHeksie Wed 10-Jul-13 12:37:29

oh and to answer your question... you can't stop her worrying smile

AmandaPandtheTantrumofDoom Wed 10-Jul-13 12:39:52

You could try getting the Rapley book on BLW out of the library/on Amazon? It has some really good scientific type explanations of what gagging is as opposed to choking, the biological mechanisms, etc.

Marcheline Wed 10-Jul-13 12:40:43

Oh dear.

To be honest, there's bit much you can do to stop her worrying. You can't control her thoughts/feelings and it sounds to me as though she will worry, regardless of what you do.

Personally, I wouldn't be happy with this arrangement at all, though I understand that lots of people need to use family to help out as childcare is outrageously expensive.

So, I reckon you either say, 'I am the parent, not you. Thus is what I do, like it or lump it,' or you let her do whatever she wants while she is minding your DS. It does sound as though she really cares for him, which can only be a positive thing.

What I would definitely want to tackle, is your DPs attitude. It is NOT fair to back his mother over you. You two chose to have a child together, you need to work out how to raise your child, together. It is nothing to do with his mum.

AmandaPandtheTantrumofDoom Wed 10-Jul-13 12:45:56

Oh, and totally agree, you and your DP need a serious conversation about his mother.

I do understand, DH's mother can be difficult, but since we have been married (i.e. a permanent family, not just a girlfriend. Not judging those who establish permanence in other ways than marriage) he has totally stepped up. We are his family and he will defend me and our DD's and our family decisions.

Honestly, if your DP it will just get worse - schools, clothes, friends, routines...She'll have an opinion on all of it.

Ridersofthestorm Wed 10-Jul-13 13:08:04

Thanks peeps, I'm always willing to compromise with her. It was this morning that I had run out of soft fruit so I had to improvise. She has made it perfectly clear she won't cook for him so sometimes I'm a bit dis-organised and forget to get stuff. She needs to roll with me too and understand that it's full on being a new mum (which she obviously knows) so I can't be as super dooper organised as I once was. If she was willing to feed him softer food and not tell me then that's fine, but I appreciate she is trying to show me she only feeds him what I give him and therefore respecting my wishes.

It's just really horrible when someone is not your mum and you can't just tell them straight without them being offended. I know she loves her dgc very much, she is so good with him, takes him out and about and to play groups for me. I really must sound ungrateful.

As for my DP, we have had huge issues over his parents for a while. If I am critical I get told I must hate them and they love me like a daughter and I am ungrateful. My reply is you can still care for people but they can still get on your nerves at times, as with all families. He is someone who can't make a single decision for himself, or do anything for himself because his parents are so overbearing they have done it for him. They are saints in his eyes, I've tried to talk to him about it but we end up arguing. I can't deal with that stress right now tbh but totally respect what you are saying, I know it's an issue to be tackled.

JedwardScissorhands Wed 10-Jul-13 13:17:25

Wow. You leave all the food out, down to the chopped up apple, and she is over protective? I don't agree with the mumsnet view that if you want it your way you pay; I think GPs should follow your rules if they are providing child care. However, you are going way over the top. As someone else said, it is more stressful feeding someone else's child.

AnythingNotEverything Wed 10-Jul-13 13:36:46

If I were you (and I suspect I'm gong to have similar issues with my MIL), I'd just make it as easy as you can for her. I don't think she's judging you or being critical, I think she's worried about him choking, which is a valid fear when looking after someone else's child.

Very soon he'll be eating steak and chicken drumsticks (I assume you're jot veggie?!) and this stage will feel like a long time ago. Once he's eating exactly what you eat ie no purees and fruit directly rather than chopped, this will be easier.

I'd just bear with it. In the meantime, get more support from your DP.

Ridersofthestorm Wed 10-Jul-13 13:42:34

I chop up all the food because she said she didn't want to be preparing lunches and cooking anything. My over protectiveness is a result of this, she would just feed him pouches as as she has said herself "it's easier for her" to do that. I don't want my ds living off pouches, although I don't mind using them either now and again as they are handy if you are out and about.
I know she only has him a few days a week, I just suppose because he is my first dc I am trying to do everything I think is right - although there is no right or wrong way just different ways of doing things.

JedwardScissorhands Wed 10-Jul-13 13:46:21

So she is feeding home the meals, it's just things like apples that are a problem? Then leave banana, or something else she is happy with.

AnythingNotEverything Wed 10-Jul-13 13:51:13

I would leave him fruit that doesn't need chopping and is less worrying for her. Surely they could share a banana now without it being chopped up? Maybe some raisins (which I know aren't great for teeth but come in portioned boxes).

Ridersofthestorm Wed 10-Jul-13 13:57:16

I really am trying to make things easier for her, I worry every morning about getting everything ready and what she will say. I worry in case she questions what I am giving him to eat, I shouldn't have to live like that. I just would like her to respect that I am his mother and I would never ever give my ds anything that I thought would harm him.
I have to have an explanation ready for anything she questions. Why do I have to defend my decisions? He's my baby.
I wouldn't mind if it was only ever a one off and she just honestly said "look riders I don't think you understand how much I worry about feeding him and choking, I'm new to all this new way of doing it, would it be possible if I can give him softer stuff?", its not like that, its me being told and then questioning and questioning. confused
I certainly will make more of an effort to avoid food she has problems giving him. It's probably easier all round, but I've a funny feeling it won't stop there

oscarwilde Wed 10-Jul-13 14:06:48

It sounds like a pain in the ass and irritating as hell but to be honest, it's just a phase. Your son will grow out of the gagging very quickly so I would either continue as you have done [and suck up all the implied criticism] or alter what you leave out for an easier life. If its only 3 days a week, then you are not fundamentally changing the BLW approach?
I had the pleasure of holidaying recently with a BLW toddler. She ate well and competently used a fork and spoon (and her fingers) and rarely needed adult intervention at 18 months. My 3 yr DC however was not BLW and expected to be spoonfed when she couldn't be bothered to get on with it and eat herself.
Personally, I'd ignore, ignore, ignore smile

As for your DP - words fail.

AnythingNotEverything Wed 10-Jul-13 14:18:58

I think you need to engage your DP. He could make all this go away by having a quiet word to say "Rider only gives you things she knows the baby eats and enjoys, while trying to ensure a balanced diet and making your life easier. It makes it quite stressful when you question every decision."

I think he holds the key - and your last comment sounds like you fear this is the first of many battles. Be strong and demand support now and your future will be brighter!

Ridersofthestorm Wed 10-Jul-13 14:34:49

Thank you peeps! My DP could defiantly be more supportive, he certainly is a bit useless. We've got our issues right now, this first year of us being patents has been tough - as it is for everyone. I do need to have a conversation with him before I get too stressed.

Ridersofthestorm Wed 10-Jul-13 14:35:54

Parents not patents! I'm on my phone so stupid predictive stuff

oscarwilde Wed 10-Jul-13 14:53:08

I think it may be worth pointing out to your DP that there is a natural tendency for most men to back off in the first year when their children are very small especially if their child is breastfed. However, it's time to step up and take a more active role as a parent. Evitably this will end in more conflict as he will in all likelihood have a different approach to you but your DS will have more balanced care and interation with his parents. If your DP leaves everything to you and neither develops an opinion or helps in any way with raising his child then he should restrain all criticism in the way you deal with his mother and support you 100%. He can't have it every way

GingerJulep Wed 10-Jul-13 15:40:08

So, the MIL is providing free childcare 3 days/week. She is trying her best to look after her dgc and feed him what is left for him. She worries that he seems to choke (albeit OP believes it is gagging which is different) on some items and prefers to give softer food?

For the sake of the amount of help she is giving (note: GIVING) I'd really just think about what you offer anyway that is softer or more reassuring to older carers (e.g. bananas instead of apple, any kind of baby-specific rusk thing instead of bread stick) and choose to leave those items on her days.

She sounds like an amazing help who is allowing you freedom/a career/a financially amazing nanny substitute/whatever it is you do for nearly half your 7 day week that you wouldn't otherwise be able to in return for really very little hassle.

Your DP sounds like a bit of a mummy's boy which can be a total pain.

But isn't MIL's fault now he is an adult.

Onwards and upwards.

Ridersofthestorm Wed 10-Jul-13 15:55:01

Ginger, I totally agree with you, she does so much for us, I'm going to cut her some slack. I got home from work today and she didn't mention anything, neither did I, the apple was still in the fridge so she is obviously very uncomfortable giving him it.
I've just gave it to him and he's eating it happily.
I suppose I've just got to pick my battles. I do appreciate her help, I just wish her ds was more supportive.
He certainly has not acted as I thought he would when the baby arrived. I thought he would have been so hands on and helpful, but no he's not. I think he finds it all boring tbh and is looking forward until he's a bit older. He certainly is a mummy's boy there's no doubt about that.

Thanks for all your honest suggestions, sometimes you need perspective and mumsnet gives it in bucketloads haha

frissonpink Wed 10-Jul-13 16:03:19

Hmmm. Your MIL is providing care for 3 days a week? I'm paying nursery for 2 days a week - that's costing £400 a month.

For £400 a month, i would expect to have a moan and dislike the way they might do something.

For free, I would let your MIL do it the way she most feels comfortable. She's probably scared bloody rigid of him choking.

Does it really matter if he has even purees for those few days?

brettgirl2 Wed 10-Jul-13 21:40:51

Will he actually EAT pouches? Neither of mine would have at that age she'd have got them in the face. I reckon compromise, don't leave the things that stress her. My mum's always had a thing about grapes. Generally though giving purees to a 13 month old is ridiculous surely?

HearMyRoar Wed 10-Jul-13 22:06:11

My dd is 15 months and loves apples, eats them whole (including the core). She has been blw from the start and always been a really great eater. Even so she has choked on apple once, and I mean choking not gagging. I'm a very confident first aider with plenty of training in the past so happy I can deal with it but I can still absolutely understand why your mil would be uncomfortable with your ds eating it while she was looking after him. To be honest, the more I think about it I really don't think I would want someone who wasn't happy they could deal with a choking incident feeding my dd apple anyway. Its just not fair on anyone to put them in that situation.

Maybe you need to sit down and have a conversation with your mil about what she is and isn't comfortable with in as nonjudgmental a way as possible. Maybe just let her know that you realise now that she really isnt comfortable with feeding him apples and ask if there is there anything else she would rather not do with him so you can make her time with him as easy as possible? That way she has a chance to talk through any fears with you and you can be aware of them so you can try and avoid them where possible or address them head on if it is something you just can't avoid.

whatsoever Wed 10-Jul-13 22:33:01

My son is being weaned via BLW (except yogurt, which I spoon feed him), i am a very confident mum & I don't give him raw apple, as it was the main source of food cited as causing choking among BLW children in a recent journal paper.

I'd give your MIL a bit of slack personally, especially if she's providing free childcare, which is incredibly generous! I'm sure there are loads of foods that fit the BLW bill but also let her feel comfortable.

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