Relatives and first grandchild - please tell me it's not as bad as I think it will be(31 Posts)
This is my first time starting a thread, please be gentle!
I'm due to have my first baby in a few weeks, feels like a miracle baby after traumatic losses and a very complex pregnancy. Baby is PFB grandchild on both sides so I understand grandparents want to be involved but I'm really worried that my wishes won't be respected by my mum or MIL. Every time I say what I'd like/plan to do I get told "oh it's your first, your ideas will soon change" - this about everything from breastfeeding to wanting to use natural fabrics and trying to establish a routine. I have been in tears tonight after a conversation with MIL about breastfeeding, she's not keen and I'm genuinely scared she is planning to sneak baby formula. How did you cope with granny knows best?
Depends in your relationship.
If you are direct you say "I really appreciate your support but I want to make my own decisions, even if I change my mind "
If you are most people, you smile and nod.
(I agree about routines though. Try by all means, but don't beat yourself up if Gina or Tracy or whoever doesn't suit your baby. Especially if bf.)
My circs were similar to yours (long time trying, first gc for my parents, second for my husband's). But nobody has tried to be overbearing like that. I think it might be helpful to start setting boundaries now. Maybe say things like "thanks for your thoughts but this will be our baby and we would like to figure things out on our own/do things our way". Sneaking formula against your wishes would be awful. Why would she even have the baby without you or your husband there unless you want her to?
Boundaries are an issue in general as MIL is super involved Helping to keep things ticking over while I've been off my feet. She probably (hopefully) wouldn't go as far as to actually give the baby formula, but would make her feelings clear. Wouldn't it seem a bit odd if I refuse to leave baby alone with grandmother while I have a shower etc?
Penguins I've been reading Gina's new contented baby book which is very bf focused. There doesn't seem to be anything scary like leaving baby to cry with hunger until it's time for a feed. I accept that the routine might not work but I'd like to give it a go and feel supported while I do so. My mum thinks putting a baby in a routine is the equivalent of child torture, my MIL thinks comforting a child everytime they fuss is making a rod for your own back. Baby isn't here yet but I know both grannys are planning to make themselves available all summer and I'm scared not only of their stong opinions, but the fact their views directly contradict and we're gonna be caught in the middle. DP is amazing but his one weakness is his mum so there probably won't be much support there.
Were you trying to make your mil breastfeed your baby? If not, wtf does it matter if she is "not keen" - it has nothing to do with her. Start establishing some boundaries and try to discuss your plans less with them. Talk to friends (or on here) instead. They can't criticise what you don't tell them about.
Choose a phrase to use and practice repeating it in a pleasant but firm way "this is what we do with <insert baby's name>", "this works for us" etc
Thanks Iggi, you're right I should probably keep more to myself. I'll try to find a phrase as well!
ODFOD is a good one, though maybe not best for relatives!
Bring the two grannies round at the same time and let them argue it out themselves
I agree with the those who says stop sharing information with them. Naturally you are excited and want to talk about your plans. When you talk about those plans you are met with smug, knowing looks, or "you'll learn" comments, instead of sharing your excitement, they are just being unkind.
This will not stop them because the next line of attack will be to ask you what your plans are. You need to find one phrase that you are comfortable with and repeat it to every question.
Well we have several,options.
We are still thinking about that
Well we have so much conflicting advice on that so we are still considering that.
Or you could say, we are going with the, one child one, one mother process.
You need to use quite a bored tone when using your standard phrase, and possibly they will get the message.
Smile, head tilt and I'm her mother I'm in charge (big smile)
I was,just talking about your post with my DiL, and she told me that the phrase that worked with her when talking to opinionated relatives was.
"Nobody tells you that the most stressful part of being a mum, is how everyone wants to bombard you with their opinion. You would not believe some of the stuff I have been told."
She said, that usuall stopped them in their tracks, as they could not be certain if the barb was directed at them or not.
You have got very good advice.
Smile, nod and ignore- both before and after the baby. Never discuss- if you feel the need to say something stick with 'really' in a neutral tone.
Quietly do your own thing. If criticised stick with 'it suits us at the moment' - that leaves it open that you might possibly change (or not). Repeat as necessary. People are too polite and always feel they need to explain or justify, but there is no need to do either.
Smile nod agree then completely ignore and do what you want. You might be a ftm but trust your instincts 9/10 times they'll be right - you're mum you know what's best fit you're baby.
I think their "you'll learn " comments are quite insensitive but they are right in a way you will learn what's best for you and your baby, they could've worded it a little different such as " I know you've got ideas on what ideally you'd like to do or not do but sometimes things don't go thr way we plan and that's ok, don't beat yourself up if you do change your mind on how you bring up your baby"
Good luck with your new baby and if you feel they're being overbearing then just tell them so, they might not even realise they're doing it
We got this when I was pregnant particularly from Mil who didn't seem to get breastfeeding or us having a co-sleeper crib or choosing environmentally friendly options. She kept saying we would change our mind once the baby was here...guess what?! We haven't changed our minds at all!!
The suggested overnight stays at her house for my breastfed baby just aren't happening! She's suggested giving baby a bottle once (supposedly of my BM) so I can 'have a break' I just politely declined.
My DM is obsessed with baby 'sleeping' through the night and making suggestions about how to get her to sleep better as we all slept from 12-6...our baby sleeps 9:30-4:30. Then goes back down after a feed. She doesn't seem to get the math on this one.
At the end of the day...they had their own babies a long time ago! You can bring up your baby your way and as their parent you get up call the shots.
Oh and you'll probably get told at some point you'll need to learn to put the baby down. You can cuddle your baby all you bloody like!
Jellybean- absolutely try GF. By all means. It may work. I don't think routines are wrong or cruel.
But the appearance that it is planned for bf babies is very superficial and many mothers struggle to make bfing compatible with that type of routine. It doesn't really allow for many totally nomral bf behaviours (cluster feeding, routinely much more frequent feeding, growth spurts (except with that stuff about pre empting it with masses of pumping. which is very hard workand may not help) etc) That's isn't to say that you can't have a routine, but just to be aware. If you want to talk about routines and bfing there are loads of knowledgeable people on here.
I don't want to do what you are complaining about with the grandparents, so I will shut up now. But honestly I would do some wider reading than just the GF book on that one point.
My first time writing anything on here too. You will get advice from the world and his dog, but you know your baby best! A couple of things that helped me first time round though...no matter how irritating grandparents-to-be are, you will be grateful for some help (on your terms) once the baby arrives. I was thoroughly sick of both grannies whilst pg!!! The other thing is that babies haven't read the books and aren't little machines (do x, the result is y). Routines will suit some babies beautifully but I spent a lot of time stressing because mine wouldn't do what he was supposed to. Enjoy the rest of your pregnancy and as everyone else has said, smile and nod. My best one of those was to a train guard (!) who told me to put fennel tea in my baby's bottle (my ebf baby) because it would 'suppress his appetite and you'll get a good night's sleep'. My son was about 5 weeks. WTF?
My babies both had routines, but they were the ones they showed me themselves - nap at 9, another at 12, that kind of thing. Cluster feed at 7. Life was much easier following their natural rhythm than trying to impose an artificial one.
If your big morbid fear is that your MIL is going to formula feed your baby behind your back, then confront it. Just say "I'm getting quite stressed about these baby feeding conversations, so I want to get something off my chest. At present, I plan to exclusively breastfeed, which means no formula at all. Anyone who even thinks about giving the baby a bottle against my wishes would never be allowed unsupervised contact with the baby again". I know if will be hard. But if what you're saying is your MIL has no boundaries, at some stage you'll have to establish them. Either slowly, messily and stressfully (as I did) or in one quick painful but effective conversation (better).
Although as someone who did BF both of mine without any formula I do have to say that the key to it in the first few months is feeding pretty much all the time without looking at the clock. Sorry. On the plus side - a comfy armchair, a DVD box set, a massive slice of cake - there are worse ways to spend the day...
Yes I agree with Iggi - observing and going with their own cycle's the easiest routine. You'll notice one emerging about month 4-5 in my experience.
Just to empathise: I'm 29 weeks with #1 and already getting the smug 'you'll learn!" and "you'll see!" to anything even vaguely baby-related. It's really starting to piss me off.
I'm more than happy to accept genuine, constructive advice, but smug, vague, condescending smirking from other mums in the family (aunts, cousins, etc.) is the last thing I need! Every child is different.
I agree with the poster who said 'nod, agree and ignore'! Seems to be working for me at the moment...
Ah my mum is quite good to be fair. She has two grandchildren now, one from me and one from my sister. She does not give unwanted advice, I think she knows things have changed since she has us and our younger brother.
My mil is quite bad, thinks her way is the best way. I just smile and ignore and carry on doing as I am.
Some things though I must admit I did have trouble not pointing out to my younger sister when she was pregnant. All full of plans of doing this and doing that, especially telling me how she would get her baby into a routine straight away while looking pointingly at my son. Ah how I had to bite my hand on that one! I also look back on my plans when pregnant and wonder how I thought that would actually work!
If it helps, just don't talk to them about it, change the topic
Thanks for all the great advice, was so lovely to wake up and see that people do get it - my DP doesn't see what the problem is. I'll try to resist my urge to overshare and nod and smile while the advice washes over me
Appreciate all the BF tips, I'm anxious about it as I only know two or three who've been able to make EBF work despite lots of my friends trying really hard.
Thanks Josie the days spent cuddled up in a comfy chair with cake and baby sound like torture! Hmm...could be the perfect escape while the grannies work through their parenting philosophies together.
BFing on demand is also a very good way to politely ask for your baby back if over-keen gp's want to hold for too long
Don't be anxious about bfing. Firstly, as I'm sure you know, it isn't the be all and end all. Don't let it become a guilt thing. And some people do have genuinely massive problems with it.
But it is also true that a lot of problems are to do with lack of understanding of normal bfing behaviour - e.g. "I had to give a bottle in the evenings because she was feeding for hours and wouldn't settle". Nothing wrong with giving a bottle, but cluster feeding for horus in the evening is also often a very natural and normal behaviour in the early days. Or "I didn't have enough milk so she was only snacking and going for two hours between feeds." There is lots of support on these boards if it is something which you are really keen on doing
Also, if you are keen on bfing, don't use GF as your guide. She has some good advice on other things, but I don't rate her on bfing. There are lots of great books out there specifically on bfing.
Don't worry about being sat in front of the telly all day, small babies are so portable. Bf babies can be fed anywhere(that's the law), so as soon as you get the hang of it off you go.
My SIL has breastfed everywhere she would normally go from the beginning. Me, it took a bit longer, but we soon got up to speed. Bye family we're off out.
Join the discussion
Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Register now
Already registered with Mumsnet? Log in to leave your comment or alternatively, sign in with Facebook or Google.
Please login first.