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Is my Mil's interest in DS's diet excessive?

(13 Posts)
scrumptiouscrumpets Thu 19-May-16 20:13:56

We stayed with my PIL last week.
My DS, 19 mo, is a fussy eater, his diet is limited to a dozen or so things he likes. However, he is on the 50th percentile for weight and the consultant has no concerns. I try to be relaxed about it, but it's not always easy and I found it very difficult dealing with my Mil's interest in DS's diet during our stay.

She asked in detail about every single meal DS was having. Often, she'd say, "not pasta again, shouldn't he be having X?" I had to justify what I was giving him to eat at more or less all meals except breakfast.
She asked me a couple of times where he was getting his protein from, and told me about a relative's DS who suffered from malnutrition when they adopted him from south America, and that he was put on a special diet, and perhaps we wanted to try it for DS? It sounded to me as if she were saying he suffers from malnutrition.

She'd comment on whether he'd been a good boy or not at most meals. She suggested ways to get him to taste new foods every single day, and she insisted on trying them herself. She'd try to distract him with toys to put things in his mouth, and she'd go on and on at him, "have just one bite, come on, be a good boy" etc. Mealtimes were very tense because DS just won't taste most things you put on his plate and refuses to have a spoon shoved in his mouth, and she was always disappointed and concerned when foods went untouched, she went on and on about it.
Once, she went too far, trying to force the spoon in his mouth while trying to hold his hands down. We were really annoyed about this and did not let her feed him again during our stay.
I sometimes felt she wanted us to be more concerned and anxious, she obviously felt we weren't worried enough. I sometimes got the impression she was enjoying wallowing in concern, iyswim?

My question is, is it normal for grandparents to be this involved in their GC's diet, especially when you are staying at their place? I have no comparison because my parents are the other extreme, they have commented on his fussiness a couple of times by saying "he'll grow out of it" and that was it. Is my Mil's behaviour acceptable, is this just an older generation thing? Am I being pfb and should I just swallow my irritation, or is her behaviour annoying or totally OTT? How would you handle this situation?

Penguin13 Thu 19-May-16 21:11:21

That would have driven me absolutely crackers. Definitely not a normal level of concern IMHO and you sound like you are a lovely mum and know exactly what you are doing without any 'help'.

Penguin13 Thu 19-May-16 21:14:07

Sorry my post was not very helpful on the what to do front. I'm horrible at confronting people so not the ideal person to advise I suspect. One tactic could be to say things like 'his doctor has absolutely no concerns about his wellbeing'. Defer to the professional opinion iyswim. Tough situation though.

MummaGiles Thu 19-May-16 21:16:41

That would have really wound me up. Her behaviour would do nothing to help your DS, in fact it would probably only serve to make him more anxious about new food. You have exactly the right attitude, being relaxed about it. As a reformed fussy eater myself (into my early 20s) your MIL's attitude really angers me.

kiki22 Fri 20-May-16 10:04:03

I think she is obviously worried because she wants him to be 'a big healthy boy' my gran takes great delight in DS eating everything I think it stems from the era of losing babies and children by failure to thrive seeing a baby with a healthy appetite was the most comforting thing for a mother it's took a good few generations for that fear to leave us.

That being said she was ott I would try to find an opportunity to talk to her tell her you noticed she was worried and wanted to put her mind at ease, talk her through the reasons not to worry weight age etc tell her what the consultant said and that he is absolutely fine, also that they say forcing it is worse for them. Hopefully she will be able to not worry so much and relax with it.

Thataintnoetchasketch Fri 20-May-16 17:06:19

My gran is a nightmare when it comes to DS & food and he's not even eating yet! He's EBF, feeds well & is on 91st percentile for weight & height. He has 6 weeks to go til he's 6 months. She thinks because he's a big boy I should have weaned him months ago, she thinks the reason why he doesn't sleep through the night is because I don't feed him. He sits with us at the table for meal times & she'll tell him "your mum is being bad to you not feeding you", she thinks I should give him a crust to chew when he's teething & she thinks bottle feeding expressed milk would be better because then I'll know what he's getting. The only thing that has helped is my parents having a firm word with her to say I'm the parent & what I say goes. It's got better but she still likes to get a little dig in when she can.

scrumptiouscrumpets Fri 20-May-16 17:48:51

Those were my thoughts too - that it's a fear that's typical of the older generation. The thing is, I have told her many times that the consultant said he was fine (we've been consultant lead since his birth because he was premature) and not to worry, but it's useless. She thinks she knows best! I would have to be quite harsh with her to make her understand we don't want her to comment and interfere, and I just don't know if it's worth it. She would be very hurt and worry anyway, but keep it all to herself and it would put a strain on our relationship which isn't that good anyway.

Thataintno - wow, that must have been really hard for you with your gran. It's great that your parents were able to help you out. I can't ask DP to talk to his mum because they have a pretty bad relationship and she doesn't listen to him anyway.

kiki22 Fri 20-May-16 18:02:45

In that case the only thing you can do is keep telling her the facts and keep telling yourself she means well. Put your foot down as nicely as you can maybe compromise on put the food on his plate but no feeding him. I understand how you feel mil my mum and my gran all like to tell me how it's done I try to just let it wash over me, I would not stand for force feeding though no matter who's feelings it hurt.

I'm pretty sure mil could sense my fear of upsetting her at first I would go round the houses getting my point out after 2 years I thought know what I'm part of this family now so they just need to live with it lol.

Thataintnoetchasketch Sat 21-May-16 00:11:57

So are you okay with ignoring her comments, knowing that you & DH are doing the right thing. I'm sure she thinks she's well meaning. All you can do is keep reinforcing that the consultant is happy and you don't want to put DS off trying new things by forcing the issue. Firm & consistent seems to work with my gran.

Now I just call her out on the ridiculous stuff - like telling me to rub butter on DS chest yesterday for his cold & scoffing at me when I said he couldn't have honey or Vicks yet. The big issue for me is going to be once he is actually eating - she's hinted at sneaking him food already & I'm worried once we're weaning him she'll take that as a sign she has full rein to do as she pleases. I've had to be quite blunt & said if I catch her feeding him before I say then I'll just stop bringing him to see her because it was getting to be she wouldn't let the subject go. I feel so harsh but she's relentless!

kiki22 Sat 21-May-16 09:39:33

It gets easier when they are older. Once ds was about 2.5 I kind of went with what happens at grannys stays at grannys, hes learned really quickly that there are different rules for different places. Yesterday he told me its great at nannas he only needs to shut the blinds at night to get pocket money at home he has to work so hard for it lol.

Thataintnoetchasketch Sat 21-May-16 11:18:35

Haha! Ilove that! Definitely once he's old enough granny will have free rein but at the moment he's not quite 5 months & my gran seems determined to make her point that he should be weaned already.

scrumptiouscrumpets Sat 21-May-16 20:20:52

You're right, I'll probably just have to continue saying the same thing over and over again. I could just repeat the exact same sentence in reply to what she says - after all, she always says the same things over and over again, too grin it's just a shame that her attitude really winds me up and being around her has become such a strain. I will have to be very careful not to build up a lot of resentment, I find it difficult to ignore her comments. I really admire your laid-back attitude.
I assume DS will grow out of his fussy eating so yes, it probably will get better over time - hopefully, because this thread has made me realise I don't have any options apart from living with her comments!

kiki22 Sat 21-May-16 22:14:12

Deffinetly just keep saying the same thing over followed by you know that 'he will grow out of it you know that" "he doesn't like carrots you know that". I personally can't be bothered with the agro of getting into things because I know I wont change their minds and neither will I but you do have a choice if it's unbearable you can tell her so you don't have to go all mn on her threatening no contact but you can say you know it's really upsetting me that your ignoring what I'm telling you I'm doing my best I need you to be behind me on it.

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