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Mother in law power struggle

(174 Posts)
Jellyboobs Mon 28-Jul-14 08:54:24

My best friend has moved to France with her family. They're 5 minutes away from her mil and are staying with her until their house is sorted, and will obviously be visiting with the kids fairly often. Only thing is, the mil has said she won't have my friend breastfeed her son in the common areas of the house and has said she must go into a bedroom or (I quote) the laundry room to feed him.
He's 3 months old, underweight and has had problems bf due to lactose intolerance and she just wants to be able to feed him when he needs it.
Her dp has spoken to his mum too, but the result is the same "My house, my rules"

Any advice here?

pictish Mon 28-Jul-14 08:57:05

I wonder what the mils reasoning is?
Seems an odd request doesn't it?

ilovepowerhoop Mon 28-Jul-14 09:02:57

I'd move into a hotel tbh and tell the MIL to fuck off

Castlemilk Mon 28-Jul-14 09:03:35

Well if I were her son, I would answer 'Right then, we will be moving to a hotel, and when we are in the new house, you won't be welcome in it - it'll be our house our rules, and we won't want to have a relationship with anyone who can treat our family and their own grandchildren with such nasty disrespect.'

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 28-Jul-14 09:05:07

I'd ignore the silly woman. Or to use the vernacular... 'Non!' I know that some people still find the idea of breastfeeding in public offensive and maybe there are cultural differences in France but, if she's one of those people, maybe she should disappear to a bedroom until it's over?

kentishgirl Mon 28-Jul-14 09:09:47

I disagree.

While I don't agree with her attitude, it is her house, her rules. Having to walk for 30 seconds to another room doesn't stop your friend from breastfeeding, she is being a little bit precious saying it's stopping her feeding on demand. If she were on the loo or in the shower or in the middle of something, it would take her a minute or two to get somewhere comfortable to feed. On demand doesn't mean right this very second regardless of where you are. The baby can wait a few minutes.

CalamityKate1 Mon 28-Jul-14 09:16:26

Yeah what Kentishgirl said. Of course the MIL is bonkers but she hasn't said no BFing at all. How can walking into another room take that much time?!

Hoppinggreen Mon 28-Jul-14 09:20:23

I agree with the 2 posters above. Of course it's unreasonable and ridiculous but I wouldn't imagine it's that much of an inconvenience.
It's mil's house so her decision what goes on, just as it will be their decision when they are in their own house.

pictish Mon 28-Jul-14 09:25:21

It seems that for whatever reason, the mil doesn't want to watch bfing.

I have to say that when I had ds1 we were living with in laws owing to a similar situation...we were doing the house we'd bought, up.

I didn't bf in front of them. I did it in our room. I felt more comfortable that way...I think we all did.
Mind you - I have big boobs and I never got the hang of bfing discreetly. I was never one of those women that can feed their baby on the bus without anyone noticing.

I think overall it is not such a big request from your friend's mil, but I'm sure there will be scores of others along to tell you otherwise.

flipchart Mon 28-Jul-14 09:26:25

I agree with Kentish, Hopping and Calamity.

Why not respect another person's point of view? It is her house, she is putting you up and helping you out.
Some people, for whatever reason ARE uncomfortable about bf in view. It could be cultural, personal or the way they were brought up with their own family.

MIL is not asking you to go to the loo and feed, the bedroom will be comfortable. Why are your feelings, as a guest in her home more important than hers.
Quite frankly it sounds like you are looking for a battle where there is none to be had.

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 28-Jul-14 09:26:38

It's the principle of the thing though, isn't it? You could understand 'my house, my rules' if it was something very offensive like smoking or even a courtesy thing like taking shoes off to protect. But feeding a very small baby in comfort maybe sitting on the sofa watching TV or whatever is a silly thing to get wound up over.

Hakluyt Mon 28-Jul-14 09:28:34

Mil is clearly being unreasonable on this issue. But some people are funny about things like that.

Going to another room isn't going to prevent breast feeding. And it seems a small price to pay for free accommodation.

pictish Mon 28-Jul-14 09:29:10

Of course it is...but is it worth conflict?
That's debatable.

HumblePieMonster Mon 28-Jul-14 09:36:28

Going to another room for all your breastfeeding is impractical. Babies need unlimited access to the breast.

The mother in law can make her own rules.

Mother, father and baby to find their own accommodation. Its only reasonable.

Lonecatwithkitten Mon 28-Jul-14 09:43:16

There is a very different attitude to breast feeding in France, particularly in the baby boomer generation.
The MIL is not preventing breast feeding just asking that she go to another room.

Hakluyt Mon 28-Jul-14 09:43:33

"Going to another room for all your breastfeeding is impractical. Babies need unlimited access to the breast."

No it isn't. Loads of people choose to do it because they prefer it. I always used to at my PIL because my much loved FIL would never have said a word, but always left the room himself because it made him feel uncomfortable. Once I realized I went somewhere else myself- why should he be driven out of his own sitting room!

Bruins Mon 28-Jul-14 09:44:52

Your MIL is obviously a straight talking woman, which is preferable to her saying nothing and then making you uncomfortable.
Some people are embarrassed by breastfeeding, no big deal.

Picklepest Mon 28-Jul-14 09:47:00

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

pictish Mon 28-Jul-14 09:48:36

To be fair humble that's a wee bit melodramtic.
I lived with in laws while bfing, and it wasn't impractical to go to another room. It was easy.
Ds1 didn't suffer for being taken either.

aderynlas Mon 28-Jul-14 09:49:41

Well to be fair , mil is having the whole family to stay with her. If this is the only thing she is having a problem with then surely you can resolve it. If you are going to be living so close to eachother is it worth a huge falling out before you even move into your new home. I know its not always easy but could you use a shawl when feeding your baby. Unless mil checked she wouldnt know if you were feeding or just having a cuddle.

CommonBurdock Mon 28-Jul-14 09:50:06

I'd tell the mil to fuck off (tres gentilement) as well. Doesn't bode well for future grandparenting if she's this pedantic already. It's a baby feeding FFS.

Madamecastafiore Mon 28-Jul-14 09:52:54

Babies need unlimited access to the breast!

What's that got to do with the price of fish. No ones stopping access just requesting it be given in another room.

I think the request is probably an age and culture thing and isn't at all unreasonable. (although saw 3 men wanking in their cars parked on the street last time visited ILs in Paris and no one batted an eyelid, v v bizarre nation!)

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 28-Jul-14 09:56:48

I think it's significant that the baby is very young and very small. My own DS had gastric problems early in his life and I remember the frequency of breastfeeding almost turned it into a 24/7 operation.... no nice big spaces between feeds.

holeinmyheart Mon 28-Jul-14 09:58:08

This MIL is allowing the OP into her house for what may be an indetermined amount of time. ( we all know what builders are like) the MIL is being very generous. I think she is foolish saying anything to her DIL about anything as she will want an ongoing relationship with her. It is already a difficult relationship with both women loving the same man. The post will be fraught if the baby is difficult and the MIL will be fraught having the prospect of her space invaded. I have some understanding having just come back from Spain sharing a villa with DIlL's, SIL's. To maintain difficult relationships everyone must look for the positives. Yes the MIL is being ridiculous but she is saving the OP thousands of pounds in Hotel charges. So I am afraid my advice is ces't La Vie, it's the old struggle between MIL and DIL. Look for the positives and head for the bedroom with your boobs. It is probably quieter there anyway. Babies can be distracted by too much noise whilst bf anyway. This MIL will be around for a long time, if you are going to take offense easily we shall see you again soon on MN. Your relationship with your MIL can affect your marriage. If your baby is a boy Op then you will be a MIL to a DIL one day. Believe me it is not easy!

magpiegin Mon 28-Jul-14 10:02:34

Although it is inconvenient that the MIL won't allow bf in communal areas it is her house. Either the DIL agrees to bf in the bedroom or they choose to pay for a hotel.

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