Breastfeeding wars with the MIL.
My mother-in-law and I have a very special relationship that involves colossal amounts of passive aggression (on her end) and patience (on my end). My husband is an only child from rural NY and I come from a huge family of eccentric French-Cajuns from New Orleans. You do the math.
When you have your first baby, no matter how prepared you are, you truly enter a new world of emotion. In addition to the unequivical love and adoration there is a collossal amount of fear and insecurity. I was so ready to breastfeed my oldest son but had no idea how hard it would be. It was awkard to say the least. Nathan had a little tucked lower lip with an adorable dimpled chin. He was NEVER really good at breastfeeding. This made it very important that I didn't rock the boat during those crucial first few weeks. I weighed Nathan every other day and I was a stickler about pacifiers and bottles. I felt like I was barely succeeding at breastfeeding. Just barely.
My MIL came to visit when Nathan was 3 weeks old and I was in pretty rough shape, both physically and mentally. I had stitches galore, a baby who needed to nurse every 1.5 to 2 hours and breastfeeding was still a struggle. I was about as insecure about motherhood as they come.
Breastfeeding, in her mind, fell into her long list of things that hippies do. Battle axe nurses like her enjoy the regimen of charting things, dosing medicine, counting bowel movements...breastfeeding was not something that could be measured. If Nathan made a peep she insisted that he must be starving. If he spit up at all, it was because he must be allergic to milk and needed soy formula. He was too cold, too warm, needed sugar water, needed to be slathered with petroleum jelly. After just a few days, I started to feel more secure about my own instincts and felt a confrontation coming on. Oh, was I right.
I decided to make a quick trip to the grocery one morning. Since my MIL was there, it didn't make sense to take the baby out in the cold so I nursed him and left him at home with her. The grocery was 5 minutes away and I had planned to be gone for about 45 minutes. I was only gone for 30 minutes and when I returned, I found an empty sample bottle of formula on my kitchen counter. She had officially waged war. The formula came from the hospital gift diaper bag and she must have known where to look for it. If she tried to explain herself, I didn't hear her - later my husband said that she told him that the baby was starving. I didn't hear that because went totally ballistic and kicked her out of my house immediately. I called my husband and told him that I had sent his mother to the Hampton Inn.
All of my insecurity and fear was gone and in that moment and I had finally got my mom mojo. I knew that my baby was healthy and that I was doing the best thing for him. From that day on, no one ever made me second guess the decisions I made as a mother. It wasn't that I had a problem with formula, in fact, I ended up supplementing down the road. The problem was that she crossed the line and made a decision that wasn't hers to make.
To this day, my MIL doesn't stay with us when she visits. She stays at the same Hampton Inn that I sent her to 7 years ago. I never apologized and neither did she, but I would like to think that we have a mutual understanding now. She'll make comments here and there but she will never cross me again. Every time I question myself about the kids, I remember that I am their mother and that I will ultimately do what is best for them. I should actually thank my MIL one day because standing up to her made me a more confident mother.
Next week on Mother-in-Law Diaries:
Grandma sent the kids a Halloween care package: Kool Aid packets, Little Debbie snacks and candy cigarettes! Does she think my kids are in prison or something? Where on earth can you still buy candy cigarettes? Only my MIL would know!