The Cloth Diaper Blog Presents - The Mother-In-Law Diaries

Posted by Stacey on 11/4/2012 to Mom Madness

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!

Comments

Date 11/4/2012
Cheerful Homemaker
My mother recently told me that for the six months I nursed my son that I was starving him. She said that when they came to visit 2 weeks after he was born she really wanted to give him a bottle because he was so hungry. WHO SAYS THESE THINGS??? Needless to say I let her know how seriously inappropriate it was for her to say those things to me. He was NOT starving, he was a newborn. They have tiny tummies! They eat often! We recently went to visit (stayed elsewhere!) and she kept trying t
Date 11/5/2012
Jenn
My mil would never cross that line and i respect her imput as a mom of 8 normal children but she has made it clear that bf-ing makes her uncomfortable. I thInk formula was the dr recommended feeding refining of her era. I still nurse at 8 months and in my house I bf when and wherever I please ( though I cover when others are around) and in a separate room at her house. I am lucky to have inlaws who are great though we don't slways agree
Date 11/5/2012
Jenn
My mil would never cross that line and i respect her imput as a mom of 8 normal children but she has made it clear that bf-ing makes her uncomfortable. I thInk formula was the dr recommended feeding refining of her era. I still nurse at 8 months and in my house I bf when and wherever I please ( though I cover when others are around) and in a separate room at her house. I am lucky to have inlaws who are great though we don't slways agree
Date 11/5/2012
Suzi Satterfield
I have a great relationship with my MIL. She crossed the line once, and only once. I told her on no uncertain terms that if my son woke me up in the middle of the night because of her putting him to sleep so early, I would be calling her house and waking her up with me. I was angry and she knew it. She's never done it since.
Date 11/5/2012
Kristen
Oh man I fear the day I have my first child with my MIL. She looked at me like I was crazy when I started my preconception cloth diaper stash! And when I told her I wanted a home water birth she almost lost it. I'm keeping the placenta encapsulation to myself. But oddly enough, BFing is soooooo common with my family and my in-laws that its looked on strangely if you formula feed! I was breast fed til I was 18 months while my mom was pregnant with my sister. My husband was as well and so were our
Date 11/5/2012
Jenn
My mil would never cross that line and i respect her imput as a mom of 8 normal children but she has made it clear that bf-ing makes her uncomfortable. I thInk formula was the dr recommended feeding refining of her era. I still nurse at 8 months and in my house I bf when and wherever I please ( though I cover when others are around) and in a separate room at her house. I am lucky to have inlaws who are great though we don't slways agree
Date 11/5/2012
Jennie
I only wish I had the courage to send my MIL to a local hotel when she visited about 4 years ago. I completely relate. I took my daughter to visit family when she was 3 months old. My husband actually decided that she was not to be left alone with his mother because he was certain she would 1) feed her formula and 2) make it milk based. His family had no understanding of allergies and at the time my MIL was the type to feed her things because I must be wrong.
Date 11/5/2012
Jenn
My husband is an only child and I have a MIL very similar to yours and have had situations like yours arise. Except my MIL lives only about a half hour away. I'm glad I'm not alone cuz often I feel like I am! Thanks for sharing :)
Date 11/5/2012
Shawna
I love this.. My mil asked me when I was going to start feeding my daughter formula at maybe 6 weeks. I looked at her oddly and said, "never." She asked me several different times until I finally informed her that I was not ever planning on using formula. This is the same lady who was asking when could we give her, my daughter, juice and cake. Thankfully, she gets it now and then became one of our defenders in our choices. I now have twin boys and exclusively breast feed them, and cloth diaper t
Date 11/5/2012
Katie
While my problems with my Father in law didn't have anything to do with BF'ing, your story could be him to a tee. Hates everything we do that he didn't do, even though he really didn't do anything, it was my MIL who did. He objects to car seats, bike helmets, the fact that we won't let him babysit after he has downed half a bottle of Jameson, the fact that the kids also see my parents, the fact that we talk to his wife's sisters, the fact that I don't let my kids just on the furniture, you nam
Date 11/5/2012
Milka Diaz-Reyes
Wow, I'm really lucky, my MIL is a doll. She doesn't meddle at all and is just happy she's a grandma. Now my Mom that's another story. She doesn't criticize per se it's more like a "I did it differently when you were little" Well Mom it's been over 30 yrs, of course you did it differently. As for BF and CD she thinks that BF is something you do for the 1st 3 months and then you can feed the baby anything because they don't need breast milk anymore. And that CD is expensive and a hassle, which is
Date 11/5/2012
Jamie M.
After reading this I realize how lucky I am when it comes to breatfeeding at least. Both my mother and MIL breast fed so that was no big deal. There are other things but I'm not going to get into that now. Lol! :-)
Date 11/5/2012
Stephanie
My MIL has remained passive aggressive without actually doing anything against my wishes. But there are little comments that make it seem like we're raising a perfectly fine child despite our crazy parenting choices. And my husband feels these vibes from his mom, too, it's not just me having MIL issues. She says things like, "Well, when M was a baby, we did it like this," as if there's a huge generational difference between us. We're the same age, so our childhoods were pretty much the same. For
Date 11/5/2012
Monique Hormachea
Reading this and seeing comments helps me not feel alone. My MIL before I even gave birth was all ready crossing the line in many ways. I tried to be christian and not say anything at first but later slipped up. She started with 3 months in telling me not to cloth diaper which I am. Then told me for a few months that it is not fair to BF to others or her son. That was before birth and it carried on after birth for a couple months. Then my baby had acid reflux and she tried to tel me my baby need
Date 11/5/2012
Julie
If it weren't for your MIL's occupation, I'd swear you were my husband's secret other wife.lol Good for you for standing up for yourself and your baby. I wish I'd been smart enough to do that when I had my first. I've given birth to twice the number of babies MIL has and she's still pushing the same sorry advice almost 2 decades later. I really really really want to move back out of state.
Date 11/5/2012
Stephanie Suastez
My MIL is the sweetest lady ever, thank the Lord, but she speaks only Spanish and I, only English. I will probably never know all the ways in which she "crossed the line". The worst for me has been trying to make her understand how important it is to cut grapes in half, put cleaners out of reach, and get rid of poisonous plants. She and my SIL think I'm uptight, which is probably true! But I can't help it. :) They think its great that I breastfeed, but funny that my boys want to keep breast
Date 11/5/2012
elizabeth dickson
my MIL isn't ready to be a grandmother to boys.....only girls..I have 3 boys, believe it or not and she only talks about her 2 granddaughters, sends gifts to them. We have never received anything, not even a happy birthday email, phone call....nothing. but if she were to make any comment, she has no where to talk and i would instantly correct her. I cant complain though, i dont talk to her nor seen her in 3 years!
Date 11/5/2012
Monique Hormachea
Reading this blog and seeing comments helps me not feel alone. Wow my MIL before I even gave birth was all eeady crossing the line in mant ways. I tried to be christian and not say anything at first but later slipped up. She started with 3 minths in telling me not to cloth diaper which I am. Then told me for a few months that it is not fair to BF to others or her son. That was before birth and it carried on after birth for a couple months. Then my baby had acid reflux and she tried to tel me my
Date 11/5/2012
Monique Hormachea
Reading this and seeing comments helps me not feel alone. My MIL before I even gave birth was all ready crossing the line in many ways. I tried to be christian and not say anything at first but later slipped up. She started with 3 months in telling me not to cloth diaper which I am. Then told me for a few months that it is not fair to BF to others or her son. That was before birth and it carried on after birth for a couple months. Then my baby had acid reflux and she tried to tel me my baby need
Date 11/5/2012
Ed
My MIL crossed the line multiple times, though the first was the worst. We had just moved across the country when my first was 2 months old, and my kid decided to go on a nursing strike. I was a stress-out first time mom, with none of my normal support base available. I was forbidden to co-sleep with my kid, because it made MIL uncomfortable (since we were in her home, I went with it), and eventually forbidden from even attempting to nurse! My kids are small, but while it was slow, there was
Date 11/5/2012
Jeni
Wow, am I lucky ...my mom BF me for over a year, so no judgement there. My MIL bottle fed both of her preemie sons (at the tme, BF was considered impossible in such a sitution) but she doesn't criticize me, even though I nursed my first daughter for 16 months. Sometimes she asks questions (does using a breast pump hurt? etc) that I answer honestly and secretly think are cute that she cares enough to curious.
Date 11/5/2012
Milka Diaz-Reyes
CONTINUED from previous post... which is neither. Thankfully she abides by my wishes and would never cross the line. She may not agree but she respects it.
Date 11/6/2012
Jaime
These articles are great.....i can relate to the MIL; that is having one like her.
Date 11/6/2012
Sierra
OH MY! If someone formula fed my baby I would have issues talking with that person EVER again. That is a big line that was crossed, I couldn't even imagine. Thankfully my MIL never forgave her MIL for convincing her to formula feed my SIL. So never had issues there. She thought cloth was a little strange but never really gave an opinion and thinks they are fine now. The biggest issue my In Law's had was us not Circ-ing (mostly FIL actually), but even that my SIL heard about it the most, follow

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