I need perspective: Is she being a baby hog or am I being an irrational mama bear? — The Bump
February 2014 Moms

I need perspective: Is she being a baby hog or am I being an irrational mama bear?

I'm having some issues with MIL and I am unsure whether my concerns are valid or if I am being a crazy/irrational new mom. MIL visited us a week ago to see LO. She currently lives five states away- 16 hours by car and 2 hours by plane, but we will be moving closer to her and to my family in three months. Anyway, when she visited last week, I was initially very happy to turn over LO. I was exhausted and she provided much needed relief from a colicky baby. However, after a couple of days, I noticed that she never let LO down. She held him constantly. Numerous times, I asked to feed him (he eats pumped breast milk mainly due to latch issues) or to change his diapers or just to hold him and she responded. "No, I've got him." I felt like an outsider in my LO's life. She planted herself on our couch holding LO, with DH and FIL on either side of her, and I sat in a chair several feet away. I felt totally shut out. She also made a couple of comments about how she was glad LO was having nursing problems because it meant she could bottle feed him. These comments stung. Specifically, she said "I think it's a good thing he is preferring the bottle. He wants his grandma to feed him." and "I think he fusses so much because you keep trying to nurse him. " (I continue to attempt to get LO to latch or to breast feed LO with the nipple shield a couple of times a day.)

Since her visit she has planned two more visits because "she just can't be away from LO."

 

Now, to be fair, this is her first grandchild and she is excited and I initially told her she was welcome anytime.. Also, perhaps the comments regarding nursing were just an attempt to make me feel better because I've been so upset that LO won't latch. And I can see how it is unfair of me to hand over LO when I am tired, but to then expect to get him back when I am rested.

Anybody else go through this? How did you handle it?

 

 

Re: I need perspective: Is she being a baby hog or am I being an irrational mama bear?

  • Wtf? If you ask for your baby back, "no" is not an acceptable part of any response she could give you. Give your baby back. I would strongly advise you hold off on another visit. It's your baby and you have every right to this critical bonding time.


    Yeah. Maybe I need to grow a pair and nix the visits- I just feel bad because (1) I initially told MIL "you can come anytime" so I would kind of be going back on my word and (2) my mom stayed for the first two weeks after I gave birth so I feel like I am being unfair in not giving the grandmothers equal time at our house with the baby. However, my mom basically stayed to cook, clean and help out around the house and only took the baby when I needed a rest

     

  • To be honest my mom behaves the same way. I think the intentions are not bad and it's just silly grandma like behavior. I turn a deaf ear to stuff she says to me that annoy me and just let them slide most of the time. However, if I say give me the baby it's not a choice that she can excercise but something she needs to do right away. That is one thing I have made very clear and you need to do the same. You are the mother so you get to decide when you have the baby and how the baby is fed. Rest I just ignore as long as it does not come in your way of doing what you need to do for the LO.



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  • The holding thing would bug me but I would probably not ask... I would just take my baby. Period.

    The BF comments, I kind of sympathize. My mom is my hero but she made similar comments with my first. It took me a while to realize that it wasn't that she disapproved of BF, it was that she had no personal experience and probably some regrets in not having BF us. It doesn't matter how big they get, a mother will always worry if she did the best for her child. After she became more familiar and comfortable with BF itself, she became a lot more supportive. Again, I would not ask to feed my own child, I would just say "it's time for LO to eat" and pick him up.

    Now, I'm all for setting boundaries with family, and you are the mama so you should make the rules in your own house. but it also sounds like there is a relationship worth preserving here. So I wouldn't take back permission for her to visit. But I do think you should assert yourself more from the get go when she comes again.

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    [Deleted User]
  • jpoindahousejpoindahouse member
    edited March 2014
     
    psk said:
    The holding part would get to me eventually, but the comments she is making about your breastfeeding would bother me even more! It is such a challenge, I wish she supported you instead of discouraged you. Sorry she is saying that [email protected] to you. I wouldn't get caught up on both grandmas needing to get equal time, you have a different relationship with your mom, it is only natural that you would want her around more.
     
     
    Yeah there was a part of me that HATED that she was feeding my child with my milk and I was going into the other room to pump more milk so she could feed my child- and the comments just added insult to injury. I almost felt like she wanted to nurse my baby. I know, that is a crazy thought... It was just this very primitive feeling of, "damnit, I want to nurse my baby and give my baby my milk...hands off, woman. LOL"
  • jpoindahousejpoindahouse member
    edited March 2014
    I'm not sure about you but I am generally a non confrontational person. I would try to correct the situation without ending up with any hard feelings. Still allow her to visit maybe, but take others advice and don't ask to feed or hold LO just take your baby! It's time to eat means it's time to eat and you are mama. End of story. I would try to set boundaries especially if you are moving closer, but in a non aggressive way if that makes sense... My MIL is a baby hog too, but I'll just scoop up baby and leave the room to feed him... Even in that first week when I was Pumping and he was bottle feeding... She offered to feed him and I said no thanks I got it. Took him and that was that...
    Yeah...I think that this is how to handle it. I also HATE confrontation and I play all sides of a situation over and over in my head, trying to see everybody's perspective until I drive myself mad. It's nice to know that you took him to eat even when you were not breastfeeding. I guess I felt like I had no "right" to take him since he was eating from a bottle, so it wasn't "necessary" that I feed him. But you guys are correct, this is MY baby and I don't need a justification to hold him or feed him
  • emm57emm57 member
    edited March 2014
    I guess I see this a little differently. The breastfeeding comments would really hurt and I would have my DH talk to her about those. No one should say stuff like that to a mother who is trying and needs support.

    As for the holding LO and saying "No, I've got him" wouldn't really bother me as long as the intentions behind it are good. Is she doing that because she feels like she is offering you a break while she's there and that's her way of being helpful?

    My MIL will often do/say this because that is her way of helping and getting her baby fix because she doesn't see LO all the time. With DS1 at first I was very mama bear and HAD to do everything for LO no matter how tired I was and wanted a break. But once I took a step back and realized her intentions were to help and when she was gone I wouldn't get a break when it was just me, I embraced it. I realized I will be feeding him, changing diapers, putting him down for naps, etc for the next year plus and those breaks started to become welcomed. Plus MIL and LO were forming their own relationship.

    So I guess you need to ask yourself what do you think her intentions are? Are they to help and give you a break? Also if you said something like "thanks, but I really want to xyz LO so i'll take him" would she had him over or continue to refuse to hand him over? I think if you step back and look at the situation you will be able to answer if MIL is a baby hog or just trying to help. You know her best. I do think you need to set boundaries with what you are comfortable with and even let her know what she could do to help and support you the best.


    dunvilles
  • emm57 said:
    I guess I see this a little differently. The breastfeeding comments would really hurt and I would have my DH talk to her about those. No one should say stuff like that to a mother who is trying and needs support. As for the holding LO and saying "No, I've got him" wouldn't really bother me as long as the intentions behind it are good. Is she doing that because she feels like she is offering you a break while she's there and that's her way of being helpful? My MIL will often do/say this because that is her way of helping and getting her baby fix because she doesn't see LO all the time. With DS1 at first I was very mama bear and HAD to do everything for LO no matter how tired I was and wanted a break. But once I took a step back and realized her intentions were to help and when she was gone I wouldn't get a break when it was just me, I embraced it. I realized I will be feeding him, changing diapers, putting him down for naps, etc for the next year plus and those breaks started to become welcomed. Plus MIL and LO were forming their own relationship. So I guess you need to ask yourself what do you think her intentions are? Are they to help and give you a break? Also if you said something like "thanks, but I really want to xyz LO so i'll take him" would she had him over or continue to refuse to hand him over? I think if you step back and look at the situation you will be able to answer if MIL is a baby hog or just trying to help. You know her best. I do think you need to set boundaries with what you are comfortable with and even let her know what she could do to help and support you the best.

    I can see this- especially since I was initially exhausted and I let her take the baby to relieve me. Perhaps I would be better saying "I want to feed/hold/whatever my son now" instead of "I can feed/hold/whatever my son now." Or, as others suggested...just take him and saying "i'm going to..."

     

    I do think part of her thinks she is just helping, but I think that another part of her is trying to exert control over the child. She is a pretty controlling person (wedding planning was a nightmare).

  • Soap1Soap1 member
    Aw, I feel so bad for you . That's terrible!  First of all, I don't think your MIL is trying to be awful.  It honestly sounds like she has no idea.

    Which is why I totally agree with PPs that you need to just take the baby and be firm.  The last thing you want is to just resent her silently, as that can just ruin your relationship with her.  Don't feel scared to tell her what you need or want!

    I was a lot less comfortable being firm and vocal about what I needed with #1, but now on #3 I just tell everyone how to be helpful, and most of them really appreciate the guidance!
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  • It sounds like she's a bit of a baby hog, and the whole BFing/Pumping situation is making the situation awkward since she "can" feed him she's taking it to mean she is entitled to do so when she wants.

    Her comments about BFing were totally out of line, although probably not intentionally meant to be hurtful. TBH she sounds pretty self-absorbed in that she's very focused on what she wants, and not thinking about the brand new Mom who also wants to hold/feed/care for her new baby.  Perhaps a heart-to-heart either from H or you about her behavior/words? You know her best, some people that wouldn't help and some would find it helpful.

    I have a very rocky relationship with my MIL, who is also a bit controlling and pushy. She also has this annoying tendency to "forget" things we've talked about - I don't know if she's genuinely that forgetful or is playing dumb to get her way but either way it's very frustrating. I know she generally means well, but she has no sense of boundaries and really does better if I'm direct with her about what is/is not ok. If I am vague/non-committal she takes that to mean whatever she wants to happen.

    I wouldn't tell her she's not welcome to visit, but you'll probably have to be a lot more direct and firm with her. Not "can I have my baby" but "I'll take him now" so it's not a question but a statement.


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  • Wow.  Not okay!!  I'd definitely be more firm with her.  "It's time for him to eat."  Then step up to her and start taking the baby from her.  Don't ASK, it's your baby.  You are the one who should be doing the telling, she's the one who should be asking.

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  • Soap1 said:
    Aw, I feel so bad for you . That's terrible!  First of all, I don't think your MIL is trying to be awful.  It honestly sounds like she has no idea.

    Which is why I totally agree with PPs that you need to just take the baby and be firm.  The last thing you want is to just resent her silently, as that can just ruin your relationship with her.  Don't feel scared to tell her what you need or want!

    I was a lot less comfortable being firm and vocal about what I needed with #1, but now on #3 I just tell everyone how to be helpful, and most of them really appreciate the guidance!
    I agree with this about resenting her silently. I need to find a diplomatic way to set some boundaries because otherwise this is going to blow up and feelings may be hurt/relationships damaged unnecessarily. I need to remind myself that the goal is to enourage a healthy, appropriate grandson/grandmother relationship and discourage an inappropriate grandson/"second mother" type relationship.
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