I've been stressing this whole pregnancy about how I'm going to handle my MIL, who lives in the same city, and her ideas on baby-care. She's a VERY strong willed woman, who has been through a lot in her life. She was shushed by her father, and shushed by her husband, and any disagreement with her now she takes as someone telling her to shush, so she responds either by screaming loudly over the person trying to talk to her, or she doesn't, and then does what she wants anyway. She is also a nurse and she thinks she knows everything and there is no telling her otherwise. I've been prodding DH to talk to her about certain important things for when she's watching baby, before the baby is born. The baby will be intact, as is DH, and she keeps talking about the importance of retraction for hygiene. She thinks babies who have trouble sleeping should be placed on their stomachs because they fall asleep more easily that way (which I'm told is true, but...). She's a cry-it-out type of person, and thinks baby-wearing spoils babies.
I'm sure there is more, but these are things I've been able to glean from roundabout conversations with her. DH and I are both dreading having to ask her to respect our parenting wishes, but I just discovered a class near us called "Grandparents today." The class is taught by one of several very educated, knowledgeable women of MIL's generation, who explain how times have changed and current trends in parenting are different. It's from a parenting center that's not 100% crunchy, but definitely is crunchier than mainstream, and I've talked with some of the women teaching the class, who are pretty crunchy. And it's all couched in celebrating grandparents. So DH and I are getting it for MIL as a "gift" for being so helpful during the pregnancy. We know it won't solve all our problems (by far), but are so glad that there is a method to get the conversation started that doesn't have to be my DH telling his mother what's up. He's younger, he's her son, and he's a man, and we were worried that she would become immediately defensive. We're hoping that if someone teaches her, and she can then "teach" us, it will all go over much better.
So, YAY! I just wanted to express my glee to several sympathetic women who do not know my MIL.