Pressure to formula feed - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 5 Old 08-28-2014, 05:59 AM - Thread Starter
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Question Pressure to formula feed

Does anyone else have family members that try to force weaning or even convince you not to bother starting breastfeeding in the first place? When I was pregnant with DS MIL offered to buy me my bottles and was mortified with I said I refused to have bottles in the house. When DS was born, she used to tell me to quit breastfeeding all the time - 'happy mum, happy baby' - I never said I was unhappy breastfeeding... When that didn't work, she told DH to tell me to quit breastfeeding.
I'm currently 39 weeks pregnant with baby number 2 and MIL has been hinting that when baby arrives she can 'finally' take DS (25 months) for the night from us. Well no she can't because we still co-sleep and breastfeed. Expressing is not an option - I actually tried it when I returned to work after DS was born and he's always refused to take milk that isn't straight from the tap! She is assuming that DS will no longer be breastfed once baby arrives, which is not true, I have no intention of ousting him in favour of another child so obviously.
I understand she loves DS, I understand that very few people in my little pocket of Northern England attachment parent, I understand all her friends have been taking their grandchildren overnight since they were babies - I get it, I know she just wants to do what all her other grandma friends get to do. I know she assumed this would happen for her when DS was born and I understand the upset she must be feeling especially when her friends assume she's doing 'normal' grandma stuff - 'So and so was asking if I'd been on grandma duty and I had to say no because I can't breastfeed!' (Said with a sad face too).
MIL only breastfed DH for a week before going on holiday for a week and leaving DH with her mum for the whole time. She never even attempted to breastfeed her second baby because she 'couldn't be bothered'. She always talks about how easy formula feeding was, saying 'you find shortcuts with your second one' - ie. not sterilising bottles in between uses! She says BIL was perfectly healthy despite this and all the dangers are exaggerated. DH says BIL was in and out of hospital for the first year of his life with chronic ENT infections and eventually had to have gromits fitted and his tonsils removed. If either of us were to point this out however, there would be major upset.
She's not trying to be horrible or interfering, she just wants what she gave her mum and what she sees her friends doing but I can't cope with another round of this when the baby arrives - I've had an exhausting pregnancy and due to an old pelvic injury have already been told to expect a longer and more painful labour than average (this will pass, DS's labour was 66 hours long). Unfortunately, she's very sensitive and even what I would describe as a subtle and well-meaning talk about the subject has the potential to cause a rift. I don't want to burn my bridges with her, she is a nice person but I feel the need to nip this in the bud. Any advice?

Married to Mr. Crunchy June 2008 ~ welcomed our beautiful boy August 2012 ~ baby number 2 due 2nd September 2014 ~ babywearing, co-sleeping, cloth bumming. I love my unvaxxed boy
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#2 of 5 Old 08-28-2014, 10:18 AM
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I always find it so sad that people think breastfeeding is inconvinient or difficult for the mother. I thought it was so easy and mess free. (and just for the record I had a very hard time breastfeeding the first three months).

No advice but hugs. Is DH on your side? That should help alot if he is.
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#3 of 5 Old 08-28-2014, 01:22 PM - Thread Starter
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Thank you. I'm lucky, DH is with me all the way. He always says he assumed I'd just formula feed like every one else around here and he'd be doing night feeds, putting kids to bed, etc so he's keen to point out that he doesn't just support me because he gets a full night's sleep! He's extremely proud of how healthy DS is.
I think MIL doesn't understand this because she's of a generation that was raised to see formula as completely safe and just as good as breastmilk. The biggest problem is that she is so sensitive, honestly whatever we say about this we run the risk of tears, followed by radio silence for weeks. It's a difficult line to tread but we've got to do it - I can't handle another 6 months or more postpartum of guilt trips and helpful purchases of formula, bottles, etc. 'just in case'.

Married to Mr. Crunchy June 2008 ~ welcomed our beautiful boy August 2012 ~ baby number 2 due 2nd September 2014 ~ babywearing, co-sleeping, cloth bumming. I love my unvaxxed boy
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#4 of 5 Old 09-01-2014, 05:54 PM
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Dh has to take lead and have a talk with mil

Have your dh talk to her, tell her the complete truth, and tell her just how much you "need" her support breastfeeding both your children because it is what you both believe is right and her absolute support (and love) mean so much to you. Have him emphasize how much times are changing constantly and have been for decades now and how parenting styles continue to change and how the trends are turning back towards extended breastfeeding just like before the invention of baby formula. Have him emphasize how much you want to protect your ds feelings after the new baby arrives by continuing to provide the biggest source of nourishment and comfort he has ever known in his life, by breastfeeding throughout the night every night. Your mil can be encouraged to brag about how happy and healthy her grandson is because he is so well taken care of by his mama who bf him so selflessly and loves every minute of it. And he gets to cosleep with mommy and daddy, he must just feel so loved, it's such a wonderful bonding experience.

I can empathize with you my mom wants the same thing. My ds is a year old and she has never babysat him because I have only ever left him with my dh for about an hour, normally less. I just don't feel the need to leave him at all. My dh is very supportive of this. My mom thinks he just uses me as a pacifier and he should be in his own bed. I tell her she had dr Spock, we (this generation) have dr sears. It's hard because we all think we do what is right for our kids. Doing what our parents did can really flatter them and doing something else can cause insecurities and vulnerabilities to surface. Luckily my mil is a breastfeeding advocate. Good luck!
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#5 of 5 Old 09-02-2014, 07:27 PM
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That would be hard.
I think I'd ask DH to talk to her...or just let her know upfront that you will still be nursing DS.

I normally won't tiptoe around other peoples feelings when it is something like this, because it never seems to help in the long run.

I'm still BF DD, she'll be 15mo when I have our second baby and I don't plan to stop ether.
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