Having to defend nursing at in laws - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 28 Old 01-18-2011, 08:45 PM - Thread Starter
 
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No idea if this is the right forum for this topic, but I really just need to vent!!!

 

My DS is 23 months and I am still nursing. I didn't know much when I was pregnant, I was just planning on nursing because it seemed natural. I went through a really tough time but stuck with it -- it just didn't seem right to stop. And here we are, still nursing at 23 months, for so many reasons. It works for us. We love the health benefits. My son is in love. The bonding is glorious. etc. etc.

 

Now to the in laws. My SIL had her baby (the first of the family) 3 months before mine. She is also almost 10 years older than me. So basically, she has set the precedent for how to parent in the family (large family -- all live together except for us in another state). She did CIO. Her baby sleeps in a crib. She breasfed, but stopped promptly at 6 months (like my MIL did with all her kids). Which is cool with me. Their choice.

 

Us? We cosleep. We breastfeed. Still. Our choice.

 

Last time we visited, SIL told me in front of all the other relatives that cosleeping is ruining his development. She also asked me point-blank when and how I have "intimate time" with my husband if he is in my bed! In front of all the other relatives, including MIL and BILs!!! censored.gif

 

My MIL makes comments about how nursing a toddler is strange. On top of this, I really think that they all think I have some emotional/sexual complex which is why I am still nursing and sleeping with my son!! How offensive!

 

This is on my mind because we are going to visit in 3 weeks. I have kind of had the idea of weaning at around 2 years (for many reasons) for a while. Which will be close to the time we visit. I am feeling pressure to wean before we visit, because I just know that I am going to be painted as the freak while I am there! Ugh. Or I know that if I don't wean, I'm going to sound apologetic when I'm there like by saying "Oh well, we're weaning as soon as we get back home."

 

Please help me build up some confidence and good phrases to say to defend myself and my child.

Please commiserate or be sympathetic to me! I hate this!


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#2 of 28 Old 01-18-2011, 09:07 PM
 
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Humor can really dissolve a lot of things and also send the message that you are confident about your decisions. Sometimes I have told people that I was gonna nurse my son till college and then just laugh and change the subject.

Another thing you can do is give answers that don't invite discourse and then change the subject:

Sil: "are you STILL nursing?"
You: "Yup. Can you pass the salt? Man, I have been eating so much salt lately.. I really need to cut back, blah blah blah"...

Whatever you do, don't engage them. They want to talk about it, make you wrong, argue.. don't let them reel you in. If you stand your ground they will eventually respect you. As for whether or not you wean before or after, it's really none of their business so just don't bring it up.

Good luck!
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#3 of 28 Old 01-18-2011, 09:41 PM
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No way.

 

My response would not be so nice.  I would say that it's personal and that I don't want to talk about it.  If they pushed, I would get nasty.

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#4 of 28 Old 01-18-2011, 10:09 PM
 
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I worried about this with dd1 while visiting dh's family .... like you, for an extended visit. 

 

I printed out several pages from Kellymom in case I needed to give them to anyone as "reading material."  And I read through them.  http://www.kellymom.com/bf/bfextended/index.html

 

You can either go the "pass the bean dip" route mentioned above (Thanks for your concern, Pass the bean dip!) -- or, if you feel like a dialogue might shut things down, you could respond with some version of,

 

"Yes, we're still breastfeeding.  Our Pediatrician is so proud!  S/he says it's wonderful."  And then if they counter with some "WHAT?!" sort of remark, ask them if they wouldn't mind researching that, because all the peer-reviewed research and position statements you've found have supported your Pediatrician's advice.  In my experience, people like that tend to back down when they hear that an "authority" is supporting your family's decision. 

 

It could be that SIL is feeling judged (or concerned because your choices are so different from hers).  It may be that you can drop a comment at some point, how wonderful it is to see that each of your families have found the way to parent which works best for your families, and you both have such happy kiddos (or something like that). 

 

In our case, nothing happened.  I nursed in front of dh's family frequently (even extended family).  I'm pretty sure they knew what I was doing.  All of them nurse(d) to at least six months so they're familiar with the positions.  wink1.gif  It worked out that often, when Ina needed to nurse, she needed a nap and for that she needed to be away from others so often we would go to an empty bedroom to nurse so she could nap.  Which was nice as it also gave me a break (and a nap!). 

 

In all honesty, there comes a point where people simply assume you've weaned.  I think that has happened with us (dd1 weaned at 2 1/2 and dd2 at 3 1/2).  I think most people simply assumed dd2 was weaned, long before she was - since she was only nursing morning/night and occasionally after something traumatic.  They didn't bring it up, and it wasn't something I was hiding but it simply wasn't being talked about anymore.  That may happen, for you, too.

 

Personally - with dd1 - we did a gentle mother-led weaning with her, it took about three months.  We felt for our situation we needed to do it (nursing while pregnant caused me to become *angry.* We'd planned to tandem-nurse if she didn't wean while I was pregnant, but once the pregnancy hormones and nursing hit -- we weaned).  That said, I saw the difference between how Ina handled it, and how SJ handled it (on her own terms a year later).  Ina did regress a little and struggle once she was fully weaned.  It was hard on her.  I wish there had been another way, and am still sad about it.  Each family has to decide what works best for them .... But it's something to consider.  If you haven't read How Weaning Happens (LLL) it is a great book to assist with gentle weaning if you go that route, and to encourage you to continue if you go that route. 


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#5 of 28 Old 01-18-2011, 10:19 PM
 
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Ok, not exactly on topic, but if the subject of your marital relations comes up again with someone in front of the whole group, the response that popped into my head (right after the "that's a really personal question!" response) was "what's your favorite sexual position?"  Turn it right back around on her.  If she's going to ask severely personal questions of you, have one ready for her. 

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#6 of 28 Old 01-19-2011, 05:08 AM
 
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LOL! to the above response!

 

DS is 14 months old and I do get some of these things with my in laws as most of them were not able to breastfeed (that is what they said I when I told them I planned on it). On the co-sleeping front, I say it just works best for us. In our case I am actually as truthful as I can tactfully be, because I think it might help diffuse some things. For us, DS starts the night in his crib, and may or may not join us later - he does occasionally STTN. Thus, time for us to have the bed to ourselves. Also, you can say, well, the bed is not the only place in the house! and then, pass the bean dip.

 

How often does your 23 month old nurse? DS is just nursing morning and evening now, and so therefore at most family functions I can get by without having to nurse him at all (he won't stand a cover anymore, so I am grateful that he likes solids so much) when it is an extended visit, you could absent yourself but as non-confrontational as I am, I also don't really like lying. Or tell the truth - laying him down for a nap - they don't need to know it takes nursing to do that (if it does for your LO)

 


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#7 of 28 Old 01-19-2011, 08:01 AM
 
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I am pg with my fourth.  When I had my first son, my MIL asked me at the hospital "Are you sure you don't want to rethink this whole breastfeeding thing?"  I can't remember my response but I've nursed all of my children whenever and wherever I was.  My husband is from a large family, and there are lots of small children.  The first time they saw me nursing him, they all gathered around and where totally intrigued.  Since they are from a farming community I asked them "you know how baby cows drink milk from their mommies?  It's just like that."  The kids were totally fine with that answer.  Also, whenever someone I know is pg for the baby shower, they always get a "breastfeeding basket" from me.  My in-laws have quit bugging me about nursing, but my FIL will either get up and leave the room, or will not enter if I am sitting nursing.  But this is also the man who is convinced that all my kids are going to die from aids because they are not circumcised.  My husband is the rare one in his family who doesn't smoke all the time (and then they wonder why all the kids have asthma) or drink excessive amounts of alcohol or chew tobacco.  Oh yeah, it gets fun when we have to go stay with them. 

 

I wouldn't say anything to them about weaning, it's not any of their business when you wean.  Unless you want to respond with a "Oh, I think by college he'll have found someone else's breasts"  I've heard that one before and its a favorite of mine!  Stay strong and do what is right for your family.  What anyone else wants to do for their own kids is up to them, but your kids are your responsibility.  I'll cross my fingers for you!!

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#8 of 28 Old 01-19-2011, 08:49 AM
 
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I always bring it up BEFORE they have a chance.

 

We went to MILs last week. A while after being there I said "Thank God she's still nursing strong I would hate if she weaned before two since WHo recomends it until at least 2 y/o" "Our pediatrition said it's wonderful to still be breastfeeding and she even breastfeeds her 3 y/o still!" "It's just so good for her and the dr said it's still providing immunological benefits for her, which all toddlers need"

 

When co-sleeping comes up..."DH is so happy we co-sleep b/c he works all day and this way he gets a chance to bond with her at night" "We just love snuggling all together, it has really brought a deep connection with us all"

 

When sex comes up DH will usually handle it. He brags to his boys about how we get to do it all over the house!

http://madebymomma.spreadshirt.com/cosleeping-C46981D1 funny co-sleeping shirts for DH

 

http://madebymomma.spreadshirt.com/if-breastfeeding-is-sexual-A5633510/customize/color/49 LMAO


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#9 of 28 Old 01-19-2011, 11:09 AM
 
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Big empathy. Especially for the wormy little inclination to make things easier on yourself by weaning before you go. A reminder that in some families, the criticism never stops - "Oh, you weaned? Is that why he's so cranky?" So try to make that decision based on what and when is really good for you and your baby, and leave those meanies to their own head trips.

 

How about your dh stepping up here? You can just refer all comments and questions to him: "John will be happy to have that conversation with you when he comes back from the store, it's not something I care to discuss." From your original post, it's not clear if they harass him the way they do you - they might be less critical when talking to him directly. I'm betting they won't even bother to raise it with him, and that'll end up being a pass the bean dip stopper.

 

Other snarky comments:

them: "You're STILL bf'ing? He's too old for that!"

you, with sympathy: "Oh, don't worry, I don't judge you at all for weaning so young."

 

them: "You're still cosleeping? But what about your marriage?"

you: "I'm so appreciative about your concern. Can I call you the next time we need a babysitter?"

 

them: "You're still (doing whatever)?"

you: "Yup. Listen, I've been meaning to ask, do you shave your armpits? Oh, no reason, just curious."


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#10 of 28 Old 01-19-2011, 11:48 AM
 
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I wouldn't borther trying to defend your educated parenting decisions. You could offer to provide evidence that supports your decisions to anyone that is interested in reading it but otherwise I would take the "pass the bean dip" approach Dalia meantioned above.

 

 

KellyMom also has some other ideas on how to deal with criticism  here

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#11 of 28 Old 01-19-2011, 11:57 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sosurreal09 View Post

 "Thank God she's still nursing strong I would hate if she weaned before two since WHo recomends it until at least 2 y/o" "It's just so good for her and the dr said it's still providing immunological benefits for her, which all toddlers need"

 

"DH is so happy we co-sleep b/c he works all day and this way he gets a chance to bond with her at night" "We just love snuggling all together, it has really brought a deep connection with us all"

 

These are great, I am going to use them! Thank you!!!
 

 



Quote:
Originally Posted by LCBMAX View Post

them: "You're STILL bf'ing? He's too old for that!"

you, with sympathy: "Oh, don't worry, I don't judge you at all for weaning so young."

 

 

I don't know if I'll actually have the guts to say this, but I love it!!!!! Thank you!!!

 

I talked with DH about this yesterday and after the whole conversation he made me feel so good!!! He said, "Listen - if they say anything about breastfeeding or cosleeping I'll be the one who speaks up. I'll tell them that I also encouraged you to breastfeed because DS loves it so much, it feels wrong to take it away. And I'll tell them that I love cosleeping and wouldn't have it any other way -- its the most cozy, snuggly, natural beautiful, priceless experience and I'm so happy we do it." bawling.gif <-- Me after he said that (in the good, I love you so much!!! kind of way) joy.gif

 

familybed1.gif Thank you all. I am feeling much better now that I've got some good responses in my pocket, and feelin' all this great support. This BFing cosleeping family is doing pretty good. :)

 


 

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#12 of 28 Old 01-19-2011, 12:04 PM
 
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Whenever someone brought up the whole bedsharing=no sex thing I would always just wink and smile and say "It's a big house".  Make those people think about eating off my kitchen table :)

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#13 of 28 Old 01-19-2011, 10:18 PM
 
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I would say your options are either A. Have your husband step up and tell his family to back off (possibly with a threat that you guys won't come visit if they continue to be so rude) or B. Lie and say that you've stopped breastfeeding/co-sleeping. 

 

I had a similar issue with my in-laws. They never said anything about my breastfeeding because they know how strongly I feel about that, but they really hated our co-sleeping. We couldn't hide it from them because at the time we were living in their basement. One time when I wasn't around, they started saying stuff about the co-sleeping and my husband basically just gave them a huge speech about all the benefits and that we were going to continue with it whether they liked it or not. They continued to make snipey little comments about it, but never directly confronted us about it again. I think that they really stopped because my husband made it obvious that it was our decision rather than just mine. 

 

Also, if your SIL is going to be so rude as to bring up your sex life in front of your in-laws, I would simply (but confidently) say "Oh honey, there are PLENTY of places that we can 'get intimate' besides our bedroom!" :-P


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#14 of 28 Old 01-20-2011, 09:28 AM
 
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Yay for your husband!


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#15 of 28 Old 01-20-2011, 09:49 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mamalisa View Post

Whenever someone brought up the whole bedsharing=no sex thing I would always just wink and smile and say "It's a big house".  Make those people think about eating off my kitchen table :)


Yes, lol!  Or, maybe have a shocked look on your face and look at her for a minute and then say in a shocked voice, "you have sex in your *bed*?!"  Like it is the most mundane, boring place to ever do it.  Sometimes I have said "my bed is for sleeping" in a very end-of-story type tone.  Because for me it is.  I told my hubby that early on in our marriage.  I told him once I'm in bed I am there to sleep, do your woo'ing out of the bedroom fella.  ROTFLMAO.gif


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#16 of 28 Old 01-20-2011, 09:59 AM
 
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Also, I have to agree that many people will simply assume you are no longer nursing unless you tell them or show them otherwise.  My son recently turned 3 and hasn't shown any signs of stopping with his milk, but because 3 is a busy, busy age he rarely nurses when we are out and about.  And if he gets hurt and is crying, he craves privacy as well as milk so we find a quiet, private place.  Funny enough, if he doesn't crave the privacy while crying then it means we are in a place where it would be "safe" to nurse anyway.  My point was though, that most people assume he no longer nurses and it doesn't even occur to them to ask me.  I don't hide what we do but it just so happens that it isn't so obvious anymore.  I find that anyone who does ask either is pro-extended nursing or has an issue with it and wants to be sure we finally fell into "line".  Both are pretty set stances...the pro's you can share the joy of extended nursing, the ones who are just looking for a fight aren't worth the fight and all the wonderful lines you got to make it clear it isn't a choice you feel a need to explain or defend are great.

 

I had a friend who seemed to take every choice as an automatic criticism of her choices.  I tried admiring her choices, doted on her children's accomplishments and cuteness, and did it all in a genuine way, never said anything I didn't actually mean...it didn't matter...in the end she felt how she felt.  When it finally came out she basically exploded on me...there was nothing I could say that wouldn't make it worse so we are no longer in each others lives.  Sometimes the only choice is to distance ourselves or find a way to spend time with them without becoming engaged in these discussions.  We can't control what our life triggers in another, as long as we aren't doing them harm, we can't do anything about it.  Obviously this is much harder when dealing with family.  With your hubby in your corner, you guys can handle anything!!


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#17 of 28 Old 01-20-2011, 10:06 AM
 
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I was unable to breastfeed our daughter, or perhaps it was the hospital staff who didn't/couldn't get me started, but I had a wonderful team of nurses at the hospital when our son was born.  It seems as though my nipples were blocked, but a nurse put her hands around my breast and squeezed firmly.  Milk flowed, and son nursed.  Next feed, I couldn't  get the other nipple going so she did it again.  I fed him for 11 and a half months, then he suddenly didn't want to know any more.  MIL wasn't happy that I was nursing so long, "six months is enough", she said.  I happily ignored her.

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#18 of 28 Old 01-20-2011, 10:12 AM
 
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I think that you and your DH (or DP) need to put up a united front.  Sure, zingers and one-liners are cool, but probably just a temporary fix, and then they'll all talk behind your back about how rude you were.  If your DH could say something firm like "I will not endure constant scrutiny or snarky comments about how WE choose to raise our children.  We do not judge you, and I expect the same treatment in return."  End of story.  It's his family, I think that he needs to draw the line.


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Quote:
I talked with DH about this yesterday and after the whole conversation he made me feel so good!!! He said, "Listen - if they say anything about breastfeeding or cosleeping I'll be the one who speaks up. I'll tell them that I also encouraged you to breastfeed because DS loves it so much, it feels wrong to take it away. And I'll tell them that I love cosleeping and wouldn't have it any other way -- its the most cozy, snuggly, natural beautiful, priceless experience and I'm so happy we do it." bawling.gif <-- Me after he said that (in the good, I love you so much!!! kind of way) joy.gif

 

familybed1.gif Thank you all. I am feeling much better now that I've got some good responses in my pocket, and feelin' all this great support. This BFing cosleeping family is doing pretty good. :)

 


 


yay!  so glad your dh will step up and protect you and your sweet baby, and that you feel empowered!  thumb.gifjoy.gifclap.gif

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#20 of 28 Old 01-21-2011, 01:24 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ramama View Post

I think that you and your DH (or DP) need to put up a united front.  Sure, zingers and one-liners are cool, but probably just a temporary fix, and then they'll all talk behind your back about how rude you were.  If your DH could say something firm like "I will not endure constant scrutiny or snarky comments about how WE choose to raise our children.  We do not judge you, and I expect the same treatment in return."  End of story.  It's his family, I think that he needs to draw the line.



 I like this point ramama. It reminds me that when I am talking about this issue (whether or not DH is around) to always use the term "we" and not "I" -- so that the family knows that it is a joint parenting decision -- not just me (the in-law) who is "ruining" the family.

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#21 of 28 Old 01-27-2011, 02:00 PM
 
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I am sorry you are having to deal with this and I hope your visit goes/went well. If it were me and they chose to continually criticize my parenting styles I would simply stop being around them. Life is too short and there is no reason why you have to subject yourself to the stress of being questioned about choices that are yours to make. If they ask why you haven't come around tell them that as soon as they can act like adults and keep their opinions to themselves you would be happy to visit with them again.

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#22 of 28 Old 01-29-2011, 08:07 PM
 
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I have had similar problems.  I generally go with, "He'll/She'll probably stop nursing before puberty."  It generally ends the conversation.  I am a little snarkier when it comes to the I am trying to shame you questions.  So something like, "Sweetheart, it is not polite to discuss marital relations in mixed company, but I can explain these things to you later dear."  Then I would look to the  other adult women in the house and cluck my tongue and shake my head (can you tell I live in the south?)  Or, Since you only breastfed for 6 monthd, I know you don't understand the importance of breastfeeding, but I have some great reading materials for you, if you would like to learn.

 

however, since they are your in laws, you might want to be nicer to them than that.  It is great your hubby is standing up for you.


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#23 of 28 Old 01-29-2011, 09:26 PM
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Ugh, I'm so sorry that you went through that.  Sometimes family can be so unsupportive *big hugs to you*

 

Last year I was nursing my 26 month old at my inlaws.  They brought up that I should feed him in the guest bedroom without heat or the bathroom but I was NOT ok with that.  I told them no, I was fine at the dining room table with everyone else.  MIL was so upset she called the cops!  I just could not believe it shake.gif  I mean who does that?!?  Anyway, the cops took one look at me, turned red, mumbled something to MIL, and left soon after shrug.gif

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#24 of 28 Old 01-30-2011, 12:51 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by catfood View Post

Ugh, I'm so sorry that you went through that.  Sometimes family can be so unsupportive *big hugs to you*

 

Last year I was nursing my 26 month old at my inlaws.  They brought up that I should feed him in the guest bedroom without heat or the bathroom but I was NOT ok with that.  I told them no, I was fine at the dining room table with everyone else.  MIL was so upset she called the cops!  I just could not believe it shake.gif  I mean who does that?!?  Anyway, the cops took one look at me, turned red, mumbled something to MIL, and left soon after shrug.gif

 

Oh. My. Gosh. THE COPS?????? yikes.gif

I have never heard a nursing story like that one! Good for you for sticking it out! I will keep that in mind when I go visit them next weekend......I really will! Thanks


Mothering my sweet preschool boy luxlove.gif and my new arrival bfinfant.gif

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#25 of 28 Old 01-31-2011, 07:50 AM
 
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OMG I am surprised the cops even came! WTF she should have charges pressed on her for calling without reason!

 

Over my dead body would I ever see her again!


 Young born-again mama and loving wife peace.gif to DH jammin.gif and SAHP to two crazy girls dust.gifwehomebirth.jpgfly-by-nursing2.gifslinggirl.giffamilybed1.gif and believe gd.giflactivist.gif  signcirc1.gif !

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#26 of 28 Old 01-31-2011, 04:19 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by catfood View Post

Ugh, I'm so sorry that you went through that.  Sometimes family can be so unsupportive *big hugs to you*

 

Last year I was nursing my 26 month old at my inlaws.  They brought up that I should feed him in the guest bedroom without heat or the bathroom but I was NOT ok with that.  I told them no, I was fine at the dining room table with everyone else.  MIL was so upset she called the cops!  I just could not believe it shake.gif  I mean who does that?!?  Anyway, the cops took one look at me, turned red, mumbled something to MIL, and left soon after shrug.gif



WOW That would be the last time I would ever visit my MIL's

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#27 of 28 Old 02-08-2011, 07:08 AM
 
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Did you visit yet?  How did it go?


                                       DS 7 ~ DS 3

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#28 of 28 Old 02-09-2011, 12:59 PM - Thread Starter
 
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The visit is coming up here soon. i'll keep you all posted.......


Mothering my sweet preschool boy luxlove.gif and my new arrival bfinfant.gif

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