Help with Mother-in-law - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 11 Old 01-31-2006, 12:09 AM - Thread Starter
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I need suggestions for dealing with my mother in law (mil) and the topic of family bed. I am so lucky that she is the most wonderful & supportive mil until the other day. I got a call from her and she started in... "is that baby sleeping in his bed yet? Honey, you HAVE to get him sleeping in his own bed ASAP!"

My dh is working in another city during the week and only home on the weekends so it's only me and my 8 mos old ds. I didn't think I'd be one to do the family bed (in fact I thought one of my girlfriends was nuts until now!). I love that snuggle time and being able to comfort him in the night if he wakes up and his sweet smile in the morning makes it a sunny day whether the sun is out or not.

My ds is happy all the time and healthy. Everyone remarks at how easy going and sweet and HAPPY he is.

She is going to grill me every time she calls! She is supposed to come out in the spring simetime for another visit too. How have you all dealt with the disapproving family members? What did you do or say? My dh is ok with the family bed for now but I know he isn't as "into it" as I am so his support may wane a bit after a while.

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#2 of 11 Old 01-31-2006, 12:15 AM
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My in-laws were terribly dissaproving about our choice to co-sleep. Our first DD was in the NICU for three weeks after she was born and the second night she was home (we were with my in-laws, long story, suffice to say the situation was hades) my fil said to us "you shouldn't let her sleep with you, she'll be sleeping in your bed FOREVER." I was in no position to take his junk, so I said "I don't know any 16 year olds who still sleep with their mothers." And he never said anything after that.

I think there may come a time when you have to say, this is the way we're doing it because it is the best way for us, end of story. They'll either get over it, or they won't, but either way you'll be doing what is right for you and your baby!

Good luck!

SAHM to four beautiful babes :
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#3 of 11 Old 01-31-2006, 12:22 AM
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Thats so funny my mil said that exact same thing!! she told me we surely would kill our baby!
anyway I directed her to the dr.sears website here is the link

tell her you have researched it and believe it is best and than if she persists tell her to shove it!
I direct my mil also to the kellymom website for breastfeeding questions
good luck and have fun enlightening your mil
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#4 of 11 Old 01-31-2006, 12:37 PM
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My DMIL is a great person but we disagree on many things. To say she has mainstream ideas is putting it mildly! I just don't talk about certain things w/ her which is easy since they're in another state. I have to admit that sometimes I'll stretch the truth a bit. For instance, at 2 months after being asked where the baby was sleeping about a hundred times I started saying "In the crib" which was kind of true since I would put him there sometimes for naps and when I was making the bed. I don't think she believed me but she quit asking. Wait until she finds out we plan to bf past a year. Personally, I'm not all that interested in educating her. It's a PIA enough w/ my own family, lol.
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#5 of 11 Old 01-31-2006, 02:44 PM
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I SO hear you about the MIL disaproval about co-sleeping. My MIL and FIL keep saying (every time I see them or talk to them) that I must start sleep-training, in fact I've already left it far too long (DD is 7 weeks).

I just kept nodding my head and smiling (I'm a confrontation-avoider!) until I realized the other day that I actually AM sleep-training her -- just in my own way! My style is dramatically different from theirs (CIO for however long periods ) but I would say that my attachment style is much more effective.

You can explain or just know it in your heart that you're not co-sleeping *accidently* or because you're lazy or because you don't know any better. You're co-sleeping because it is a concious parenting choice.

In my case, my DD sleeps from 9pm through till 8am with one lovely nurse and cuddle in the middle of the night. It's glorious! She does wake up much more often of course, but she sees she's with me and we snuggle closer and she drifts off to dreamland again. I KNOW that if she was in a crib, I'd be up with her multiple tmes per night, exhausted and miserable for her too.

Interestingly, my MIL sleep-trained her other grandchild with CIO last year. This child now HATES her crib, fights naps and sleep and at 1 year of age, STILL wakes up during the night more often than my 7 week old DD.

So whose method is more effective?

I know it's hard; hang in there. Be proud!
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#6 of 11 Old 01-31-2006, 02:50 PM
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Can you lie? I am the great liar! Your IL's ask, "Is DD sleeping in her own bed? Of course she is. B/c your bed is her bed. Not even a lie. Is she sleeping through the night. You betcha! (Ok that one is a lie. )

My sister who is visiting me says, When they ask about your bedroom, ask what goes on in theirs. hee hee

The first rule of homeschooling: water the plants! :
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#7 of 11 Old 01-31-2006, 04:17 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks so much for the feedback and encouragement!

Hipumpkins and newbymom- I have thought of pushing the truth a bit... had to do that with her pressuring me to start solid foods at 3-4 months. Right now she lives in Colorado but when she comes out in the spring that'll be tough! When she was here she kept saying stuff that would make me doubt my breastfeeding too... maybe my milk was bad or didn't have enough nutrients. I was so glad each time I went to the doctor and he marveled at how great my son was doing and he has stayed in the 90% for weight, height & head.

chandraj- what's the "kelly mom" website?

motheringheart & mama2lucy- I appreciate the reminder that I am my sons mom and I know what is working and I need to be strong for him & no one else.

Thanks you all again,
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#8 of 11 Old 01-31-2006, 04:30 PM
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I actually had a very interesting conversation with my MIL as a result of a similar comment she made to me about six months ago - "If you don't get him out of your bed before he's a year old, he'll never be an independent person able to make decisions for himself."

My MIL was born in Japan in the early 1940s, which made me very curious about how she was raised. So I asked her where she slept when she was little. She got this dreamy look on her face and said that her whole family slept in one room together, and that she can remember waking up next to her mother and being so happy just to be close to her. (Obviously, she slept with her mother long past babyhood, if she can remember it clearly.)

But then she snapped out of her happy memory and continued to try to justify putting my DS in his own room, saying that her family had only slept all together in one room because they "had no choice" and they didn't have the "luxury" of each person having his or her own room. I responded that it was clear to me that sleeping with her family had made her very happy as a child, and I saw no reason to deprive my son of that same happiness just because we have the "luxury" of having another room down the hall where he could sleep if we forced him to do so. I also asked her whether she considers herself to be "unable to make decisions for herself" as a result of having slept with her parents when she was little, and of course, she thought that was laughable. But somehow she still couldn't see how her experience had any bearing on where our son should sleep . . . I think she had just moved to America in the 1960's, adopted the "American way" wholesale in order to become as "American" as possible, and never looked back.

Anyway, because the conversation wasn't really going anywhere at that point, I just ended it by saying (as diplomatically as I could) that we are choosing to continue to co-sleep because we think it's the best situation for ALL OF US. She hasn't brought it up again since then, and I hope that's because she took some time to actually think about it for herself and remember her own happy experience as a child, rather than simply swallowing and regurgitating what mainstream American culture has to say about children's sleep.

Anyway, my situation is kind of unique, so I don't know if this is helpful, but I guess what I'm suggesting is trying to open a dialogue with your MIL, to find out what her life experience has been so that you can (hopefully) have more than a superficial discussion of the issue.

Mom to DS1 : 11/2004 and DS2 12/2008; happy to have discovered ECing, co-sleeping, and tandem nursing during our journey together

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#9 of 11 Old 02-01-2006, 01:23 AM
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I totally understand how it goes with MILs. It seems that many women of that generation are strong proponents of cio, cribs, and formula feeding. But, I always try to remember that the reason they are so passionate about it is because that is they way that they did things and they want so desperately for it to be the right way. Though because of this it makes it an extremely touchy subject and I would assume most are not open to the possibility that this really could be the most comfortable sleeping arrangement for mother and baby.
I just try to respond that we both get more sleep when we sleep in the same bed. If my little boy was in another room, I would constantly be running down the hall to make sure that he was ok and breathing and if I did manage to lie still my mind would be playing images of him alone in need. Also I tell her that if I'm already right there when he wakes up he can quickly get his needs met and fall back alseep without ever getting upset. Bottom line is I'm following what my heart tells me to do.
When she says that I'll never be able to get him to sleep in his own bed I just tell her that I highly doubt my 40 year old son will be nursing to sleep in my bed.
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#10 of 11 Old 02-01-2006, 01:32 AM
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I just tell her that I highly doubt my 40 year old son will be nursing to sleep in my bed.

Anyway, I know my MIL feels the same way about the family bed, and disagrees with me about many other parenting choices. I've given up trying to discuss them with her, and I also no longer worry about offending her - when she brings things up, I either walk away from the conversation or simply tell her that I appreciate her input, and understand that she might not choose to do things this way, but that I'm comfortable with my decision. I will repeat that as many times as necessary until she stops. Works with other family members, too.

I'm much better at it now that we have our second child - took me a while to learn to do it with the first one.

You keep snuggling that sweet baby!
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#11 of 11 Old 02-01-2006, 01:11 PM
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When judgemental and unsupportive people ask me that question, I take the easy way out.

I lie. :

1) It's none of her business or concern AT ALL whatsoever.
2) What's she going to do, come to your house and peek through the window and make sure the baby is in it's own bed????
3) Your business is your business. You don't have to explain yourself to anybody. You really can't use any advice she has to offer in that department.

Not saying you should "lie". But really, it's none of her business. She can't change anything about it.

I have lied to get igorant folks off of my back before.
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