Mothers-in-law (usually) mean well, even if the daughter-in-law generally finds the advice given unhelpful. But, one expecting mother has found herself in a bit of strange situation with her husband’s mother. It’s common for moms to want to become grandmothers and help raise the next generation. What’s not so common is a grandmother wanting to breastfeed her son’s baby after they’re born. For one mother-to-be though, this is the awkward situation she’s found herself in and she’s taken to Reddit for advice.
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The expectant mom titled the Reddit post, “Terrified to have my baby…MIL wants to breastfeed her…” We’re glad she’s not the only person “terrified” by this. Let’s take a closer look at the Reddit post to try and understand where granny is coming from.
Some folks need to understand that boundaries are a thing.
The expecting mom uses “MIL” as shorthand for mother-in-law throughout the post. Her MIL doesn’t seem to understand boundaries and it seems like her, “SO,” or significant other, is conflict-averse. We have a case of one person not respecting boundaries and another not willing to define boundaries. What a pickle for this mom-to-be!
“She found articles from different cultures that do this and is thinking it’s a great idea,” she explains, describing her mother-in-law’s motivation for breastfeeding. “I have told her gross no, my mom got involved and said no, but she is still finding articles and sending them to me about all the benefits.”
Is it time for the expecting dad to step it up?
“I don’t know what to do,” she explained in the post. “I’m beyond done with this woman, but out of respect for my husband I am trying to keep a level head, but I’m starting to fail with my due date fast approaching … “
Naturally, the Reddit community had thoughts about the matter and what her husband should do.
“Your husband should be the one shutting her down!” a person commented on the post. “‘Out of respect’ for your husband? I’m sorry, but where the [expletive] is HIS respect for YOU? He needs to tell his mom to stop. Now.”
“Your husband needs to pull his head out of his [expletive] and realize and explicitly tell his mom that she will never be allowed alone with this baby,” another cautioned.
“Have you asked him how he feels about his mum breastfeeding (!!) his child?” a concerned commenter asked. “Surely he must have a limit with this woman.”
For once, the internet agreed on something.
A 60-year-old grandmother who wants to breastfeed her grandchild is, well, unusual to say the least.
“I didn’t think a 60-year-old woman could produce milk,” one person joked. “Is it powdered? All jokes aside, this is a hill to die on. I’ve heard of MILs using grandchildren as do over babies but this is ridiculous.”
“That is totally a thing in other cultures, but I’m guessing not yours,” another person added. “Furthermore from a medical standpoint once the milk supply dries up, and I would guess hers has, it’s extremely difficult to get it going again. This is creepy, weird, and has hand that rocks the cradle written all over it.”
Time for dad to have a difficult conversation.
It’s not going to be a fun one, but this soon-to-be dad needs to have one strongly-worded conversation with his mom. The expectant mom says the comments and the advice from the community made her feel “very empowered.”
“I feel it’s his responsibility to confront her and set the boundaries, he differs,” she said in an updated post. “I’m hoping after showing him the hundreds of responses he can see that I’m not the crazy one thinking he needs to talk to her early and often about what we want and don’t want for our child with her.”
“He is very supportive but hates upsetting his mom, which I get, but it can’t be at my expense which is how it feels right now,” she added. “He is tired of talking about it, this started around Labor Day, but with no resolve or boundaries I just can’t get over it.”
That’s right. Let’s hope that dad-to-be can delicately tell this soon-to-be grandmother that she can’t breastfeed his child. It’s important for all of us to set boundaries, particularly as adults about to have families of our own. We’re hoping this poster comes back with an update so we can hear if dad did the right thing or if this poor mom is left to fend off her MIL by herself.
Chicago based writer who enjoys finding the best of the internet. Cheese and crackers are a mood.