A mother writes in looking for advice on how to deal with her mother-in-law. Grandma is feeding her grandbaby black tea and cake, even though she has been asked not to. What would you say?
This is what the mom asks:
“How do I tell my mother in law to stop feeding my one-year-old black tea and cake? She comes from a generation that believes that me telling her what to do when she had lots of kids before, would be disrespectful. I tried once to explain to her that the baby is too young to have caffeine (black tea), and she told me straight away she doesn’t believe in this crap. Now I have been very ill for the last couple of days, and while I’m very grateful that she looks after the little one, it makes my blood boil when I see that she gets feed toast soaked in a copious amount of black tea, followed by Indian sweets … And the list goes on. How do I approach and explain?”
Community Advice for Mom About How She Can Tell Her Mother-in-law to Stop Feeding Her Baby Cake and Tea
It seems that most advice is to just leave it alone. Not to do anything because it’s not harming the baby. What do you think? Would it bother you if your MIL was feeding the baby foods you did not approve of?
“Get over it. She’s watching your baby. As long as she’s not consuming great quantities EVERY DAY, she is fine. Her kid survived yours will too. If you don’t want her to do that pay a sitter. Pick your battles, don’t sweat the smalls things. Let it go.”
“No young child needs caffeine and it’s extremely damaging to their teeth because of the tannins it contains. There are other ways for the grandparents to form bonds with children and they should respect the parents’ wish no matter how many children they’ve raised or “I did that and my kids were fine”. Some children will be ok but it’s extremely disrespectful to ignore the parents’ instructions. My mum and sister only looked after my son a few times and they ignored my wishes and went against his routine and gave him food he couldn’t have every single time so I stopped them from looking after him.”
“One day you will wake up & feel grateful that you had such a good role model for your child….. but that day probably won’t happen until she’s gone! Did her own children die? My parents brought up 9 kids and I trusted them with mine. Enjoy your rest time.”
“Some of these comments are driving me, it’s not that fact that most people think it’s harmless or that it was okay back in someone’s day it’s the fact it’s HER kid and she does NOT want HER kid to have that stuff I’ve been there plenty of times, don’t let her watch your kid if you don’t like it and she will get the hint.”
“She’s grandma and the amount of time she spends with your little one giving her special treats vs the time you give her all you believe in will not affect her health. I’d be more worried if she was getting unnatural caffeine and sugars like pop and other processed food. Black tea is very natural.“
Motherhood is hard. We are always trying to do what is best for our children, whatever that may look like. Every mom is different. The way we raise our children will be different. As a mother myself, and as a daughter-in-law, I really do understand that feeling of having someone undermine your authority. I handled it as most wives do, I yelled at my husband! I let him talk to his parents and once I was over my initial anger, I was able to look at the situation differently. Grandparents raised their children the best way they knew how. We come along and tell them we don’t want to do it the same way. To them they hear us say, you did it wrong, I can do better. When you look at it this way, you may be able to address the situation in a way that makes them feel that you respect them and how they raised their children.
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Dawn Onye is a Certified Lactation Counselor. With this certification comes education and her own experience helping mothers and babies with breastfeeding. With her CLC, she is required to keep herself up to date on the research studies, conferences, and training related to breastfeeding. She chose this field not just because she is an advocate for the benefits of breastfeeding, but because she sincerely loves working with mothers and babies. Her mission is not to push breastfeeding on all mothers and babies, but to help all mothers reach the goals they have and to provide the expertise for them to do so. The most important thing in life is to do what is best for your family without judgment from others.
Dawn is also a wife and a mother. She has four children ranging from 12 to 19 years old. She can help many families with tips and tricks she has learned along the way. She loves to read and write. Her favorite seasons are spring and fall, although she does enjoy summers while spending time with her family. There has been no greater accomplishment in life for her than being a mother.
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