How to deal with an anti-bf mother?

(39 Posts)
Dannilion Thu 31-Jan-13 14:56:28

I'm 31 weeks PG with PFB and have my heart totally set on BF, been discussing it with DM throughout the pregnancy and she seems to have gone from 'you just do what's right for you and the baby', to 'you were FF an fine, don't make yourself a martyr', to full blown 'if you BF on demand you will die of exhaustion/ go crazy and set fire to the house. So I will be giving that baby a bottle for your own sanity, you'll thank me one day'.

She has an argument for everything, ie CB will pay FF costs, I probably won't make any milk because she didn't and the obvious rod for my own back. I'll be finishing off my MSc when DC is 6mo and am hoping I can express and DC will take a bottle and everything will be lovely lala relying on her to take care of DC during those days.

I love my DM and aside from her ignorant, old fashioned views and stubbornness, she has been an absolute rock. Was just wondering what, if anything, I could say, or show her to shut her up make her see that BF isn't a path to complete martyrdom?

PS, I totally accept that I may not be able to BF at all. I'm just trying to have a PMA about it. DP is also 100% behind me BF and has assured he'll do the lions share of nappy changes, cleaning etc.

munchkinmaster Sat 02-Feb-13 07:41:27

This is a very similar story to my mother. She was/is very pro formula and every normal baby challenge (waking, grizzly days, seperation anxiety) has been put down to bf. this means in her mind I have rejected all her advice and in my mind I feel sad that she has given me no advice as we never get past the advice to ff.

I think what has helped me to keep going are DH, that my mum has form for such behaviour (so its a mother issue, not a feeding issue), the fact I'm sure of what I wanted to do and not having any real bf problems. In fact it prob made me more determined as I couldn't bear a story being put together later and retold of how I'd tried but it was just far, far too much for me and she'd saved the day by getting me to see sense and ff.

I think you do as you see best. You will know from experience how to handle your mother but beware your energy for sensitive manoeuvring her may be depleted in the early days. If you have a good relationship maybe explain you want to try, totally appreciate her views but it would mean a lot if she parks them for a few weeks. Explain you need her support more than ever but that rather than helping the feeding advice (which I think is well meant) is getting in the way of you preparing for the new arrival together.

MarianForrester Fri 01-Feb-13 20:09:59

I'd probably just mutter in the sort of way that could sound like I was agreeing with her, then do what I wanted when baby born smile

Chottie Fri 01-Feb-13 20:07:28

Please don't feel bamboozled - just enjoy being a mum and do what suits you and your PFB x.

pluCaChange Fri 01-Feb-13 20:02:04

It's so sad, as it doesn't have to be like this. My mother FF both me and DB, and MIL only bf DH and BIL for a short while. Yet despite having no experience to help me, both have been very supportive, and DM in particular has asked me questions about bf and let me explain at length, all of which might be very uncomfortable and saddening for her. I think they're being normal, but perhaps they're actually beyond angels, for not taking out their own disappointnents on me and their GC. hmm sad

Have a chat with your midwife and find out if there's a BF group in your area. We frequently have pregnant ladies come along to ours, that way they get practical advice before they start and they already know us if they do have any problems.

OhIWishThereWasABook Fri 01-Feb-13 18:55:38

My mum wasn't quite so ott but she was very very nervous about bfing. The believed it was best back in the day. Once she saw her thriving gd, she couldn't have been more supportive. Hope this happens for you, new things can be a bit scary.

TheBakeryQueen Fri 01-Feb-13 18:48:54

Although SJisontheway, I think your experience is much the same as many of my breastfeeding friends, and mine, and though just anecdotal, that can be the basis for good advice.

abbeynationall Fri 01-Feb-13 18:46:05

You'll be fine OP you have a very supportive DH. Just don't cave in when your boobs will be incredibly painfull , and PFB will be crying blue murder. Congratulations OP I miss Newborn babies smile

abbeynationall Fri 01-Feb-13 18:35:52

Whatever you do OP please do not give up on day 1-3 when your milk hasn't come and you're doubting whether DC is getting any feed at all. Don't listen to "I didn't have any milk - it runs in the family" ridiculousity.
Once PFB is here I'd make sure I pop my top open and breastfeed everytime she goes on one, till she gets the message that Its your baby and as such, you will be feeding them whichever you want , however you want, wherever you want.

Tweedledeedum Fri 01-Feb-13 17:46:37

This is a nice summary of why it's such a wonderful thing to do for you and your baby. Pop it on her fridge and the back of the loo door!

milkmatters.org.uk/over-101-reasons-to-breastfeed/

Loislane78 Fri 01-Feb-13 11:41:01

Hey OP

Congrats on your pg and good luck with the bf smile

I don't know the dynamic of your family but there is a big difference between being assertive and argumentative. If you feel you can, next time your mum starts on this slightly negative track about BF again (and that's what you want) then just say to her you and DP want to give it a good try at least and you'd like her support. Add something like I'm new to it and they'll be lots to learn and I'm sure I'll be grateful for your help and support with lots of things.

This way you're telling her (nicely) what is going to happen whilst also letting her feel she can impart some motherly knowledge on other things. You need to draw a line as if she's like this on feeding...

I'm from a big family of FF - mum, 3 sisters and 4 nephews. I've been low key about it not wanting to appear like I'm questioning anyone else' feeding choices and actually they've been v supportive and asking lots of questions about how it works etc. so she might surprise you smile

GL smile

Dannilion Fri 01-Feb-13 08:32:50

Hello everyone, thanks for all your advice smile

Am shocked but glad to see I'm not the only one with a less than supportive mother in regards to BF. I think you're very much right in that if I succeed, she may well view me as "outdoing" her and her parenting style in some strange way. I think she has forgotten a lot of the negative aspects of having a newborn anyways, she is convinced I and my siblings only woke once throughout the night from birth. Which is of course because she FF..I had also never thought about the shift in dynamics and how difficult this may be for her. I don't live with her but until now our roles have been very much defined as mother and daughter, so it's really helpful to think about that too. She FF me within a few hours of birth so I'm not sure whether she actually didn't have colostrum or she just wasn't aware that it can take a few days for your milk to come in. She was a homeless single mother escaping from DV when I was born so needless to say her head was probably a bit all over the place.

I have discussed with DP about her comments re: giving the baby a bottle to save my sanity etc and he got unusually cave-man like protective, insisting that he will be asking her to leave if she 'dares try to parent his child' so er... At least I have some support there for my vulnerable moments I suppose! MIL also BF'ed so I will have someone that gets it.

Also been reading all the topics on here, kellymom, LLL etc which has been really useful. Feel like I could spot A tongue tie from a mile off! Once again thanks for all your advice ladies smile

HollyMadison Fri 01-Feb-13 07:11:20

Sounds like she has her own issues about feeding to be arguing with you before baby is even here. Just bear in mind that it looks like your mum will not be supportive so you need to get support somewhere else. I'd just disengage a bit. My MIL is not supportive of BFing and made quite a few passive aggressive and silly comments about it. It just made me realise that she still has issues about how things went for her and, tbh, I felt a bit sorry for her. If your mum does want to help then, rather than giving a bottle, ask her to make you a few meals for the freezer so you can keep your strength up and keep on top of things. Good luck for the birth x

SJisontheway Fri 01-Feb-13 06:24:02

Ok tiktok. I'll defer to you better judgement. I respect the advice you give, and I would hate for anything I say to be detrimental to anyone else's feeding experience.
OP, good luck with feeding and handling your mother. Like other posters have said, there's nothing martyrish about breast feeding. Mine took to it without any issues and I found it so much easier for night feeds etc. I really see it as the easy option.

tiktok Thu 31-Jan-13 23:48:43

SJ, your experience was just that - your experience.

If you are really wholeheartedly telling everyone what you recommend based on that....well, maybe go a bit more gently with it? It doesn't work for everyone in the same way.

Babies who have had regular bottles from the start may still reject them laer.

Babies who have had no bottles at all ever may still take to them quite happily when the time comes.

geekette Thu 31-Jan-13 22:09:03

my experience was that I was quite emotionally unstable after the birth of my pfb. my mil was also of the generation which had little bf support. she came out with similar gems. I kept her at arms length for feeds. I wouldn't have been able to establish bf if not.

I would do that again next time. it is hard to fight any battles in those first weeks. I was able to deal with her later on, at about 8-10 weeks post partum.

ilovecolinfirth Thu 31-Jan-13 21:55:59

There is no reason why breastfeeding should make you a martyr. With both my sons it took a few weeks for it to feel fine, but really I find it so easy. I personally would hate having to sterilise and make up bottles. Yes, one of the downsides is that it might take baby longer to sleep through the night - this was the case with DS1, but DS2 has been sleeping through since 7 weeks. X

bonbonpixie Thu 31-Jan-13 21:45:30

Hi. Currently BF DD who is eight months. It's not always been easy and i sometimes feel that it may not have helped so much with sleeping in our case, but I do love it and will most likely continue until she is a year old. I don't judge others who choose to FF (mostly) but could it be that your mother is feeling increasingly guilty about FF you and she is perhaps going a little overboard in defending her decision?

Providing you can BF, and are willing to simply tell you're mother that BF is THE best thing for your baby. It really is. If she won't listen then maybe take her along to a midwife visit.

Zara1984 Thu 31-Jan-13 20:05:40

Sounds like she has serious ishoos about this and is trying to justify her own choices. She sounds like a bit of a nutball and very neurotic.

Just refuse to discuss feeding choices with her, whatever happens. If she starts on at you, it's hands up and stop-right-there-please.

I'm sorry your mum isn't more supportive sad that's shitty. But you have a supportive partner and that's the main thing!!

Personally I'd avoid having her round much until after bf is established. If you are having any problems you don't need her negativity!

emsyj Thu 31-Jan-13 18:40:13

I had a crash section with DD and was in hospital for feeding support (DD very sleepy and unable to stay awake long enough to feed for aaaaaages) for nearly a week. My DMum went on holiday the day after DD arrived and proceeded to leave me lengthy voicemails (egged on by my DSis telling her that I was starving DD and 'refusing to bottle feed' hmm) lecturing me on the need to give DD a bottle. I just sent her a single text response: 'Bottle comments not helpful' and didn't answer the phone to her. She did eventually apologise.

Best thing is to just not have the conversation with them. I had nothing but snide remarks from ILs also about my bf plans/efforts, so this time (currently awaiting imminent arrival of DC2) I have said nothing. A couple of weeks ago FIL said, 'Oh you're going to bottle feed this one, aren't you?' and I just pretended I hadn't heard him.

Don't get into the debate. You have my sympathy!

SJisontheway Thu 31-Jan-13 18:34:44

I wholeheartedly agree with your last statement. Dd1 had to be bottlefed to begin with (nicu) but later refused point blank. That's why I recommend introducing early and being consistet, offering every couple of days. Maybe not worth the hassle for everyone, but it worked a treat withy second 2.

The fact that she knows she didn't produce milk possibly means that she wanted to try and failed, so on top of everything else, she may feel guilty.

She also may be saying, 'I don't know how to support you...' and at the same time wants to help, so in her mind, formula feeding would be the best option.

I think just being up front with her. Don't address each 'issue' as you really shouldn't have to convince her if it's your decision.

tiktok Thu 31-Jan-13 18:28:06

Of course it's a common problem - but starting bottles earlier does not avoid it.....!!!

Plenty of bf babies will take a bottle early on, and then reject it later.

There is no evidence that there is any benefit in giving bottles early.

SJisontheway Thu 31-Jan-13 18:21:31

Respecrfully tiktok, I disagree. I would say an ebf baby refusing a bottle is really common, certainly not a rare exception. While I agree cups are fine at 6 months, before this they are a pita. If op never needs to leave the baby's side for the firstsix months then I guess theres no problem.

tiktok Thu 31-Jan-13 18:04:15

" If you want your baby to take a bottle at 6 months, you need to introduce it way before this"....absolutely not true.

This is an individual outcome. The posts to mumsnet repeatedly show this.

A baby who won't take a bottle at 6 mths is not a problem, anyway - by that age a cup is certainly usable.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now