If you’re a mom, you probably know how important those first few hours, days, weeks, months, (ahem, years) are with your baby. And, when you’re a brand new mom and you have this tiny human who relies on you for food, comfort, and warmth when someone tries to come in between that, it’s definitely not a good look for them.
So, when a mom asked Reddit whether she was wrong for not asking her mother-in-law (MIL) nicely to hand over her baby for feeding, commenters had a lot to say. And when you learn the details, it’s obvious that this woman has more to worry about than being “nice” to her MIL.
The new mom began the post by saying she had her baby five weeks ago and her husband’s parents have been staying with them. Off the bat, I’m already overwhelmed for her and she said the same. I mean, sure, having family stay with you can be helpful with a new baby. But when tensions rise, as they can with a newborn, having extra family members around can make things even more stressful.
The new mom stated in the post that her MIL regularly takes the baby and won’t give him back, even when he’s hungry and crying. She wrote, “MIL has a habit of taking the baby and refusing to give him back to me. She’d say I’m deliberately ruining her time with him. My son needs feeding every 2 hrs and she basically makes me beg her to hand him over to me so I [can] feed [him].”
Already, I’m over this MIL who is apparently more worried about her own happiness than her new grandson’s or daughter-in-law’s (DIL) wellbeing, but I digress. Note, if you’re a guest in a new mom’s house you should be helpful. Help with cleaning, cooking, and supporting the new mom. Hold the baby when asked and definitely give the baby back when asked.
It All Comes To A Head
Everything came to a head around 10 pm one night. The grandmother was holding the baby when he started crying. The new mom asked her to hand him over so he could eat, but she refused. It went back and forth a few times (asking and refusing) until the husband chimed in.
He said that the new mom is being a “whiny little girl” who used feeding as an excuse to keep the baby away from his grandmother. At this point, the new mom was rightfully angry. The husband then told her that she needed to ask his mom “nicely” for the baby. The new mom stated, “This had me seething. I meanly told [her] to stop being annoying and overbearing and hand him over to me.” The grandmother only then handed over the baby, looking shocked and hurt, then ran to the guest room.
After the son finished comforting his mother, he entered the bedroom and started yelling at his wife. Ya know, the person who had a baby five weeks ago. He told her that she was disrespectful to his mother, that his mother gives the baby more “love” than she does, and that his mother did nothing wrong. He also told her that the baby isn’t an “object that she owns.” She responded that she’ll go stay with her own parents if his parents stay any longer. And he retorted that “she’s only acting up because she doesn’t want his parents around.”
The Red Flags
So, not only does the MIL not listen to or respect the new mom, but she also plays the victim when she doesn’t get her way. The husband is emotionally abusive, gaslighting, and prioritizes his mother’s wellbeing over his wife and new baby. Although we don’t know all the details, aside from what the poster stated, it seems as though there are also some definite control issues happening.
Refusing to let a mother feed her infant, not only puts the baby at risk, it puts the mother at risk for multiple complications. Postpartum depression or breastfeeding issues, like engorgement or mastitis are just a few. Plus, telling a brand new mother, who is dealing with out-of-whack hormones, adjusting to life with a new baby, and exhaustion, that they don’t “love” the baby as much as someone else is unsettling.
In the comments when someone suggested that the new mom go stay with her parents the poster replied that her husband “wouldn’t allow it.” Not “allowing” someone bodily autonomy is a huge red flag. There are so many problematic issues going on here. We truly hope the mom and new baby are able to get somewhere safe quickly. Resources are available for anyone experiencing physical or emotional abuse.
The top comment sums everything up nicely. “Pack your gear and take [the] baby to your parents. Rethink your relationship as well, who the hell speaks to their wife like that especially after having [a] baby. Protect your mental/physical health at all cost[s].”