Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas with the In-laws (or outlaws....)

Christmas is a wonderful time of the year. I am blessed to have a great relationship with my in-laws, but having a lot of extended family at Christmas can be just a bit stressful. It can be especially difficult if you're breastfeeding and your mother-in-law thinks you should "just give that baby a bottle..."

Over the last few years, I've had more than one new mother crying in my office because of holiday stress compounded by in-laws who don't respect her parenting style. If this sounds like you, then get your hubby and sit down together for 3 minutes while you read and discuss the following tips for dealing with Christmas with the extended family.

  1. Boundaries are critically important. And Dad is the best one to set them, especially if his family is the one who's giving you a hard time. You don't want to hurt feelings, but it's very important to explain in unconditional terms that you are breastfeeding your baby. Any comments or behaviors that undermine this relationship will not be tolerated.
  2. Stress can cause problems with letdown, plugged ducts, and lead to a reduced supply. Therefore, do all you can to reduce stress during the holiday season.
  3. If you are a guest in someone's home, and they aren't comfortable with your breastfeeding, try as much as possible to plan your baby's feeds around mealtime and other important family moments. Maybe you can feed baby a little early before he gets very hungry. If not, then Dad needs to run interference while you slip off to nurse.
  4. If you're in your own home and your guests aren't comfortable with your breastfeeding, you have a couple of choices. You can either nurse discreetly with a cover, or Dad can play host while you excuse yourself to feed your baby. You need to do whichever is more comfortable for you. Remember Tip #1!
  5. If your mother or mother-in-law is causing your hurt, she might benefit from reading the blog Grandma Time. If she has specific questions or concerns about breastfeeding, this article might be helpful.
  6. Remember that YOU are the expert on your baby, not your mother-in-law or even your mother...even if she is a pediatric nurse! Follow your gut and kindly but firmly stick to your guns.
If you have tips that have worked for you, please leave a comment....your tips will help another mom! We wish you a very Merry Christmas full of Nurturing Moments with your family!

1 comment:

  1. Oh my, I could so write a novel on this particular subject. I have been blessed with a particularly difficult set of inlaws, and I have found it best to just stick with my guns. No justifying, arguing, defending, or explaining.