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Hello all,

I’m new to this forum, seeking advice after a stormy confrontation with my mother-in-law, let’s call her ‘S’, over Christmas (cliche alert!). After months of hushed whispers and disapproving groans whenever my daughter demanded “mummy’s milk”, S finally exploded, accusing me and my husband of being “cruel” and upsetting the entire family by encouraging my daughter’s “addiction” to breastmilk. Daughter is just over two years old. The finally tempest passed its zenith a day later when S apologised in floods of tears.

S was fine about breastfeeding for the first year, but not beyond that. I feel now, while she is at her most contrite, would be the best time to show her informed, balanced research showing the benefits of extended breastfeeding to encourage her to change her mind. Can anyone help? She knows NHS and World Health Organisation recommend nursing to at least two, but that hasn’t made much impact. 


Marianne

Hi Marianne,

To be honest, it’s your body, your child, your decision.  You know best. It’s your own intuitive knowing at play here.  You shouldn’t have to justify your reasons to anyone.  Just because your MIL doesn’t agree doesn’t make it wrong.  Everyone is different and has different ways of doing things. She should respect this and let you do it your way.  I’ve had various battles over the years with mine over what she thought I should be doing with my daughter, her first grandchild.  I think it was a control thing with her.  She couldn’t bear that I didn’t do things the way she wanted me to. You may have to explain to her that you want to be left to bring up your child the way you want to, even if it means you make mistakes along the way.  It’s your privilege as a mother to experience this learning your way and if the situation ever arose where you needed her advice then you would ask.

I breastfed both my children, my daughter til she was 2 1/2 and my son just past his 2nd birthday.  The health benefits for both mother and child are well researched.  I remember my daughter getting rotavirus aged 2+ and being thankful that I was still able to give her breastmilk which undoubtedly helped her recover quickly. 

https://www.parents.com/baby/breastfeeding/tips/benefits-of-extended-breastfeeding/

You’re doing a fantastic job. 

All the best
Gillian

Dear Marianne,
You’re doing a wonderful job - here’s some back-up info for support
https://thegreenparent.co.uk/articles/read/extended-breastfeeding
Good luck xx

Groan, the most difficult thing I’ve discovered about motherhood is other people’s opinions!
There’s a lot out there about attachment theory and how close bonding with mum (the skin on skin with mum at feeding time for example) helps babies social brains develop. The time, love and attention we lavish on them in the first few years gives them a powerful grounding for their later years. Let me know if you’d like me to dig out some articles!
She sounds like she’s almost a bit jealous or resentful. Maybe she couldn’t follow her instincts when her children were smaller and it’s hard for her to see you doing so. It sounds awful, but it’s amazing what issues babies bring up for people! My dad’s partner kept saying she was jealous and giving me these looks, I couldn’t be around her anymore. It’s like she resented me and she kept talking about all the problems she had with her son.

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