(Closed) Family obsessed with baby–feeling overprotective/territorial

posted 3 years ago in Babies
Post # 2
7642 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

lalanono :  1. Turn people away at the door if they don’t phone ahead. Tell them you’re too busy / tired for visitors.

2. You won’t get to hold her all day in holidays? That’s out of control. After a certain time, or when she fusses, put your foot down and say, “I’ll take her now”. Make sure your husband is on side and, if necessary, you both demand that the baby is given back to you (that’s probably the most important part: you and Darling Husband are a team, and you have a strategy). Retreat to the spare room (or wherever you’re sleeping) with baby if you have to. 

Post # 3
3047 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: November 2016

Agree with pp. Put your foot down and enforce boundaries. They come over uninvited? Don’t answer or let them in. Give them notice that they need to call first and obtain consent. “Hey guys, we’re trying to keep a consistent schedule with sally and a lot of visits can distrupt her schedule. We just want to request you call to see if it’s an okay time before coming over. We appreciate your understanding so much!”

She starts fussing? Step in and say you’ll take her back now. Don’t relent. Even if she’s not upset and you just want some time, speak up. Don’t even wait to put your hands forward to take her. However, if someone does the same to you and you aren’t ready, say so (“sally needs a little longer with mommy but I’ll give her to grandma in a short while”).

As far as the our baby. Reinforce your role subtly. When you go to take her, “mommy will take her now, thanks”, “time for mommy time”, and so on. 

Post # 4
2713 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2015 - St Peter\'s Church, East Maitland, and Bella Vista, Newcastle

For starters, don’t let people in if they arrive unannounced. Baby wear at all family occasions so no one can grab her. If you do let others hold her and she starts fussing, dont ask for her back, say “I’ll take her now,” and don’t take no for an answer. If your in laws refer to her as their or our baby, look blankly at them and say “Sally is my baby and DH’s, not yours. You must mean DH?” Basically, you need to become the head bitch in charge and really, if you turn down an invitation and they hold it against you, what can they do? They can’t ground you or take your privileges away. What does your Darling Husband say about this? If he’s not on your side, you need the ladies at DWIL nation for more advice (Google it).

Post # 5
1800 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2015

As PP said, this is a problem for DWIL nation. 

Post # 6
13707 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

Holy crap girl, put your foot down!  Grandparents don’t have license to just take your baby and not give her back for hours upon hours.  Not getting to hold her during the holidays?  Yeesh — just go over and take the baby back.  Make sure your Darling Husband knows how you feel about it.

And as for uninvited visitors, I just wouldn’t open the door.  I often don’t respond if I hear the doorbell and am not expecting anyone, so I’d just continue with that pattern.

Post # 7
2160 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2014

I don’t open the door to uninvited visitors. If someone wants to take my baby and I’m not happy about it, I say “not right now, he needs some time to get used to you.” If I want him back, I smile and say “I’ll take him now” or “come to momma”. Unfortunately this is up to you to handle – you need to be much more assertive. 

Post # 8
9589 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: August 2012

DWIL nation on babycenter, stat.

No uninvited/unscheduled guests. Don’t answer the door. Disable the door bell if you need to.

All communication from your inlaws goes through your Darling Husband. No visits without him present.

TAKE YOUR BABY BACK. Seriously, I know confrontation is uncomfortable, but you need to bring out that mama bear and SPEAK UP for the sake of your child. She is just as upset as you are. You do NOT have to share her—she is not a toy! If you’re uncomfortable or don’t want someone else to hold her, say so. “Oh I’m going to hold her for a while” or “I’ll take her back now” and physically take her from the person if you have to. If they resist, well those people aren’t safe and really shouldn’t be holding your baby anyway. Normal people don’t try to keep a crying baby from its mother.

Where is your Dh in all of this? Maybe you need a signal (pulling on your ear or something) that tells him HE needs to go get the baby and bring her back to you, immediately.

Can you babywear?

There was literally one time my Mother-In-Law didn’t immediately hand my baby over when I asked, and I’m pretty sure my death glare and prying her out of her arms gave her the strong hint that I would never allow that to happen again.

Post # 9
26 posts
  • Wedding: November 2016

I could’ve written your post! The same thing was happening to me. OH’s auntie still calls him “my gorgeous boy!” Errr he’s MINE ACTUALLY!! I know it’s petty but it winds me up. The same auntie took him off me when he was crying once too! I was so shocked I let her but when she tried again another time I ignored her. I don’t like confrontation either but you need to get her back when you feel that tug on your heart, it’s your mummy instinct and Sally will prefer to be with you too. Have you told Darling Husband how you feel? I was really nervous about telling mine but he agreed with me and was assertive when he needed to get him back to us.

Post # 10
260 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2015

I could have written this! My baby is 6 weeks old and both sets of grandparents live just blocks away from us. The worst is my Mother-In-Law. When we first brought baby boy home he was really sleepy and she would hold him for hours. When I’d try to take him from her to nurse him she’d say he’s not hungry, he’s sleeping! She seriously wanted a newborn to go 5 hours with no attempt to feed him. She also said we get to hold him anytime we want so when she’s there she gets priority. I have finally become more secure in just taking him from her when I want him back. 

Post # 11
11574 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2015

You do not need to get over this and learn to share. 

Your job is to be the best mother you can be, not the best daughter-in-law. Your job is to keep your baby’s best interests in mind, not your in-laws’ best interests.

they are out of bounds. There’s no way to avoid being hurtful since they take offense at normal things like you wanting to comfort your own child. They made that, not you.

you need MORE Mama Bear, not less. So stop suppressing it to please these people and let it shine!

Post # 12
30 posts
  • Wedding: October 2017

Get to DWIL like 5 months ago girl. I don’t even have kids yet, with no plans anytime soon, and I know right now that my momma bear would be ripping heads off and roaring in victory after the first time some one pulled this. Take Sally back every time and anytime you want and don’t say please, that makes it sound like a request and that it can be circumvented. You do not have to share your baby at all if you don’t want to. I would be laying down the law, and getting you Darling Husband to back you up because you and Sally and y’all’s feelings and comfort are his priority, not any other grown adults feelings. They show up unnanounced? “We aren’t accepting visitors now, we will call you when we want a visit.” And close the door. They say how is our baby doing? “Well DH/myself (if your parents do it too) *insert whatever minor information or gross Too Much Information will get the point across.*” Don’t even mention Sally in any of it, if they want to know how your baby is doing wait for them to use the appropriate titles and then answer with “She’s fine.” Some one tries to take her from you without an invitation/ “Come to grandma!”? “No, I’ve got her.” “No, she’s staying with me.” They keep trying? “NO! I already gave you my answer, and since you can’t respect it we will be leaving now/you need to leave now.” Then do it. They ask you to come over or to come visit you and you don’t want to do it? “That doesn’t work for us. We can visit X place on X day at least a week later from X time to X time. Let us know if that works for you as well.” They cry or whine or throw a hissy fit like a toddler? Not your problem, you have no responsibility for the feelings of other grown ass adults no matter what their familial relation is. When a toddler throws a fit you don’t give them their way just to avoid conflict, same thing applies here. 

The main thing is you do not need to justify or explain anything to them, they hold no authority over you or your child. Their reactions to you doing what’s best for your baby are not a you problem, it’s a them problem. Remember, guilt trips only work if you let them. The boundaries you set are not up for discussion nor require an explination to anyone who isn’t Darling Husband, and if they ask why just tell them my baby, my rules and stick to them like your feet had concrete poured over them. 

You got this momma! You hold the cards, they dont get anytime with your baby that you don’t allow and if they want to be allowed time with her, they’ll follow your perfectly reasonable boundaries. 

Post # 14
816 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2013

It’s very hard for new parents and grandparents to learn the dynamics when a little one is here and it’s flee you are quite overwhelmed with their actions.  Assuming they are regular grandparents it helps to keep a perspective that what they are doing, although it’s affecting you negatively, is not done out of malice and this is all likely stemming from misunderstanding and lack of communication.  I don’t think DWIL is an answer to your issues and could negatively impact your relationship over these issues (as it almost did mine) but the ladies have some very good points.  I’ll address them one by one (mine is based on having similar discussions with a therapist).

1. Holding your child.  Grandparents and friends with good intentions believe that you want a break from holding or dealing with a crying child which is why they are eager to hold them (along with the fact that they LOVE your child so much they want to take any moment they can to bond with your child too).  Now you are not wrong in feeling upset that they want to grab your child or return her in a timely matter if she fusses but instead of thinking they don’t care about you see why they might be doing this.  The solution is thus to communicate with them, explain how you feel to them when they just grab her out of your arms and tell them when you are both ready they can have their turn.  Likewise when she starts fussing tell them that you got this and they’ll get her back once she’s settled. Act calm and confidently.  If you can have an honest conversation with them on how you feel when they act this way and how you’d like them to act then that’s even better.  If they mock, dismiss or ignore you then definately be more assertive and go do DWIL as you’re dealing with defiance rather than ignorance (not knowing).


2.the our comment this has been debated to death and though it affects you unless it’s followed by direct actions which try to usurp your position as mom (eg not following your directions on dealing with the child, not referring you as mom, etc) this is again miscommunication.  A psychology paper shows that when someone feels close enough to the other they use the term “our” or “my.”  Imagine having to say “our grand baby or child” every time, it doesn’t roll off the tongue as easily as “our baby.”  Is the insertion of the word grand so significant to warrant your anger?  Again if they use actions to make you feel less than a mom then I agree you have a bu issue with them that warrants DWIL but other than that I don’t think this is an issue to die on the hill for.

3. Seeing very often.  Based on your post it’s clear you’re overwhelmed and it’s totally understandable!  You need a break too!  If they come unsolicited first let them know how inconvenient this is to you and the baby and that you know how much they love your daughter by letting you know in advance you can ensure everyone has a lovely visit.  If they ignore you and keep coming without giving you notice don’t bother answering the door.  If you accidentally do and they are there wanting to see her just say sorry but (insert travel/sick excuse).  Sorry she is sick with a fever and needs to rest.  Sorry we have an appointment we need to go to, thank you for inferring to look after her while we get rest but this will delay our plans.  I’ll call you to schedule a time that works better.

i hope these tips help as it did to me.  I assure you ruining relationships over miscommunication and even “going away” is not all it’s cracked up to be unless they are toxic.  I’d love to have any family close enough to shower my son with love and give me a needed break here and there.  It’s like everything in life, moderation.  Seeing grandparents too much is as bad as not enough if they’re normal people!

Post # 15
2123 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: December 2017

I find this so sad 🙁 I don’t have kids (we’re trying) but I’m a bit pissed for you. I love babies, and I want to hold everyone’s baby! If you’re near me with a newborn, chances are I’m itching to give him/her a cuddle. But I have manners, and I recognise the importance of letting mum/dad and baby bond, and I recognise that when someone actually wants me to cuddle their child, they’ll offer before I ask.

Stay firm. Hold your baby. Go take your baby off grandma/grandpa/whoever when they fuss/need feeding/want sleep yada yada. Take your baby when you want a cuddle. And don’t give a reason! “Thanks, I’ll take her now” etc will work. Get hubby on your side. He can help you here.

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