Mother-in-Law Dragged for Demanding 'Alone Time' With Breastfed Newborn

It has been almost unanimously agreed that a woman on Mumsnet is not being unreasonable to let her mother-in-law have "alone time" with her 3-week-old baby who is being breastfed, with 98 percent of the vote.

In the post, user Ck2022 explains that her mother-in-law is "annoyed and causing a fuss because she hasn't had alone with my 3week old baby. She hasn't looked after a baby since her youngest over 30 years ago, and even then she had a nanny she palmed her children off to.

"When she has been with DS all she does is shove her phone in his face to take pictures or facetime family and continually shout his name in his face. She won't change his nappy either. How can I allow her to have alone time when she cannot feed him (he is [breastfeeding] and she has already had a go at me that he's not on bottles because she wants to feed him), she will not change his nappy and she does not keep him entertained. AIBU to not give her alone time? I don't mind the odd half hour if I am in the house and DS can have a feed or nappy change if he needs it. But she wants me to leave DS with her for complete alone time."

mother in law
Mother-in-law issues: A woman has received huge support online for refusing to allow her mother-in-law to be alone with her new baby. Getty Images

Handling the In-Laws

If you don't get on with your in-laws, family visits can be one of the most stressful situations you can be in as a couple. Whether they are overly critical, a backseat parent, or they completely ignore you, parents-in-law can make you wish Christmas would take a year off, and the situation can get even more stressful when you've got a child.

U.K.-based charity the National Childbirth Trust offer some useful tips for dealing with the tricky in-laws:

  1. Be kind—Try to take a deep breath and balance out the problems with all of the nice things they do that you appreciate. No seriously, rack your brains (kidding);
  2. Make sure your partner leads things—Delivering a message your in-laws won't like, such as requesting a shorter visit, is much better coming from your partner;
  3. Don't enter into every row—If you flip out every time your mother-in-law tells you that smacking, rusks or whisky on the dummy was fine in her day, you'll probably lose your mind. Instead, walk away and pick your battles: namely, only the ones that actually affect your child, not the theoretical child-raising ones.

'Absolutely Not'

Mumsnet users were in complete support for the new mum. "Absolutely not, don't pander to her" said one user. "No. She needs to trot on."

One user suggested she let her husband speak to his mother, "Let your husband set her straight by saying NO. Your child, your rules. Ignore MIL's tantrum and tell your husband to tell her to pack it in" while another suggested the mother-in-law wants to use the new baby as a commodity saying, "God no! She's viewing him as a shiny new toy! She can't meet his needs, and her selfish attitude means I wouldn't be entrusting him to her for a good many years yet!"

One use suggested a compromise, "She comes to the house and you can have a nap, a bath, get some things done."

Newsweek was not able to verify the details of the case.