Most of us have all struggled with mother-in-law issues from time to time. We can cut her some slack. After all, we women do take her baby boy. Who can blame her for not wanting to cut those apron strings too quickly?
Still, there are issues and then there are ISSUES, and a recent inquiry to Dear Prudie's column on Slate is the latter kind. A young new mom walked in on her mother-in-law NURSING her newborn son. Let that sink in a moment, if you will. She walked in on her mother-in-law with her (bone-dry) breast in the baby's mouth (OMG! OMG!).
Assuming this is true and not a means of shocking readers, there isn't a new mom out there who isn't cringing right now. This is Hand That Rocks the Cradle times a billion, no?
Breastfeeding is such an intensely personal and unique experience meant to be shared only by mother and child. I realize many women believe in cross nursing one another's babies and that is all fine and good. But that is consensual. I would be pretty furious if someone nursed my baby without my permission and even more furious if they did so with a dry breast.
Putting your dry breast in a child's mouth for any purpose other than feeding without the permission of the child's mother is abuse. Is it sexual abuse? Maybe, maybe not. But it's abuse. It's an abuse of trust, of position, and of love. Any person who really wants to comfort a baby can use a pacifier or, in dire circumstances, even a clean pinkie finger (though I would rather they hand the baby over to me, naturally).
This is just unacceptable. Sure, my mother-in-law has made judgy comments I don't like, but this crosses the line of basic human decency.
As a mom who nursed for years and does miss that bond a lot, I get that desire to put baby to breast, but if it isn't your baby, you PUT THE BABY DOWN and go get yourself some mental help. Jeesh.
Personally, I would never want to let my mother-in-law hold my baby again. I would be absolutely sick over it.
Would this make you furious, too?
Image via wharman/Flickr