January 27, 2021, 05:54:51 pm


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Not bonding with GC

Started by Grieving, July 17, 2012, 06:52:01 am

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No problem, Lilly :) 

Grieving, whenever you want to share (or not share,) we are here.  I have a clearer understanding of what you're saying now and understand.  I'm not a grandparent yet, but I've told the story about my BIL/SIL not allowing their child to feed themselves until she was over 3, yet wanted me to babysit a lot.  Nope, not going to do it, I just couldn't.  It may sound small and petty, but at least by 2 that child could fed itself.  BIL/SIL were also hyper-vigilant of her clothes so if she had a drop of food on them, they would get very upset and huffy.  So I turned down all requests to babysit....and yes, I didn't develop a bond with her until later.  I still think my niece likes me though :)

So, I understand frustration with how a parent will chose to parent their child.  I think the first one is always a bit nerve-wracking for most and they can tend to act this way, then eventually loosen up. 
People throw rocks at things that shine - Taylor Swift


Pssshhh....should have heard my Ex-MIL when we bought our boys a trampoline.....
We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us. -
Joseph Campbell

lancaster lady

Hello Grieving and Welcome :

If you have the time to read my history here , you will see my experience mirrors yours .
I wasn't even allowed to change my GD , so no chance of getting it wrong .
There is nothing wrong with attachment parenting and they as parents have every right to chose it , but please
inform all concerned relatives so as not to hurt and alienate them .
Not saying that this is the situation with your Ds Grieving .
However now my GD is 2 years old and my DIL is only too pleased to hand her over .
I know you want that fuzzy closeness of a new baby , but patience is a virtue and perhaps eventually
the newness will wear off and they will be glad of another pair of hands .
So cuddle that baby when you get the chance , and if the baby  steals your heart , it's worth it .... :)


ROFL, Karenna---almost the same thing happened to me recently. DIL thought I was feeding GC something from DH plate, received chiding about how it would lead to diabetes---give me a break, really this super-smart woman cannot believe that a 1/4in. size bite of something is going to cause diabetes! Lucky for me, I was feeding GC a piece of fruit that she had been giving him all morning. Whew!!  I had also heard the nipple lecture, but I know that DS does feed bottles when DIL is away, so why not when we are there.BTW, only 24 hrs. give or take every 3-4mons. I did not know it had a name, though. Will have to prepare myself so I can annoy DIL by knowing what/why she is doing things. LOL

Pooh, again LOL---I would be the one giving the trampoline. I don't give anything anymore because I have been lectured about toys, never see GC in clothes I buy, several things I bought because they were on their registry were no longer wanted after I bought them, so I satisfy my need to buy baby stuff by donating to charity.

pam1 Thanks, maybe there is hope that I can bond with GC in time. Not sure how I ended up with this thread, when I started out just to say I was glad I was not the only one who was not warming up to GC. In typing these replies, I do realize that it has not so much to do with GC, much to do with DIL.


LL---wow, your story does mirror mine to a great extent. My problems with DIL started during pregnancy, prior to that we were great, so not sure if the parenting is an issue as much as we seem to be at odds. I know what she has done to me to cause my feelings, but have no idea why/what I did to change hers. In any case, it just goes to show what one friend often says---we are not nearly as unique an individual as we like to think we are.

Hopefully, my story will continue to follow yours, and have a happy ending. I don't want or expect to be in DS, DIL or GC life on daily basis, but would like to enjoy a visit every couple of months without feeling like I am walking on eggshells, afraid to say anything , or buy anything for GC for fear it is 'wrong'.


There are polite, positive ways to involve GPs and other family members in a decision to do attachment-style parenting if the will is there. I would imagine that any decent book on the subject would have some suggestions on how to lovingly get the message across w/o alienating anyone. There may be those who would choose to use their choice of parenting methods to keep ILs & others out of their lives. I think that would be sad.
Respect ... is appreciation of the separateness of the other person, of the ways in which he or she is unique.
-- Annie Gottlieb


Grieving hello I am a mom of a DD who is 4.  Im sorry you are having a rough time.  My sister just had a baby and is on a strict schedule for her DD.  At first I thought she was crazy and to uptight.  But it's working for her and it's going to make her transition back to work much easier.  Plus my dn just three months old is sleeping though the night. 

I know it doesn't seem like a big deal at the moment but sometimes a change even small can make a big deal.  DD is 4 and changes still can sometimes effect her.  We just got back from a trip.  Getting her back on her sleeping schedule the first week was crazy.  Nursing wise I was never one to give a bottle for someone to feed.  DD bonded with people other ways.  May I ask how old he is? 

I hope things get better for you.


Grieving, you mentioned that your DIL watched when you changed diapers.

Is your GC an uncircumcised boy?  If so, she may be watching to make sure that you don't retract his foreskin when you clean him.  This apparently can be quite painful for babies, and can lead to infections or scarring.

I only ask because this was an issue I was genuinely unaware of before GS was born.


Would it be possible for new Ps to kindly & lovingly educate the GPs regarding these or other issues?
Respect ... is appreciation of the separateness of the other person, of the ways in which he or she is unique.
-- Annie Gottlieb


It absolutely is possible for new parents to kindly inform the grandparents about their childreqring choices.  However, I can think of a few reasons why it doesn't always happen.

(1) The parents may assume that some of this information is common knowledge, and that the grandparents already know.  Then, when the grandparent unwittingly violates the rule, the parent may assume that they're being careless or stubborn.

(2) The parents may fear that grandparents will view any choices that differ from their own as a personal attack.  Conflict-avoidant parents avoid bringing up these issues so as not to hurt the grandparents' feelings.

(3) The parents may anticipate that bringing up a childrearing decision will invite debate and discussion.  The grandparents might try to talk them out of it, which would feel like a vote of no confidence.

lancaster lady

In my case , I just want to be part of my gd life . My child rearing days are over and its up to the parents how they bring up their child . I just wanted to be a considered part of her life , the fun side  :)


Here's my take from being in those new mom shoes lately:

My son is 14 mo - when he was very small, I let my MIL do a lot of things for him because she was the faraway grandma and I was trying to be sensitive to the fact that she was feeling a little jealous of my mom (her words). I loathe pumping, but I did it so she could feed him bottles. We left her alone with him for short periods while visiting her. We let her feed him solids once he started them. When my son got big enough to move around and play, she didn't know what to do with that. She didn't know how to play with him, and frequently restricted his movements for fear of him hurting himself. She's actually the hovering anxious grandma, and no matter how much we tell her he's fine, let him explore, she won't. She wants to sit and cuddle him, and he doesn't want to do that. He's too busy. She insisted on getting in his face every visit, which scared the daylights out of him. It took months to get her to stop that. All that 'hands on' care he got from her didn't matter one bit. He was scared of her.

My mother never fed my son a bottle til he was 7 months old, and probably has fed him two in his lifetime, and changed one bum about a month and a half ago. Maybe spoon fed him once. And they are very, very bonded. He lights up when he sees her and squeals. She bonded with him by talking to him, holding him, and especially by getting down on the floor and playing with him. She play with his toys, reads him stories, take him for walks etc. Again, the lack of 'hands on' care in the beginning doesn't matter. He has not one sweet clue who did or didn't change his bum when he was a newborn. Or who fed him bottles. But he sure knows Nanny is super fun to be around.

I had expectations about the way my baby would be, and my mother and MIL had expectations of how their grandmothering experience would go. My mom has now settled into the role wonderfully, and has a great bond with my son. She had a bigger adjustment in the beginning, and we did butt heads a bit. My MIL was ok in the beginning, but things haven't played out the way she expected and has spent a lot of time the last several months trying to literally force us and my son into the way she thought it would be. And it totally backfired in terms of her relationship with my DS. Even after the last visit my DH said he's worn, and doesn't want to go visit anymore.

My advice is to just let the other stuff go about bottles and changing and all that. Play with him. Let the parents do the nitty gritty stuff if they want to. I tried to 'kindly and gently' say what our plans were - and I got met with a laundry list of why they were wrong. And zero desire to learn about why we made the choices we did. So I just stopped discussing certain topics. When they were brought up, I changed them. My mother and I were much happier when those topics were off the table.

I've mentioned in other posts about my attempts to mend things with my MIL, and it's still sort of hit and miss. Some of DILs aren't so bad :) 


Newmama--boy, would I like you for my DIL  ;)  I fully understand and agree with all you have said.
I certainly don't want to change diapers, but fully thought we were there to help after the birth---not much help if someone is going to hang over your shoulder at every move, breastfeed, so cannot help. The one bottle that was pumped, DS gave me to feed so DIL could rest, she came and took both away. I think with her it is all a control/jealousy issue as much as a parenting issue.

GC is a bit older now, and I do get on the floor, play, read----not yet trusted to take for a walk  :P

Everytime I post something it does come back to DIL issues--rather than my orginal intent which was solidarity in finding other women who were not gaga to be GM. Several here put it well---I was not gaga to GM, but am now hurt that I can't be the fun one I wanted to be.



I was in such a similar position to you a few years back.  I wanted to help a lot, and it seemed like everything I did for GS was wrong.  I thought it was about control/territoriality at first, too.

One thing that helped me understand DS/DIL better was reading the parenting books they had, so I could tell where they were coming from.  Two I remember were:  "The Baby Book" by Sears and "Gentle Baby Care" by Pantley.

A lot of the things that are bothering you - parents holding the baby all the time, forgoing bottles, nursing to sleep,  sleeping with the baby, keeping a schedule, and overseeing diaper changes for uncircumcised boys - are all spelled out in those manuals.  They are presented as what's best for the baby, not as a clever ploy to exclude grandparents.

It's always possible that there are some control or jealousy issues.  But based on your description, it sounds like they're also trying to be the best parents they can be.

It's okay to feel a little disappointed about not having as big a role in the childcare as you'd hoped.  But think really hard before you write off a relationship with your infant GS entirely.  As he gets older, there will be more opportunities to spend time with him.

It really will get better.  Best of luck!


Grieving, perhaps when you were invited to "help", they meant help around the house so they could do the baby-work, not for you to help with the baby?

I can see that as being a very basic mis-communication that could easily be the root of the problem.