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Do you want more sleep?   Yes! I need more sleep.

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  1. Elaina says:

    My mother in law told me when my first son was born, “I won’t give my opinion but I will give suggestions.” I wish she wouldn’t. She has a completely different view on bringing up children and on caring for babies so I’m not interested in her frequently given suggestions. If I get up to sooth my fussing baby, she’ll say, “He’s fine!” I feel like saying, “I didn’t ask you,” or, “I know he’s fine but he’s my baby and he knows mama’s here to help him when he needs it.” Obviously, I don’t want to start a war so I don’t say those things, but what I do say when she starts up with her little comments about my sons’ sleep schedules is, directing it at my sons, “Mama’s babies need their rest. Mama knows her babies like the back of her hand, doesn’t she?” It’s non-confrontational and since I didn’t direct my comments at her, it sends the message that I’m not responding to her negativity. Also, the choice of wording lets her know that I, not she, will be the decided of how these boys get their sleep. Hope that helps someone else!

    • Emily DeJeu says:

      @ Elaina – Thanks so much for sharing a bit about your story!! We love when moms chime in and share insights and tips with our readers…thank you for taking the time to do this! 🙂

  2. Stacy says:

    Anyone with a critical MIL needs to get her husband to step up to the plate and defend you.

    • Emily DeJeu says:

      @ Stacy – thanks for sharing your viewpoint with us!

  3. Emily DeJeu says:

    @ Christin — SO frustrating! As if anyone needs additional mother-in-law drama, right? 😉 I’ll be honest, though, it sounds like you’re handling this really, really well. Biting your tongue and responding with something vague and general is the way to go, I think. You could, of course, confront her about it (in a loving and non-combative way), and that may be the way to go if you want to end her comments. But then again, you know the situation best, and maybe confrontation wouldn’t end well.

    At any rate — you’re doing a great job! Keep up your good work, and keep prioritizing your little guy’s sleep. Even if your mother-in-law doesn’t thank you for it now, you’ll thank yourself. 😉

    Thanks for commenting, Christin!

  4. Christin says:

    Good article. It seems every time I go to my mother in law’s I get criticism and I’m about to lose it. She always makes a comment about “how early we put him down” or it’s “you’re putting him down for a nap already? He just got up.”. My son, thanks to my sleep consultant, takes two great naps a day and sleeps through the night. She has been the only one that has been non supportive of my sleep training because she didn’t do any of these things that I’ve implemented and I don’t think she fully understands the importance of sleep at his age (he will be ten months on Saturday). As a matter of fact she thinks he sleeps too much which I find insulting. I just bite my tongue or reply “well it works for us” but I wish I knew how else to respond.

  5. Emily DeJeu says:

    @ Kelly Stellato — good observation! I try to do the same, when I get unsolicited advice that I know won’t work for me — I respond with something vague and polite.

    Thanks for commenting, Kelly! 🙂

    @ Tara — I’d say you’re right — usually, people don’t intend to be rude or hurtful. The problem, however (in my opinion, at least), is a combination of two things. First, as you mention, sleeping and sleep training (and just mothering in general, in a lot of ways!) is a touchy subject, and one that some moms have very strong opinions about (and very emotionally-charged opinions about). Second, moms who are sleep training are often feeling extra-vulnerable (no doubt because they’re so completely tired themselves!)

    I think that combination – someone’s strong opinion on sleep training colliding with a sleep-training mom’s own feelings of vulnerability – is what ends up causing escalation and conflict.

    But still, your point is a really good one, and one that all sleep training moms should bear in mind. 🙂

    Thanks for commenting, Tara! 🙂

  6. Tara says:

    I agree with Kelly Stellato’s comment. Most people are trying to be genuinely helpful – there’s no need to get offended by every little comment. To be honest, I often appreciate input from other moms. More than once they’ve given me a suggestion or idea I hadn’t thought of! Sleeping is a touchy subject among parents though, so I usually try to be vague or just not get into it with people I don’t know well.

  7. Kelly Stellato, Registered Dietitian says:

    Excellent article. So I’m not the only one that gets an abundance of free advice? I often respond with “Thank you. I will keep that in mind.” Or I say, “that sounds like it worked well for you.” I feel its important to remember that most people are trying to be helpful and share their experience.

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