“What can I say?” Mother-in-law demands to have 3-month-old baby overnight

Posted in Family.

A new mum is caught in a tug-of-war between her husband and his mother and the focus of that struggle is her tiny baby.

Newborn all-nighters?

Taking to the parenting forum Mumsnet, the new mum explained that her mother-in-law was so excited about her baby’s arrival that she’s set up a second nursery at her home. Granny apparently wants to start looking after the baby overnight, but the new mum is not keen to part with her little one just yet.

The dilemma is causing tension in her marriage, and she asked for advice on how to politely but firmly decline without causing further friction in the family.

“My mother-in-law has set up her home like a nursery and has been pressuring to have my daughter at her place overnight practically since she was born,” she writes. Her husband, she explains, “is manipulated by her and always tells me he feels so sorry for her.”

She says she’s told her mother-in-law that “she can visit us and see her granddaughter whenever she likes.” But the mother-in-law “whinges” to her husband and “plays the victim” because she can’t have the baby overnight. 

“It’s getting me so down. What can I say to make them both back off?” she asked the Mumsnet community.

It’s too young

Almost every commenter empathised with this poor mum’s situation, because 12 weeks is still very, very tiny, with mother and baby still getting to know each other and forming a bond.

“3 months old!” one Mumsnet user wrote. “That’s crazy, no 3 month old needs to stay over anywhere away from their parents.”

“If she wants a baby overnight let her have your husband overnight,” an upset commenter suggested. “He’s the big baby here.”

Why tho?

For many, this seemed an unlikely situation, and they could not fathom why grandparents are being so pushy about spending overnight hours with tiny bubs.

“What on earth is this obsession by grandparents for having small babies overnight?” one Mumsnetter wrote. “Surely one of the best things about being a grandparent is being able to see the kids during the day and leaving the horrors of night waking to the parents?”

“Such a responsibility, we watched the grandkids when they were babies but I was glad to return them,” a Mumsnet grandmother posted, noting that she only did so when “begged to”. “Can’t understand why anyone would want to when so small unless it was an emergency.”

Baby with tongue out - feature

Give a little?

But a few commenters suggested a softly-softly approach or compromise could be wise strategies, especially as the goalposts might shift a little down the track.

“Can you compromise and allow a stay of a few hours during the day for now? The goodwill of your family can go a long way,” one person wrote.

“[Say] ‘I am sorry, I don’t want that to happen. When she’s older, maybe, but for the moment, it’s no.’ Don’t burn your bridges. In 6-9 months you might like a night off,” another suggested.


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