Cradle Snatcher

by Sarah on January 30, 2013

We have a house guest at the moment. My MIL. And she is very helpful and is staying for a week to give me time to bank some more hours at work. I am grateful. And having her here whilst I’ve been ill has been an absolute God-send…….But, there’s an issue – she’s a cradle snatcher. Or should I say cot snatcher. At every opportunity she removes our son from his cot in order to cuddle him into sleepy oblivion, which frustrates me as I’ve spent a long time encouraging positive sleep associations with his cot (a good three weeks of pick up/put down technique). And it gets a little worse. For all nearly all of his naps for the last few days he’s not even been placed in his cot – she’s simply sat with him asleep in her arms.

Now to some this might not seem criminal at all. And to be fair we do let Dylan fall into a sleepy state whilst on our laps in a chair in his nursery, placing him down as his eyes begin to droop…however, I’m worried he’s getting used to this new way of sleeping. This morning he woke at 4am. Normally I can lull him back to sleep without picking him up – or if I do, it’s quite brief and he’s back in his cot before he knows any different. But this morning, nah. Four attempts and he screamed bloody murder until he was picked up – each time falling asleep back in my arms. This went on till gone 7am. And on his morning nap – well, I returned home to find him once again in Grandma’s arms “He seemed so content sleeping on me” she protested when she saw my pained expression.

So, is it just a coincidence that for the last few days he’s fighting sleep in his cot? I’m just not sure. But it does make me question whether I should say anything. My husband was peeved that I’d mentioned it to him “pick your battles, Mum’s here to help…be grateful”. And I’m more than aware that I’ll not be at home for the next few days – so how will I even know what’s going on?

So there lies my quandary – just what do you “let go” when it comes to those helping out with your kids? Should you expect your way of doing things to be respected – or if you’re getting ‘free’, well intended help, should you just put up and shut up?

I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Love Sarah xxx

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Lucy January 30, 2013 at 2:35 pm

Very tricky, depends how long Mil is staying for?!* Problem is she might not be so keen on helping out again if you say something. Different if you we’re paying someone think it might be best to put up and shut up for the time being.


Sarah January 30, 2013 at 9:40 pm

Hi Lucy, she’s staying for 8 days, so long enough to alter his routine. I’m glad I bit the bullett and said something though – I was beginning to get quietly angry and that’s a horrid feeling. MIL has taken it very well – she knows she indulges out of sheer love and that’s no bad thing – but appriciates I can’t do the same 24/7! xxx


Lydia January 30, 2013 at 3:48 pm

Oh! Such a pickle…but you are right and I’m afraid your MIl and husband are wrong. It is not coincidence, it is him changing his preferences due to a change in circumstance. Yes, she is being helpful, and yes I can see your husband’s point, however it is you that will have to start all over again with trying to generate a positive of the cot and you that will have to feel guilty when he screams because you don’t have the time or energy to allow him to sleep on you the way granny does… I’m lucky that my MIL always asks what we are doing as far as sleeping/feeding/bathing/cuddles go…but she works with babies for a living and so has dealt with lots of mums and their different ways, I am very, very lucky! However, I would stick to your guns and just explain to her – if you feel able – that as long as he is awake she can cuddle as much as she likes and if she wants to put him down in his cot that is also fine, but when it comes to sleeping and napping you are trying to associate the cot as a good place to be and you’d love it if she could help you with this. Maybe putting this “helping” spin on it might make her feel better! Don’t doubt yourself lovely, you know your baba better than anyone! xxx


Sarah January 30, 2013 at 9:37 pm

Hi Lydia, thanks for the great advice. We actually did have a very similar chat yesterday – and I think we’re on the same page now. It’s hard because the way us Mums do things now has changed so much since my and my husbands own mums were doing it…So lovely to have their support though. Tonight we introduced his first sleeping companion – Roger the Rabbit *fingers crossed* it helps him feel more settled xxx


MummyMindglow January 30, 2013 at 4:33 pm

Tricky, I’ve always had to pay for any kind of help not having family close by, so I’d probably just be so grateful for the support I wouldn’t dare say anything incase she decided not to come back and help out again. Depends how much it disrupts the routine, being a bit of a routine freak I think it would do my head in if it was for any length of time.


Sarah January 30, 2013 at 9:34 pm

Hi Lucy, oh I hate to grumble, but yes, it really seems to have thrown him…and I guess I feel it more as I spent so long on my own a couple months ago (during the day when hubby’s at work) picking him up/putting him down – the easy route for me would be to cuddle – though even that at night is so tiring! We had a chat and I’m really pleased because we’re on the same page now…and no hurt feelings. I think.

I’m so grateful for the help though – must be even tougher when you don’t have fsmily nearby for support xxx


Sarah January 30, 2013 at 9:41 pm

I am blown away by your replies – thank you so much for sharing your thoughts xxx


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