We often teach kids that if they can't say anything nice, they shouldn't say anything at all. But as a few riled-up Redditors shared, some grown-ups need a refresher on the rule.

By Beth Ann Mayer
May 26, 2021
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An image of a frustrated woman on a colorful background.
Credit: Getty Images.

In-laws. They say the darndest—and sometimes, most nonsensical and even hurtful—things. At least Reddit is there for moral support.

Recently, one new mama took to Reddit to vent about various inappropriate things her in-laws have said. The first utterly bizarre comment came from her father-in-law, an immunologist who apparently prefers to pick and choose what scientific facts he trusts.

"While I was washing pump parts, he said, 'You guys really don't need to do this [breastfeeding/pumping] anymore. It doesn't matter,'" wrote u/cgdcgd. (FYI: He was referring to the fact that Mom could, and probably should, lean more on formula than breast milk, as he believes its health-boosting qualities for Baby are overhyped.)

Rightfully, Mom was offended by his offensive, and inaccurate, hot take.

"First of all, 'You guys?'" Mom steamed. "When did my husband start lactating? Second, I put so much time and energy into exclusively pumping, so don't tell me it's not important. Third, my kid is only 20 weeks (14 weeks at the time), and I got the J&J vaccine, SO I'D SAY IT'S PRETTY GD IMPORTANT."

She's right. Researchers have found antibodies in the breastmilk of vaccinated lactating individuals, suggesting it may provide some protection to infants. (Plus, fed—regardless of form—is always going to be best.)

This woman's mother-in-law also made some palm-to-face comments.

When discussing the poster's long labor, the mother-in-law apparently said, "I wonder what would have had happened if we had been there. It probably wouldn't have gone on for so long."

After the poster said her child was breastfed, the mother-in-law retorted, "But he's not breastfed. He drinks mostly from a bottle."

Naturally, Mom was understandably so upset she had to make an early exit.

"THAT MILK DOESN'T COME FROM MY ELBOWS, LADY," she vented via the Reddit post. "This comment made my vision blur. I had to leave because my blood pressure was so high."

She closed her post by encouraging fellow Reddit parents to share some of their in-laws' nastiest, or most bizarre, jabs. The thread has 401 comments in less than 24 hours from people eager to commiserate.

"Same day we came home from the hospital, [my mother-in-law] comes into the nursery while I'm trying to breastfeed and has the NERVE to say, 'Wowwww you gained so much weight,'" one person wrote. Someone tell this woman that it can take months to lose the baby weight (if that's your goal, and it's totally okay if it's not).

The anonymous airing of grievances didn't stop there.

"My [father-in-law] once told me, 'Babies that young don't get sick,' when I told him I wouldn't be bringing my two-week-old … to the big family Christmas party," a Redditor wrote. "We got pregnant almost immediately after getting married last year (BUT! we've been dating for 10 years). [My mother-in-law said], 'Well, now that you have kids, you can kiss your marriage goodbye,'" another said.

Here's the truth: Your life and marriage may shift, but those life changes are usually for the better. And it's not just in-laws who are guilty of making strange comments.

"Recently, my mother recommended that I scrub my nipples with sandpaper to toughen them up for Baby. I smiled and thanked her for the advice. But I didn't follow through," one person posted.

Wise choice.

Of course, for better or for worse, your in-laws are family and you can't always cut them off. Here are three tips for keeping the peace:

  1. Be honest. If your family criticizes your parenting choices, experts say it's okay to let them know that you don't appreciate the judgment.
  2. Share information. Your in-laws should be respectful of your decisions because they are yours to make. But sometimes, it may be helpful to bring up a study (like ones indicating that breastfeeding after getting the COVID-19 vaccine may help give baby protection).
  3. Be solutions-oriented. It's valid to feel frustrated by negative comments. But sometimes, it's best to avoid fighting fire with fire—and replacing that bickering with actual solutions. If your in-laws keep giving your child cookies and you have a "no-cookies before dinner" rule, tell them, "They like cheese and grapes for their afternoon snack. Why don't you try that?"