Dear Savvy Auntie,

Editors Note: This Dear Savvy Auntie question was originally posed in the Closed Savvy Auntie Facebook Group and shared here with permission.

My husband comes from a large family. He is one of eight kids. This is concerning one of his sisters who is an auntie to my niece and nephew.

When my nephew was a baby just starting to eat solids, this aunt would feed him things that his mom didn't want him to eat. He had acid reflux and was/is also allergic to eggs. I would be around when she would say: "Don't tell your mom" and proceed to feed him things after being told he couldn't have it. There were times if it happened in my presence when I would speak up, and times when I wouldn't.

Fast forward to now and he has a 4-month-old sister. At the Super Bowl party, I was holding the baby niece and her aunt, my sister-in-law, said to her: "When you're older, and your mother isn't around, I'm going to feed you just like I did your brother."

I'm the "follow the rules, respect the mom's wishes" - type Auntie, while my sister-in-law is the "let the kid do and eat whatever he or wants as long as it makes them happy" -type Auntie. I didn't say anything in that moment because honestly I've worked on keeping my mouth closed concerning my husband's family so I don't stir the waters. I'm wondering if I should even be upset about it at all. Should I tell my nephew's and niece's mother - or leave it alone?

Respecting Wishes

Dear Respecting Wishes,

I commend you for trying to curb your sister-in-law about feeding your nephew Willy Nilly without confronting her constantly. However, I agree with all the Aunties who point out how dangerous it can be to have a child who has an allergy be given food he is allergic to.

I support the idea of speaking to your husband about the situation. I also think you should speak to the mom and encourage her to speak up on behalf of her child and his safety and health. Minimally, there should be an accessible EpiPen in case of an allergic reaction.

Your desire to maintain a positive relationship among the family members is lovely and a very difficult campaign. I suggest you take a look at my book, The Sense Connection, as it will be helpful for you to be more effective in communicating with your large family.

I wish lots of good luck,
Natalie Robinson Garfield

Homepage photo: lufimorgan 

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