As the pregnancy editor for Parents, sister magazine to American Baby, I spend my days reviewing new medical studies with top obstetricians, getting women to open up about some of the less glamorous parts of becoming a mom (hello, heartburn!), and sending gazillions of happy congratulatory emails to the new parents I meet along the way. My work life spills over into my personal life to such a degree that I should probably call my Facebook page "Babybook." On any given day, about a third of all the posts in my newsfeed are baby- or pregnancy- related. And you know what? I love it! I love the cute baby toes and sweet bedtime rituals. I love watching as strong women evolve into superhero mothers. Except for sometimes.
Specifically, I'm talking about digital TMI. Just the other morning, while finishing up my bowl of corn flakes, I came across a giant photo of baby spit-up. Ewww ...
Thinking I couldn't be the only one feeling frustrated, I asked women on Facebook to share the kind of posts that make their stomach churn. Check out these top social-network no-no's.
I wouldn't be surprised if the saying "blood, sweat, and tears," originated in a maternity ward. As rational adults, we all know that blood is a necessity of life -- but yeah, a lot of us are still a bit squeamish. So think twice before putting Carrie-esque birth photos online. "Someone posted pics of her home-birth gore and the placenta laying in her shower," commented one Arizona mom. "I've had two children, and that was still disturbing." Rule of thumb? Anything that was once inside of you, with the exception of your baby, should be kept for your own private viewing (if you're into that sort of thing!).
The next online no-no is number two -- that's right, I'm talking about poo. We know it's not just in the diaper. It's on the changing table. On your pants. In your hair. That doesn't mean your peeps online need to witness the madness. "I once saw a post of a mom looking for advice on how to stop her son from taking off his diaper, accompanied by a photo of her son sitting in his poop -- which happened to be smeared all over his crib!" a shocked Facebook fan wrote.
Yet another woman commented that friends in her newsfeed who are parents post pics of stool, asking whether it looks normal. Her reaction? "Gag." And I couldn't agree with her more.
The truth is, even the most "tasteful" nearly naked photos of you and your growing bump (though you're obviously gorge) make us uncomfortable. Resist the urge to share them on Instagram. And for heaven's sake, make sure that anyone else you invite into the delivery room knows the value of discretion. Case in point: "A friend posted pictures of another friend giving birth. They included vajayjay and boob shots. I would have been pissed!" shared a West Coast Facebook fan.
The verdict on baby nudity was also nearly unanimous -- tiny tushies are adorable, but posting full-frontal nude pics of your kids plainly isn't smart. You may think that only your nearest and dearest are seeing little Junior's junk, but there are sickos out there who know how to get around your security settings.
This might seem like a no-brainer, but never, ever, ever post anything even mildly sexual about your kid. We know you mean them as a joke, but they just come off as being in poor taste. Personally, I don't care for cute-baby pics captioned with sexual puns such as "Boob Man." But that's just the tip of the iceberg. A Texas woman commented that on her current birth board, "someone posted a shot from the ultrasound asking pals to compare her son's body with those of other 'well-endowed' kids. That was í¼ber-creepy!" Ask yourself this before uploading anything questionable: If another parent said the same thing about your child, would it upset you? Would you think that person sounded like a predator? If yes, don't share!
Baby's running a fever? Got heat rash? Flushed cheeks? Glassy eyes? Put down the camera, step away from Facebook, and take care of her! Even if you're just looking for support, these photos can seem exploitive to your network. "When I see sick-kid pics, I think, Go hug your child instead of trying to get likes and comments out of it," posted a North Carolina mom. Look at it this way: We all want to be seen at our best, and I bet that if your child had a choice, she'd feel the same.
Originally published in the March 2014 issue of American Baby magazine.