Mom Takes to Reddit to Explain Why It's Never OK to Comment on a Baby's Size
The parent's story should serve as a reminder that babies come in all shapes and sizes—and that unsolicited child-rearing advice from the peanut gallery is almost never wanted.
New parenthood is full of worries: Is my baby eating enough? Am I holding them too much or too little? Will I ever sleep again?
And just when you think you're finally—well, maybe—on the right track, in comes unsolicited advice and observations from family, friends, and complete strangers at the mall.
One new mom recently ran into one of those vocal so-called parenting experts while on a shopping trip with Baby, and she took to Reddit to vent her frustrations.
Things started innocently enough.
"My husband and I went to the mall today with our 21-week-old baby," wrote u/JustWhy777 in the Beyond the Bump subreddit. "This lady and her baby came in on the elevator with us. We started out with pleasant talk… She looked at my baby and asked how old. I said almost five months."
And then it started.
"She said, 'Well Is he crawling?'" the mom continued. "I said, 'No, not yet, but I'm sure soon he will get there.' She said, 'My little guy is six months and crawling.' I said, 'Wow, you must be busy these days.'"
This would be a good time to remind people that every child develops at different paces. Experts say crawling typically begins around six to nine months, but some kids never crawl at all.
The two parents got off the topic of motor development and switched to talking about food. The other mom told the original poster (OP) about her child's (apparently) fantastic eating habits and then asked about her baby's. OP mentioned she was waiting until five months to start her child with baby food. (The general recommendations for starting solids range from four to six months.)
The other mom informed her that she "needed to start now. He is too tiny." Then, she asked about formula.
"[She asked,] 'Are you feeding him until he is full?'" the Redditor recalled. "At this point, I was getting angry. She kept saying [that] my baby is too tiny. She showed me her baby and said, 'Look, this what your baby should be looking like.'"
The other woman apparently kept going , ending the conversation with, "Your baby is too small for his age."
"I said, 'Thanks for [your] unwanted advice,'" the OP said.
Not that the OP owed anyone a further explanation, but she mentioned in the post that her baby is in the fifth percentile.
"I just wish other moms wouldn't assume things about my baby," she said. "Just ask yourself, 'Would you like another stranger to think you aren't doing a good job just because your baby doesn't look like what you think one should look like?' Probably not. Mind your damn business. You ain't a doctor."
"We're in the same boat… Pediatrician has never been concerned… I get tired of saying, 'Yes, really, he's 15 months old' when people say he's too small for his age," one person said.
"I have never understood how people think they are actually helping when they do this," another Redditor lamented.
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"If that woman were the expert she thinks she is, she'd know that babies vary in size, growth rates, and needs," another replied.
Amen to this. I also had a baby on the bottom of the weight curve. As a pumping mom, I was his sole source of nutrition, so questions like, "Are you sure he's eating enough?" cut extra deep.
My pediatrician reiterated to me that babies grow on their own curve. Pediatricians have access to the typical growth chart, which is determined by the World Health Organization, not strangers on elevators, your mom, or your aunt.
The bottom line: Your child's doctor will let you know if something is off. Everyone else should pipe down.