The great parenting debate

Once you become a parent you soon learn that people likes to judge, pass comment and strike up debate about everything. And I mean everything.

Whether it's breast or formula, bed sharing or a Moses basket, cloth nappies or disposable nappies, self soothing or rocking to sleep... there's always one busy body who has something to say about it all.

I mentioned in my blog the other day how we had started weaning Peyton this last week. We started initially on some baby porridge before giving her pureed vegetables. I mentioned we got the Cow and Gate baby porridge because it was the only one I could see in Boots that was gluten free, and my health visitor told me to not give any gluten before five or six months (can't remember which!) 

I joined a baby led weaning group on Facebook as, ideally, I'd like to do this with Peyton. Possibly with a mixture of purees, but we'll see how we get on.

Anyway, my point (there is one, I promise!)... some of the comments I see on people's posts on this group are absolutely shocking. People genuinely asking for advice or support, and the perfect mum brigade putting them down.

I've seen someone ask if it was ok to start giving puree veg to their little one from four/five months, then do BLW from six months. Only for someone to jump in and say "well, no, because that won't be baby led weaning it'll be baby less weaning."

Well, hang on love, it's clearly not "baby less weaning" unless you were just feeding vegetable puree to your child's high chair. If the food is going in the baby's mouth, I'd say you're managing to wean said baby. Of course, it's not baby led by definition, but there's nothing to say you can't start baby led later down the line.

Another post, on the same group, really rattled my cage. It was from a mum asking if she could start her little one with baby led weaning a couple of weeks before they were six months because they were showing all the signs. The comments were completely split down the middle - half of them saying it was fine as guidelines state "around six months" and the other half saying no.

The half saying no didn't just say no, though. They tore into this poor woman like there was no tomorrow. One woman even had the audacity to say she would risk killing her baby by starting doing BLW before six months because of the choking risk. Slightly overdramatic I'd say, but completely and utterly unwarranted.

Now, I'm no health professional, but I really don't see what difference there will be in your baby in a matter of days. Peyton will turn six months on December 20, but I don't know what she will learn/develop overnight from December 19 (when she will be 26 weeks) that means I can't start with her then.

The guidelines say "around six months" and, to me, that means anything two weeks either side.

If it weren't for all the good meal ideas this group has been giving me for when I do start BLW with Peyton I'd be out of it like a shot. But I wanna stay and watch what everyone else is doing, so I'll just continue to get silently annoyed at the judgemental Judys who are picking on every single thing other mums do.

It really, really bugs me how horrible mums can be to each other on these "support" groups. Of course, the majority are helpful, supportive and full of advice. As with anything, it's the minority that ruin it.

It's similar with a breastfeeding support group that I am part of. Don't get me wrong, it's been invaluable to me at times. There's always someone asking something I have been wondering, and I've picked up so much knowledge and support from it.

But people can be mean.

If anyone dare to mention doing formula top ups, they're instantly told not to do it. If anyone has the audacity to ask for tips on weaning their baby off the boob, almost every comment is someone trying to convince them to continue boobing. If anyone asks for tips and advice on expressing milk at any time before eight weeks they're instantly shot down. This bugs me the most, I think, because expressing for me in the early days was not only necessary because my boobs were like gigantic milk-filled rocks that needed the pressure relieving, but so I could have a break and let Tom give her some bottles (and yes, he gave her bottles of formula too - heaven forbid!!!)

I've seen so many people ask the group for tips on stopping breastfeeding and nobody ever gives any advice, just pressures them into continuing. Now I've noticed people justifying their decision to stop - like you should ever have to justify your decision on how you feed your baby to anyone. When I eventually come to stop I won't ask for advice on there, because I know they'll just try talk me out of it. And that's not supportive.

Similarly, when someone says they aren't convinced their supply is enough for their baby so they are giving formula too. Or, like I saw today, one mum said her baby had formula in a bottle when she left her with her dad/grandma. Straight away the comments were "why don't you try expressing some milk and building a freezer stash so she can take that instead of formula?"

Why? What's wrong with formula? If that mum wants to give her baby formula, she can give her baby formula. It's hardly like she's letting her neck a double vodka and coke from a bottle, is it?!

I'm sure the woman who posted that comment did so with all good intentions, but I would've taken that really to heart if I was the mum it was aimed at. Anything that ever seems to bring into doubt or question your parenting, no matter how insignificant, hits you hard.

The screenshot of that tweet that I have posted above, oh my god. When that was first posted it kept getting shared into this support group and people were going mental.

"My kids won't eat Haribo and McDonald's" and "of course it matters whether it's breast or formula" were common.

News flash: it doesn't matter.

If your baby is fed and happy, and you, as a mum, are happy, then that's all that matters. Not everyone can breastfeed, and not everyone wants to. Just because someone can't, for whatever reason, doesn't mean they should be shamed or made to feel bad about it.

Whilst I have my gripes with these support groups, as I said earlier, they have been invaluable to me at times; particularly the breastfeeding support one. It's a shame the minority ruin it for everyone else. It does make me apprehensive sometimes to post when I do genuinely have a question, just incase someone attacks what I am doing.

I haven't posted anywhere, apart from my blog the other day, about starting to wean Peyton. I don't want anyone to comment on what I'm doing, tell me it's too early or question why. I did my research before starting and was confident that P was ready - which she clearly was as she devours what I give her. Of course, other people's opinions don't matter. But, as I said above, as soon as anyone has anything to say about how you parent your baby you take it to heart straight away.

We've so far tried sweet potato, then carrot, and yesterday tried broccoli. So far, broccoli has been her favourite. But, then, broccoli is my favourite, too!

I'm going to start mixing in some new flavours with those base ones, now. I think, next, we'll try broccoli and pea.

Annabel Karmel's book is fabulous for suggesting vegetables and flavours that work together, so we'll start working our way through them.

As I said the other day, I'm not trying to get P onto three meals yet. I'm purely doing it to get her used to new tastes and textures. She seemed so ready for food, and has done so well with it so far that I am glad I didn't wait.

I took her to be weighed on Tuesday and she now weighs 14lb 14oz - so it can't be doing her any harm! She's still following the 50th centile line on her chart, as she has been since she was born. I always offer her a feed from me when we're doing with whatever flavours she is having that day, so even if she doesn't get full up from her 'food' then she still gets the offer of milk from me.

I don't really know what I'm doing, like with everything else. What's working for us at the moment, might not work for someone else and their baby. What flavours, tastes and textures Peyton likes won't necessarily be favourites of another baby. That's what's so wonderful about this journey that we're on, it's completely unique. While that makes it all the more difficult, it's so special. Muddling through it together, working out what works best for you, and seeing the rewards from that.

As long as Peyton remains the happy, smiley baby girl that she is, goes to sleep at night with a fully tummy, and is loved by us then that is all that matters; and that goes for all babies and their mums/dads.

Debate is great, but let's remember we're all new to this. Supporting someone else won't take anything away from you.


  1. I love this! So very true and could be written by myself. We combination fed from birth as my LO was born with hypoglycaemia and formula kept him out of ICU and healthy. I would have given him fish and chips if that’s what he needed right then but was slammed in one of these ‘support’ groups when I mentioned it. I often wonder what these judgemental people are really doing when no one is looking 😂

    1. Haha bless you! Wouldn’t we all, you do what is best for your own baby don’t you. It’s all well and good these “perfect” mums spouting all this wisdom but I bet, if they were in that situation, they’d do whatever was necessary! X

  2. Well said, I’ve thought the same about these groups on Facebook. I rarely comment but last week felt the need to comment on one post when a lady was trying to offer advice to a mum but someone else was just putting her down. There is so much conflicting info about weaning I am just going to do what I want and stop listening to the 100s of different ways it can be done.
    I love ready your blog, my lil girl must only be a couple of weeks younger than Peyton. She is a beautiful baby and looking forward to reading about your journey of a family of 3. Becky x

    1. Oh god isn’t there just!! It’s awful how mean some mums can be about it all, too. Every baby is different and you know your own baby better than anyone.
      Awww really? How lovely! Isn’t it scary how quick they’re growing?! Ah thanks lovely x