If ever there was a group of people the dictionary definition of damned if you do, damned if you don’t, it’s new mums.
Bottle feed? Unnatural! Breastfeed? Inappropriate! Don’t go back to work? You’re failing feminism! Return to employment? You must hate your baby! Put your baby in a cot to sleep? Too distant! Sleep together in bed? That baby is going to get crushed and you, yes you!, will be entirely to blame!
In a nutshell, whatever you do, someone will always have something negative to say.
It emerged today that the New Zealand Prime Minister and new mum Jacinda Ardern has been criticised for taking an unnecessary costly flight to minimise time away from her baby.
Ardern, who gave birth to her daughter Neve in June, opted to take a different flight to Pacific Islands Forum in Nauru than her deputy, which is said to have cost the taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars.
Of course the situation isn’t ideal. But to the ever-growing mummy-shaming brigade, would the alternative, abandoning her baby in favour of work commitments, have been preferable? Probably not.
Like many criticisms new mums face, it’s very much a lose–lose situation.
So we spoke to some mums and compiled a list of real-life criticisms they've faced about their parenting. So trust us, you are not alone, and you’re doing great.
1) “My daughter slept in my bed with me from new-born until she was three! Obviously got all the comments about how she should have her own cot etc”
2) “I went back to work three weeks after giving birth to my third. Everyone had something to say about it, even when I told them the nanny brought her in every day so I could breast-feed”
3) "Most surround breast-feeding. I’ve been told I shouldn’t be drinking diet drinks as the aspartame is dangerous"
3) "That I shouldn’t be wearing deodorant incase she ingests it while feeding!"
4) "There’s never any praise for the fact I’m still exclusively breastfeeding her at 5 months – only comments on how I could do it better!"
5) "If I do things that are ‘against the rules’ like moving her into her own room and starting weaning before 6 months, then I tend to keep it quiet to avoid negative comments!"
6) "I was told a restaurant is an unsuitable environment for a baby... Oh please!"
7) "I left my baby with my mum for the evening when she was a couple of weeks old, and people were very rude about it."
8) “I definitely don’t tell healthcare professionals that I’ll drink 125ml of wine and still feed her…”
9) “I’ve been given looks when breastfeeding my baby in public but also given looks when getting out a bottle of ready-made formula to feed my niece. So it often feels like you can’t win.”
10) “My dad referred to labour as a ‘performance’. If it was a performance, it was the Exorcist.”
11) “My husband went back to work when my son was two weeks old, so I was left for ten and a half hours a day, completely on my own, with a baby who only stopped screaming when he was being pushed in his pram – rocking didn’t count. One evening, my husband arrived home and the baby was crying so he asked me if I’d fed him. HAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHAHAHAHAH yes, I completely forgot to feed him today, that must be what it is.”
12) “My dad told me my son was trying to manipulate me when he cried. He was six weeks old. I can’t even…”
13) “My sister said my son was crying ‘crocodile tears’. He was six months old.”
14) “People HATE is when I get on the quiet carriage on the train with my toddler, but it’s the only compartment with enough space for me to leave the pushchair up, so the only one he can sleep in. The problem is the train company, not me."
15) "I got told my car seat would strangle my baby!"
16) "I really struggled to breast-feed, and didn't hear the end of it when in I decided to opt for bottles. It was a hard enough decision without the judgment!"
17) "Someone told me I was changing his nappy too often once... weird"
18) "That I pick him up too often!"
19) "Everyone was a but judgmental that I didn't pick his name straight away... I'm indecisive, OK?!"
20) "I made the really tough decision not to return to work after my maternity leave was up, and still get negative comments about it now... two years later!"
21) "That I shouldn't give her a dummy..."
22) "Spending too much on clothes for our first!"
23) "I got told I shouldn't bring my baby on aeroplanes... as if I wasn't stressed enough trying to calm him down on a six hour flight!"
24) "I've been told off several times for forgetting to cut my baby's nails"
25) "That I'm not supporting her head properly, even though I definitely am."
26) "I often get tutted at for taking my pram on the tube!"
27) "I got told off for dressing her in a headband when she was a few weeks old. They said it would hurt her head..."
28) “I once got told off by an old lady for not putting booties on her when she was about 16 weeks old because she would catch a cold (y’know, when she did nothing but lie in a pram and sleep)…”
29) “… But then I got told off by a family member because I’d put shoes on her before she could properly walk because it will stop her from learning to walk”
30) “I got shamed by a mum at a baby group for not breastfeeding and that I was restricting her development because of it. But my baby learnt to sit up and roll before her baby, so…”
31) “I had an old man tell me I shouldn’t buy her a blue duck because she is a girl."
32) "I've been told i'm a cruel mother and my baby will have abandonment issues and anxiety because i used controlled crying to teach her to sleep (this was from a so called friend who doesnt have kids)."
33) "I'm a mum of twins, and trying to take two babies out in public on my own is a challenge. I have been stopped on numerous occasions by people who said things like 'why has she brought them to this restaurant if she can't keep them quiet'?"
34) "Being constantly asked if he was wearing suncream... he definitely was!"
35) "That I should put more layers on them, even when it's not cold!"
36) "I get told by so many people that I shouldn't post pictures of her on Instagram"
37) "That her name is too common!"
38) "For spending too much time worrying about getting into shape after giving birth.... definitely my decision."
39) "That I'm TOO besotted with my baby. As if that's such a crime?"
40) "That I should wait longer to have another baby... like it's any of their business."