Socks and food and other baby dramas

baby feet

I never really interacted much with moms or babies before joining this special tribe of motherhood. I didn’t particularly like babies. I mean sure, they’re cute and stuff, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to look at one or ooh and aah. But, if I saw a pregnant woman or family with small children walking towards a closed door or carrying things, I’d always open doors or offer to help; if waiting behind a mother and child in the checkout at a store I’d smile, make faces at the kid and maybe tell the mom or dad how adorable or charming their child was.

You know, normal, good human being stuff. But I’d never try to hold someone’s person, I tried to avoid asking weirdly personal questions, and generally just limited my engagement to compliments and smiles or understanding before moving on. I wish more people were like me from back then.

There are two categories of people who are driving me crazy, but both fall into about the same age range – the 40-60 year old ladies who think they know better than me what’s right for my kid.

I was reminded of it on Monday. I went to a local mall to return a whole pile of baby clothes that Harley didn’t need. Either she’d already grown out of it before ever getting to wear it, or they were colors and designs that truly were not a fit for how I like to dress her. Most of it was pink. Anyway, while walking around the mall with her, people kept commenting on how beautiful she is, how adorable, how charming… but why isn’t she wearing socks! The poor child, she’s going to get cold.

Um, first of all, no she isn’t. If you feel her feet, they’re warm. She naturally runs warm, and generally hates wearing socks or shoes, preferring to use her feet like hands – an extra means of exploring the world around her. Second of all, do you really think I’m an idiot or something? What response were they expecting?

“Oh wow, I’ve never heard of socks? You mean there’s an article of clothing that can keep feet warm? I should try that for my baby. Thank you so much, random stranger, for informing me of this unique and revolutionary item for my baby.”

Converse onesie with hat and socks
The only socks Harley has consented to. She has good taste.

Of course I have socks for Harley. She screams when I put them on her because she’s already so hot and socks just make her uncomfortable. If it’s really cold, I might get away with putting her in a onesie with feet on it, but usually she just kicks and cries until I free up her feet, at which point she smiles at me. If that’s not communication of what she wants, what is? Obviously I keep Harley warm, just like I keep her safe and fed – why do strangers feel the need to tell me how to take care of my baby?

But then there’s the touchier subject… You see, Harley is starting solids. I’ve talked about it before. I did my research and decided to go the baby led weaning route. I’ve been exposing Harley to a variety of foods, from avocado to butternut, from oats to tapenade, and she even tried her hand at some Chinese dumplings the other night. So far, she really isn’t showing much interest in actually eating the food, but she’s having fun playing with it and sometimes licking or tasting it. There really is no rush, though – she still gets everything she needs from breastmilk, so food is just for fun at this stage.

Unfortunately, my in-laws don’t quite get it. I’ve had to deal with a bunch of comments in recent months, asking when I was going to wean, or start solids or whatever. Once I mentioned that I’m starting solids, they promptly went out and bought Harley baby cereals – exactly the stuff that I will never feed her. I was polite and said thanks, but that it wasn’t what I would give Harley but I appreciate the gesture. They then privately crapped on Dean about it, asking why I wasn’t feeding Harley the food they bought for her. I’ve heard them moan about how Harley needs food, although I think it’s just their own selfish fantasies – if Harley weans off the boob, I’ll just drop her off with them, right? Once she’s off the boob, they can replace me. It’s weird.

But it got far worse yesterday. Harley got to meet her great aunt yesterday – Dean’s mom’s sister. She’s a nice lady and we have always gotten along. There we sat, Dean’s sister, his mom and his aunt, all having coffee and chatting. Dean’s mom offered Harley a cookie and I stopped her, saying she wasn’t allowed it. They said “oh” and we moved on. I later offered Harley some cheese and a taste of avo, both of which she refused.  However, sitting there at Mugg & Bean, Dean’s aunt proceeded to scoop up some guacamole with her finger and SHOVE HER FINGER IN HARLEY’S MOUTH! I quite sternly told her, “You DON’T put food in my baby’s mouth!” – she didn’t apologize, just looked a bit aghast that I would correct her.

Really though, who does that? Why would anyone think it is okay to feed someone else’s baby, especially without asking the mom first? And to use her finger, which who knows if it’s clean or if she even washed her hands after whatever shopping she’d been doing! Dean’s sister was also horrified, and I honestly feel so bad her for when it’s her turn with a baby – on the one hand I’ll have broken in her family, but on the other hand it might be much harder for her to tell her own family members what to do.

I cleared the air with the family, making it abundantly clear that Harley was never going to eat baby food, that no one was to feed her except me and Dean, just as no one was to discipline her except me and Dean. It’s bizarre to me that I’d even need to make those kinds of statements, that I’d need to clarify any confusion, but at least now I have, so it should be totally clear what is and is not allowed with my baby.

I am so tired of people of a certain age telling me and Dean how to raise our little goblin. Their advice is all based on when they had kids, 20-30 years ago. I get it, they have some cool things to pass on, but a lot of it is dangerous and proven to be incorrect. Plus, it’s not even like they were particularly well informed back in the day. So it’s not advice from 40-60 year old ladies based on a wealth of experience, it’s 20-30 year old advice from a 20-25 year old mom. Some of it might have worked for them, and that’s great, but I’m Harley’s mom and I know what’s best for me and her.


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  • Luchae Williams

    Argh, same sitch with my MIL. I just ignore her now… Literally, I pretend she never spoke. I think its working lol

    • Her Highness the Hipster

      LOL! heard about a few ladies who do that – sit on their phones when forced to visit in laws, ignore those they don’t like. apparently it’s quite relaxing 😛

  • Jonelle

    Ohhhh my gosh I was just nodding along the entire time I read this. Mandy-Lee had said I should read your blog, that we have a lot in common but boy I didn’t realise it would be like reading words from my own mouth. I am SO tired of explaining to everyone that Oden eats what we eat, that he has from 6months old. That NO, he won’t choke, that NO he doesn’t need purees and that NO, he doesn’t eat purity out of a bottle either. I honestly believe we all have different styles of parenting and that’s okay but I really don’t appreciate people telling me what to do with my child. He also gets so hot so quickly – luckily for me my resting bitch face means strangers don’t really comment on anything to me (I look like I’d bite your face off if you tried) and my family have quickly learnt that their “well meaning” advice is useless here. I honestly can’t believe that someone would SHOVE their gross finger into her mouth. That is so disgusting. I’d have shoved some of my food into her mouth and said “how do you like that?”

    • Her Highness the Hipster

      Yes! I’ve been a bit of a lurker on your blog as well – feel like our journey has been so similar in a bunch of ways. *biggest hugs* And so glad I’m not the only one having this fight. Oh, and believe me, if they ever try to feed my little one again, i will force feed them, and that will be the last time that they’re allowed around the kid.

      • Jonelle

        <3 it's weird, even the Home Affairs struggle is something we've been going through as a family for TEN years – here's hoping yours isn't that kind of hell! Huge hugs and glad we've connected! xx

  • Horrors! It’s good that you spoke your mind!
    Love the way you are raising her!

    • Her Highness the Hipster

      Thank you so much!

  • Lizzard

    Trust me. You are a lot more civil than I. My tolerance will not go that far. Let it be known.

    • Her Highness the Hipster

      lol! replaying it in my head before bed, I was a lot less civil. and if anything even remotely similar happens again, the consequences might be a lot more severe…

  • Naxie

    some of us um, older women – are utterly impressed with how you are raising your precious princess. i learn so much from you, zoe – it’s really not an age thingy – it’s about being respectful of YOU as the one who knows what’s best for your baby and more, that you and only you – and dean – get to make all decisions about harley. people of any age can be jerks and highly insensitive – or they can be open to learning, eager to be helpful – and who know better than to shove guacamole into harley’s mouth. that is so gross – and shows someone who doesn’t have a clue about boundaries….and as someone else said, who knows if this woman even washed her hands before shoving the guacamole….

    anyway, i love you and harley so much and i’m just appalled about this incident….yikes!

    • Her Highness the Hipster

      INDEED! definitely didn’t meant to be age-ist at all, it’s a commonality but by no means a comment on all ladies of that age. LOL
      And thank you so much for all your support and encouraging words. I love that I can share every step in this process with you and that you always have such wonderful things to say to me. It makes such a difference. Love YOU so much.

  • konfab

    If Harley is at 7 months, then it is likely she won’t get absolutely everything she needs from breast milk. Specifically Iron.

    • Her Highness the Hipster

      Thanks for the heads up – I had read about that. Definitely something they warn about, although newer info and research indicates that breast milk actually has everything baby needs for longer. Of course, I also have her checked out at the clinic on a monthly basis to ensure she is healthy, and they keep testing and checking on her and saying she is above and beyond healthy – never even would have bet she was a preemie. 🙂

      • konfab

        Good to be safe 🙂

  • Zayaan27

    Good on you for standing up like that! It’s such a struggle with the older generation.

    Good luck with the baby led weaning. R liked sweet potato fries baked in the oven. Also there’s a great site called My Lovely Little Lunchbox that has some great BLW recipes for when she’s bit more interested.

    • Her Highness the Hipster

      and bookmarked! such a nice resource for when she’s actually starting to EAT the food instead of just playing and then setting it aside. I must also try and make sweet potato fries – I love them, too! 😛

      • Zayaan27

        Yeah! I finished them when he didn’t! Everyone wins.

  • Lol I know I asked you where is baby’s socks too! Hahaha 😛 Good on you for writing this!

    • Her Highness the Hipster

      haha 😛 it’s fine – i can laugh about socks, at least you didn’t put food in her mouth 😉
      it’s scary, but response has been great. don’t be afraid to say the truth. <3

  • KaleidoscopingMe

    Good on you for putting this out there! I’ve had similar run ins with family and friends. Needless to say, after setting the record straight they know not to venture down that path again. Haha. Keep on keeping at being Harleys mom!

    • Her Highness the Hipster

      Thanks so much! 🙂
      Here’s hoping I get the same results after setting the record straight 😛

  • Anthea O’Neill

    I hear you! When my son was 4 months old and still purely breast fed my husband’s grandmother fed him a chomp chocolate in the other room!!!!!!!! I was told she raised 7 children and they grew up normal aaraagahhhhgg!!!!!

    • Her Highness the Hipster

      GAH!! that’s insane. and she knew it was wrong or she wouldn’t have done it in another room! the nerve of some people is just horrible.

  • Mariza Maz Halliday

    Amen sister! I went through exactly the same thing… Exactly. Guess what, I did it my way and my kids are alive, healthy and happy.

    • Her Highness the Hipster

      Amazing how many people seem to go through this! So glad you also stuck to your guns and did it your way – gives me hope that I can do the same and my little one will survive 😛

  • Martha Madigan

    Same issues with my MIL. They told me my 5 month old didn’t want his bottle anymore because he was hungry for a real meal. WHAT?!?! Because pureed peaches is “a real meal”?? I had to have a mini-fight with my husband to convince him this is the best route and his parents’ knowledge from 30 years ago no longer holds true. It’s taken them a few months, but they are all finally coming around and now are in awe of how much he eats. My 8-month old LOVES FOOD. Everything you put on his tray, he will eat it. We also had the sock battles. MIL wanted to cover him up with multiple blankets when it’s 70deg outside. ummm he’s sitting in a styrofoam carseat…HE’S HOT! See those pink cheeks? He’s hot, not blushing at your lame cooing.

    • Zoe Hawkins

      lol, next time i’m hungry, totally going to have pureed peaches as my real meal 😛
      But yeah, the sock/blanket thing really doesn’t make sense to me. Babies make it clear when they’re uncomfortable – they have no qualms about crying because of being hot, cold, or just generally not happy. You’re the mom, you spend the most time with him – you know when he’s hot or cold.

  • Sad truth. Family interfere. How old is Harley now?

    And seriously what is up with people and socks? Drives me mad!
    Here’s some science for people. Babies lose heat from the soft spot on the top of their head.
    Flu enters through the mouth or nose over the air. Not a kids feet.
    Or the finger of someone who didn’t wash their hands after touching a trolley, hand rail, chair back etc in the middle of flu season and promptly shove said finger in a kid’s mouth.

    Please share your thoughts older generation but do not demand we raise our kid the same way you lot did.
    Sincerely: 31 year old dad of a still alive and healthy 19mo.

    So grateful my parents and in laws respect our choice of parenthood style

    • Zoe Hawkins

      She’s 7 months old now – can you believe it?? Time has gone so quickly. And yours is 19 months?? How has it already been so long?
      Exactly – I have no issues with people sharing thoughts, anecdotes, or whatever else. Happy to hear all kinds of stories and advice and whatnot, but not to criticize or force me to do things a certain way.

      • Yeah 19 months. Can you believe it? It’s scary how fast time flies when you have a kid.

  • Ursula Van Lelyveld

    You sing my song. My in-laws made it very clear that they felt my little titties couldn’t hold enough milk for what my child needed and I got so sick of defending my choice. Then when MIL knew that I would not allow coke she gave it to my son.

    • Zoe Hawkins

      crazy! I just don’t understand how people can have no boundaries – boggles my mind.

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