I Kept My Big Mouth Shut…

As a former teacher, I have a tendency to lecture inform share my knowledge with others, particularly in museums and in the globally-influenced decor aisle of Target.

But I really, really try to keep my yap quiet when it comes to casual strangers and their parenting. Almost every day someone stops me and asks me about my sling or diaper bag or something else and I’m happy to share. But if I am not asked for my advice, I don’t go around shoving it in people’s faces.

There’s that saying about opinions being like a certain part of the anatomy–just because everyone has one, doesn’t mean we need to hear yours.

Of course, if I saw a child locked alone in a car or a parent beating a child, I would call the authorities, but if it is merely a matter of parenting style, I do remain silent.

Parenting becomes so wrapped up in our identities, particularly for those who are the primary caretakers. Certainly no new parent who hasn’t asked needs to be bombarded with my opinions on breastfeeding, plastic, or shopping cart covers.

There are times, though, when a parent, seems to be unknowingly putting her child at risk and I don’t know where to draw the line.

The other day, I was walking along, with Baby Diva in one of our many slings. Another mother was wearing her baby in a Baby Bjorn and we locked eyes and shared a smile, an unspoken babywearers’ bond.

And then I caught my breath and almost opened my mouth.

No, I wasn’t going to tell her that hard carriers may hinder baby’s proper hip placement–that falls under the smile, nod, didn’t ask, so don’t tell category.

What I saw was a very young infant, adorably passed out, but with his head thrown almost all the way back. The carrier was so loose that if baby was any larger, mom would certainly be unable to walk. I was concerned that baby could fall out and even more concerned that he couldn’t breathe properly in that position.

So, should I have said something? Or was it none of my business? Where do you draw the line?

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  1. Dana Bee says:

    Good question. Maybe an, “Oh, your baby’s head is falling out, let me help.” Would be okay. But, you never know how someone will take it.

  2. I don’t know…negligence is such a gray area. Is it purposeful or is it ignorance? And how do we respond. I don’t know. I try to listen to my instincts, but people are so sensitive. I just don’t know either.

  3. Amy says:

    Ack! Tough one. I think maybe I’d have asked her how her sling adjustments work, as I was thinking of buying that kind. And maybe part of that conversation could be that it looks loose, does it feel secure, what do you think of how it positions his head, kind of thing?

  4. Kelli says:

    I’d say none of your business. You just never know how people will react.

  5. Pamela says:

    Mama – You have a way with words and I’m sure you could have stopped for a moment and traded babywearing info and inquired about hers and maybe helped her adjust the device. This would have helped the baby and maybe given her some much needed information. :) – Yes you should have said something but more on the sly.

  6. Mommy Bits says:

    That is a hard question to answer. It would be different if you knew them, but strangers might not take it the right way.