FILE THIS under OMG, WTF and #AreYouKiddingME????
A young mom in Arizona is getting called out online over some of the controversial parenting practices she follows. Alice Bender shares a lot of “parenting hot takes” on TikTok, including her support of unassisted home births, family bed sharing and her belief that there’s nothing wrong with letting her eight-month-old son put basically anything he wants in his mouth. The 22-year-old is a strict vegan and her son is exclusively breastfed, except for the sand, rocks and sticks she lets him have.
In one TikTok video, she responds to a follower who asked why she lets her baby eat sand, saying she lets him “eat sticks, rocks, dirt, sand and lick unsanitized shopping carts” because she doesn’t “fear bacteria,” she “welcomes it.” Bender believes that germs help build a robust immune system and science is actually on her side here. Some studies have found that mice raised in sterile, germ-free environments developed weaker immune systems and the same has been seen in humans.
But here’s the thing, along with “good” bacteria that helps your gut, “bad” bacteria also exists. And so do choking hazards! So while this mom thinks it’s okay to let her baby stick random things in his mouth and rarely intervenes when he does, people are quick to call her out over it. In one TikTok, Bender says, “I trust nature and my baby,” and users respond with comments like, “there’s a reason why 100 years ago it was common for people’s kids to die before the age of five.” There are also a few who back the mom up, like one who writes, “This is how babies build their immune systems.”
But most comments are more like this one, “Are you out of your mind?”
HT: CAFE MOM!