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Concerned about friend's baby

(41 Posts)
Yetsofar Sat 22-Mar-14 20:57:01

So I have a friend who has a baby, he's about 8 months old. I love her so much, and she loves him so much, he's pretty much her whole life now, and I can see that she's trying to be the best mother she possibly can, spending most of her money on his needs, and taking him to baby groups/library groups etc, she had a terrible childhood herself with an abusive mother, so she is absolutely determined to be the opposite of her, and she's doing a brilliant job otherwise.

However, there are a few behaviours that I've seen that have got me slightly concerned for his welfare. I know roughly the stages of development he should be at, (although I know every child is very different) and I do think he's a bit behind. I really don't want to go to social, as I don't believe it's that serious at all, however I'm wondering how to talk to her and if there's any advice I can reasonably give/ resources I could point her to...I don't have a child so I know she's more likely to see it as an insult if I don't handle this right.

- He is stuck in his high chair, IMO far too much. Last time I was over there for example, I was there for 2 1/2 hours and he was in there for almost the whole time, save for nappy changing and a dance on my lap She says that she doesn't want him crawling in the living room as she doesn't have a carpet yet, just floorboards, but I gave her a huge rug not long ago for that purpose.
- She is saying that she will not get him vaccinated, (MMR etc) because of scare stories that she's seen on the internet. I know this is a contentious issue, but it's gotten me worried.
- She is feeding him far too much mushy food. He should be on soft solids by now, but all she gives him, save for soft berries and the occassional rusk, is very mushy baby food, as she says he doesn't like the solid stuff. Surely this will impact speech development?
- She smokes in the house. I'm a smoker myself, but I feel very uncomfortable smoking in any house, let alone with a baby in there. Again, this is a behaviour born out of naivety, as she does it in the kitchen whilst he is in the living room and her family all do it, but I don't know how to get the danger across without seeming stuck up.

I'd like to reiterate that the baby is very well loved, fed more than enough, nappies changed whenever needed, and not at risk of any physical harm or neglect. It's just that she comes from an extremely troubled background and there are some little things which do concern me, as she just doesn't have some of the knowledge, and the last thing I want to do is come across as insulting or patronising.
Has anyone been in a similar situation? Any advice would be appreciated.

elfycat Sat 22-Mar-14 21:11:45

The only thing wrong IME is the smoking. Sitting in a high chair isn't intrinsically wrong, and she has a reason.

Lots of people worry about the MMR and all you can do is to advise her to get better advice than from Dr Google. And like it or not it is the choice of parents' to decide what to do about this.

Mushy food? At 8 months? As long as she has intention to introduce solids at some point I can't see a problem. My DD1 was behind on a lot of things at that age and was on mush and at 5yo just stole half my chinese tonight

I'd suggest that she looks at better websites for information about MMR and smoking near children, but nothing else. As you said they are loved and well cared for in other ways. Everything else is subjective.

Yetsofar Sat 22-Mar-14 21:21:56

Elfy Thanks for the reply. Obviously I'm a bit naive about some things smile Just how much is too much for the highchair though...it seems he is in there a lot, certainly whenever I'm over, and he can crawl, so I'm wondering where he should be practising, so to speak. Surely too much time would delay physical development?

But then, I'm no expert. smile

Forgettable Sat 22-Mar-14 21:21:57

What do you mean by 'go to social'?

She sounds a bit of an anxious first time mama, nothing more

Agree that smoking in the house is pretty awful, though

mymiraclebubba Sat 22-Mar-14 21:22:00

Quite frankly I think you need to mind your own business!

With the exception of the smoking there's nothing in your post that would send red flags. My dd is 7 months and currently prefers mush to real food, at that age it isnabout them learning there is stuff other than milk. All their nnutrition comes from milk and the crap about speech issues is exactly that...crap.

Stop looking for negative things and start being a proper friend

Branleuse Sat 22-Mar-14 21:26:32

i think you need to let her parent her child.
shes not doing anything illegal, or outside the realms of normal.

smoking inside is kind of frowned upon in the uk,and isnt ideal, but most of us were probably brought up like that

bellablot Sat 22-Mar-14 21:29:33

You sound very naive actually and out of order! confused Social services, for what exactly...??? I hate smoking so this would be the only unacceptable thing tbh and even then she does it out if his way, my mother didn't give a rats ass and smoked in front of me, disgusting, but that's my opinion.

I would say, seriously, unless you have something plausible to report you need to support your friend.

ExBrightonBell Sat 22-Mar-14 21:36:45

I think social services wouldn't thank you for wasting their time.

If I were you, I would gently discuss the smoking with her, as that would really bug me. Given that you both smoke, perhaps offer to quit with her for solidarity.

As for being stuck in the high chair for too long, when you're there just ask if you can have him out and play with him yourself. There's not much more you can realistically do, and this is by no means the worst parenting in the world!

aprilanne Sat 22-Mar-14 21:37:29

sorry but if you have no children then you don,t understand .no matter how much you think you do .my eldest son hit all his milestones by text book .my second son did,nt walk until he was nearly two .and my third son would,nt eat solids until nearly 3 and believe me there was nothing wrong with that boy,s speach .everyone is diffrent .smoking is maybe not clever .but hardly the crime of the century

lolalotta Sat 22-Mar-14 21:43:04

Blimey, my DD is 7 months and still on mushy food, I hope someone doesn't report me! wink

Yetsofar Sat 22-Mar-14 21:44:18

Errm, thanks everyone however don't know why I'm being called out of order... I only mentioned social services in case there was some posters who did flip out and suggest there is something seriously wrong. I did not say that I actually had any intention of going to them, quite the opposite.

In fact I am very much trying to 'just help my friend', that's the reason I made a thread on a board full of parents, as I don't have children and was trying to get some advice on how to speak to her and any helpful resources to go to.

littleducks Sat 22-Mar-14 21:51:08

It sounds still within the limits of normal. It isn't how I would chose to parent my child but I don't think it will delay his development. if he is crawling at 8 months he must have had some substantial chunks of time out of the highchair on the for somewhere to learn ifyswim.

mymiraclebubba Sat 22-Mar-14 21:56:50

Because you are out of order op! You don't have kids soyou have no idea what is/iisn't normal and you are looking for things to criticise your "friend" over.

Get over yourself before you ruin your friendship

elfycat Sat 22-Mar-14 21:57:07

At least you didn't put this in AIBU!

I think it's fair to wonder and worry and to ask if you don't have children. And this is parenting so not a bad place to ask. I don't think you are out of order but did think 'huh?'

I remember someone telling me, when I was pregnant with DD1, that this would be the last time I would ever be sure of anything. There are so many major and minor parenting choices. No matter how well researched and evaluated, the amount of conflicting advice is amazing. You just have to muddle through, as best you can.

sebsmummy1 Sat 22-Mar-14 22:01:20

Sorry but does anyone on here keep their child in a high hair got 2.5 hours as standard? I certainly didn't, she needs to sort the flooring out if there is an issue and let her child move around. I think that's appalling.

sebsmummy1 Sat 22-Mar-14 22:01:55

*high chair for

Yetsofar Sat 22-Mar-14 22:05:05

Thanks Elfy and others for reasonable reply. I know how hard it is for her, and she doesn't have a lot of support outside of me and a few friends (she's more like a sister), so I'm trying my best to help her the best I can. I certainly didn't want to offend anyone on her, or her, which is why I came here to have a second opinion.

bubba I'm not looking to criticise at all, that's why I reiterated how much of a loving, caring mother she is in the OP. But I have spent quite a lot of time looking after said child as she is my closest friend and I am one of a very small support network for her, I am naturally looking out for his best interests too. The exact reason I posted here is because I don't have kids and wanted advice from those who do.

elfycat Sat 22-Mar-14 22:08:45

If I had a friend over and my DD was in a high chair doing activity things and didn't seem uncomfortable then I'd leave them as long as I could.

The OP says that the child is taken to babygroups and the library. When I have visitors I know my normal routines go out the window. As a snapshot I might have let my preschoolers watch too much TV. Yeah - because I want to chat to my friends. Normally we make jigsaws, cook, do colouring, plant vegetables, other stuff a it occurs to me and watch TV a bit. Maybe the highchair is used more because the OP is over.

MostWicked Sat 22-Mar-14 22:10:29

Friends don't report their friends to social services!
If you have concerns, talk to her, you are supposed to be her friend. Support her, offer help, offer advice if you know about something, but don't judge when you don't know what you are talking about.

rootypig Sat 22-Mar-14 22:14:22

To answer your question directly OP, it's just not possible. Criticising other people's parenting is so close to the bone emotionally, noone ever does it unless they have serious concerns. And then it's a death knell for your relationship.

I wouldn't like the smoking or non vaccination either but would never dream of saying anything, not my business. I stood and had a fag with a pregnant friend once (she came outside to join me smoking) though I abhor it, because it was none of my business.

mrspatpat Sat 22-Mar-14 22:15:08

Yetsofar, I think you need to accept that she is not doing anything too wrong and your best option is to just support your friend unless she asks for your opinion or advice on a particular topic. Everybody has an opinion on how best to raise a child and I'm sure you will do some things differently when you have your own, but you might just undermine and hurt your friend by picking apart her parenting. The smoking isn't great but not illegal in any way, the mushy food is completely normal at that age for many babies and if the baby is content in the highchair then I wouldn't worry too much about it. Your friend sounds like she has been through a lot and loves her baby very much and is doing her best. You need to step back a bit and ignore the small things and let your friend be a parent. If somebody started questioning all the small things about my parenting I would be very offended. If you respect your friend then respect her decisions regarding her parenting, she is doing fine.

TheScience Sat 22-Mar-14 22:15:15

Social services wouldn't be in the slightest bit interested. All these issues are in the realms of what the health visitor does though - so maybe ask her to talk to her HV about solids, smoking, vaccinations etc.

Everything you have mentioned are just parenting choices. They might not be ideal, but they aren't abusive or illegal. No one has to be a perfect parent.

MiaowTheCat Sat 22-Mar-14 22:17:13

You're not her friend if you're sat there making mental lists of all her parenting flaws. You sound very judgemental about her from the outset - before you get into massively wrong things like the baby being sat in the highchair.

rootypig Sat 22-Mar-14 22:24:24

OP, another thing is, if the baby can crawl, he obviously spends a fair amount of time moving - certainly enough. Crawling at 8mo is not 'behind', developmentally, not remotely.

ShadowFall Sat 22-Mar-14 22:30:12

None of that sounds too abnormal.

I agree that keeping a baby in a high chair (or other sort of chair, whether it's a bouncy chair, jumperoo or whatever) all the time wouldn't be good, but he must have spent plenty of time out of the highchair on the floor to have learnt to crawl. So I'd suspect that the baby spends more time than usual in the highchair when she's got visitors.

And as for the soft food, some babies take longer than others to manage solid food. For example, I have a friend whose 14 month old baby is only just starting to move past smooth purees because until very recently he was gagging and vomiting when he was given food that was even just a little bit lumpy.

I would expect that her HV would mention the smoking though. We don't have any smokers in our house, and we still got lots of leaflets telling us why we shouldn't smoke around our DC.

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