Any parent who is willing to be honest about their experiences as a caregiver will agree that a baby crying and not sleeping for hours upon hours is not easy to deal with.
Discovering remedies that help ease a baby to sleep can feel like a godsend, but some available remedies are outdated and are now considered to be unsafe, cautioned the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Desperate to help her young baby, new mother Redditor RowanRida decided to listen to her mother about how to soothe her daughter’s teething pains.
But when her husband discovered how she had done so, the Original Poster (OP) felt like he no longer trusted her to parent their child.
She asked the sub:
“AITA for letting my mom rub whiskey on my baby’s gums?”
The OP’s mom gave her advice about her daughter’s teething pain.
“I (28 Female) am a first-time mom. My husband and I have a six-month-old baby who is teething horribly.”
“I was at my mother’s home a few days ago and was speaking to her about the teething issues.”
“My mom does some old-fashioned things, and she’s really into herbs and natural healing and such.”
“She wanted to try rubbing whiskey on my daughter’s gums. She said she did it to me and all three of my siblings.2
“I let her, and it did seem to calm my daughter down a bit.”
The OP’s husband was furious when he found out what happened.
“When I got home, I told my husband about this, and he was furious.”
“He said that’s harmful to our daughter, and it does not relieve any pain.”
“He got really upset and said I shouldn’t have let my mom do something like that and told me I couldn’t bring our daughter to my mother’s anymore.”
“He’s since called the next two days off of work and is super paranoid, watching me every second with our daughter.”
“I feel this is unfair.”
Fellow Redditors weighed in:
- NTA: Not the A**hole
- YTA: You’re the A**hole
- ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
- NAH: No A**holes Here
Some completely agreed with the OP’s husband’s concerns and called the OP the AH.
“Folks, a small request: can we stop acting like the OP’s mother was dealing with her teething in a covered wagon?”
“OP is 28. She was born around 1995. We absolutely had medical evidence at that point that whiskey on the gums of a baby was A Bad Idea.”
“(Point of reference: lead paint had mostly stopped being used in homes in the Seventies. The first permanent artificial heart was implanted in 1982. We knew stuff by 1995.)”
“However, decades of familial practice go down hard. OP’s Mom likely heard it from her mom, who heard it from her mom. It’s less ‘things were different then,’ and more, ‘welp, it worked on you, and you didn’t die, and this baby right here won’t stop screaming, and I promise this will help.'” – Trulio_Dragon
“I think in the world where the Internet is at our fingertips, it should be easy enough to Google if something is safe or not.”
“I’m not a mother, and even I know, without having to look it up, that some of those ‘old remedies’ aren’t safe. I’d think that a first-time mother would also know that, even if the advice is coming from her own parent.” – rainbow_wallflower
“I mean, you know alcohol is unsafe. It also happens not to work as a topical analgesic; if the baby quietens down, it’s because of the general sedative effect of alcohol.”
“I think it’s hilarious how your mother conflates the use of a well-understood but completely inappropriate drug with ‘herbs and natural healing.'” – Hour-Performance-951
“YTA, you should’ve discussed it with your partner first, especially since the remedy actually might be harmful to the child.”
“And honestly, you shouldn’t even be using alcohol on a baby, go to a doctor or just get some numbing cream for babies.” – MaxYTpro
Others wanted to show the new mother a little more grace and offered NTAs and gentle YTAs.
“OP is a new mom in a fog of not being able to help ease the pain of her baby for extended periods of time. She’s probably willing to try almost anything at this point, and listening to the advice of her mother probably never occurred to her to be a bad idea.”
“As for her mother, she hasn’t had kids in presumably decades. The turnover rate for evidence-based practice is so high in OB and pediatrics. My daughter is 13, and I’m currently 35 weeks pregnant, and the things I’m seeing and learning now are drastically different from then.”
“She was working with the information she had and used as a mother in her days. Do the data and evidence show different now? Absolutely. But decades ago, she was doing what was recommended then.”
“As such, her advice should be taken with a grain of salt and researched before implementation, but she wasn’t doing it to be malicious or abusive. She was trying to help.”
“The husband is probably panicking and freaking out because of the current evidence and having a hard time thinking past that panic to see the whole situation and have an honest conversation with his wife. Communicating is key here. Instead of talking to her about the concerns and data and plans to move forward, he’s stuck in panic mode and can’t see out of it.”
“ESH. But no one is a complete AH. Everyone is doing what they think, or thought was best at the time for the well-being of the baby.”
“They just need to sit back, take a beat and talk about it. This isn’t going to be the last hiccup like this during their time as parents, by a long shot. Now is the time to figure out how to handle it.” – Fennac
“Honestly, I can’t believe all the Y T A on this post right now. Her husband literally took two days off work to micromanage parenting because of this? That’s excessive. It’s called having a conversation between two adults, saying, ‘We shouldn’t do this again,’ and moving on!”
“Of course, OP is NTA. She thought she was doing the best for her child in a stressful moment and made a mistake. A drop of alcohol on the pinky is not going to have long-lasting effects on their baby.”
“Making a mistake does not make you TA. She’s not sticking to it, demanding she was correct and insisting to keep doing it after a discussion with her husband. If that would have happened, she would have been TA.”
“Dad staying home from work like she’s driving her child to alcoholism makes him TA here. Also, him trying to keep the child from grandma when grandma did it with mom’s permission is another TA move.” – panacakess
“I agree with the comments here about her being a first-time mom and that it’s normal to go to your mom for help. I also agree that this is a mistake, and she’s learned not to do it again.”
“I do think Dad needs some grace here, too. As far as we know, he’s also a first-time parent. She let a non-medical professional give something to their six-month-old without his knowledge. And Grandma gave their baby something that can damage gums.”
“Will it happen again? Probably not. But I think it’s understandable that he’s emotional and doesn’t trust OP right now.”
“If he’s still micromanaging a week, a month, etc. from now, that would definitely be a red flag. I think a few days isn’t.” – Naive_Possibility668
“You made a bad judgment call here, and a lot of people are going to come charging in on their high horses to tell you what a horrible mother you are like they’ve never messed up before. Don’t worry about them.”
“You’re a first-time mom, so you’re naturally gonna listen to your own mother when she tries to give you advice. It’s natural to look to our elders for guidance and to trust them.”
“While many mothers (including my own) have used this method, we know a lot more about these older ‘tried and true’ remedies these days. Most of them never worked how they were intended to, if at all.”
“If you wanted something more natural, there are plenty of herbs that you could talk to your daughter’s doctor about. If you just let your daughter’s doctor know that you want something along those lines, they should be able to point you in the right direction.”
“You’re not some monster that’s going to harm your child. Honestly, if this is how your husband is reacting, that’s a red flag.”
“He’s right, it doesn’t relieve pain, and if you were to start doing it regularly, yeah, it can be harmful.”
“However, it was a one-time thing that you told him about, and now you know not to do it again. He shouldn’t be acting like it was a conspiracy to hurt your daughter intentionally.”
“The best course of action is to be mature adults about this and have some open communication among the three of you (you, him, and your mother).”
“Your mother needs to understand that this is a new boundary. He needs to understand that parents make mistakes, and it doesn’t do anyone any good to become extreme in such a way. You need to understand to look into things before applying them to your child so that this (or something worse) doesn’t happen to your child.”
“I hope this situation is handled well and that all of you can find yourself in a better situation of clearer understanding and progress.” – ClauzzieHowlbrance
While the subReddit could empathize with the tough period she was going through with her infant, they were divided about how she had handled the situation.
Some were willing to look at this as a one-time mistake that she would learn from and not repeat.
But some were offended enough by the action that they criticized her reasoning skills and absolutely understood her husband’s present misgivings.