Becoming a new parent is difficult.
It can feel like there are a thousand questions and no concrete answers.
The whole world becomes about wipes and diapers and formulas in what feels like a moment.
Scrambling to find the “correct” answers to these questions can often cause more problems then are fixed.
This was the issue facing Redditor and Original Poster (OP) EnvironmentalNewt996 when she came to the “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for some outside opinions.
“AITA for ‘exposing my newborn to inappropriate media’?”
OP began with a bit of background.
“My husband and I became parents in March, and we decided I’d take maternity leave and become a stay at home mom (SAHM) for the rest of the year.”
“He’s a great husband and father, and we have a pretty even divide of labour when he’s home.”
“Now I love my baby, but at this age they aren’t that fun and mostly sleep.”
“I received a mosses basket at my baby shower, so often she’ll be in there sleeping instead of in our room since I prefer her being closer and she sleeps well in it.”
“When I’m folding laundry, I’ll do it in my living room and watch tv while I do so.”
“I always keep it low and have subtitles on as well to not wake our baby, and honestly it gives me some ‘me time’ while also doing something I have to do.”
“I’m currently catching up on the most recent season of SVU.”
“I’m also a big reader and our pediatrician told us reading to babies from birth is important, so often I’ll just read out loud whatever book I’m reading.”
Then OP explained the problem at hand.
“One afternoon, I was folding laundry while our baby was sleeping next to me, and my husband surprised us by coming home early with dinner.”
“He came in happy but kinda deflated once seeing what was on the tv before turning it off.”
“He asked why I was watching that in front of our kid and said it was extremely inappropriate due to the content and I should know not to expose her to that kind of content.”
“I felt awful since I didn’t want to harm her in anyway and so I agreed to stop.”
She turned to her Pediatrician for advice.
“We had an appointment with her pediatrician and I asked her about our situation. She calmed me down, told me I was doing a great job, and that at this age our baby didn’t care and wasn’t being harmed or negatively impacted.”
“She even encouraged me to keep reading to her as much as I was since it was beneficial and the content wasn’t too important at this stage.”
“She obviously told me that as she gets older, it obviously wouldn’t be appropriate but currently, there was no harm.”
“I told my husband this but he didn’t change his mind, and was disappointed that I didn’t care about his opinion and wanted to keep doing it.”
OP was left to wonder,
Having explained the situation, OP turned to Reddit for outside opinions.
Redditors weighed in by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
Redditors decided: NTA
Some encouraged communication.
“You did care about his opinion, otherwise you wouldn’t have asked someone who specializes in child development about it.”
“At the end of the day, unless your husband is a developmental psychologist the pediatrician probably knows more about what your kid should and shouldn’t be exposed to at a young age.”
“I’d have that conversation with him and if he’s still insistent, he’s probably more focused on maintaining some amount of control than he is the wellbeing of your kid” ~ JBagginsKK
Others shared their own stories.
“I watched Vikings, SVU, Dexter, Breaking Bad and Game of Thrones while cluster feeding my newborn for six hours every night for weeks.”
“Whatever I could watch on cable on demand or on blu ray. She is fine.”
“My husband read her Shooter as an infant because we also followed the “read everything aloud” advice from our pediatrician.”
“If you had TV on nonstop or neglected to interact, hold or cuddle her because you were too wrapped up in SVU, that is different but it isn’t a thing when baby is sleeping!” ~ wildferalfun
There was also caution against letting it get quiet during sleepytime.
“Your husband sounds a little dumb though (just because he thinks he knows more than the doctor).”
“Was he at the appointment with you and the doctor?”
“The baby is a few weeks old, they aren’t capable of comprehending this stuff and they sure as hell can’t read subtitles.”
“They can’t really see much yet.”
“They just need to hear your voice.”
“Also you don’t have to keep quiet while the baby sleeps. She heard you talking and watching tv while she was in the womb sleeping and it is much easier later on if you teach them to sleep with sound now.”
“Because when she is a toddler, it will be nap time in loud places some times (the store, holiday at family’s house, traffic, an airplane, doctor office, resturant, etc) and the world isn’t going to be quiet just for her to sleep.”
“And you dont want a toddler who misses nap time. They are not happy.”
“Watch tv while you can, with the volume on, because soon enough you are going to be stuck with the neverending sounds of peppa pig, bluey, my little pony, paw patrol, super why, and a bunch of other kid shows.” ~ Ask_Aspie_
“Hard agree on the use volume to improve sleep noise tolerance!”
“My husband was in such a snit about silent sleep environment for our baby at night when I had to get her to sleep and he thought the white noise machine was deafeningly loud.”
“Until our upstairs neighbor moved their mom in and she rattled around the condo all day long when he was responsible for naps… then, suddenly, white noise and adapting to normal and abnormal noise was so important.”
“Babies can tolerate a lot of noise and living among normal noise makes life much more sane.”
“Otherwise my husband with his clicking ankle joint would have never been allowed to walk around the place 🤣” ~ wildferalfun
Commenters encouraged OP to relax.
“NTA I had to smile at this.”
“1st-time parents over-cautious.”
“The baby is a newborn and sleeps a ton of hrs, they won’t understand or know anything about what you’re watching.”
“Back in 2000 when I had my oldest I was watching MTV and Eminem was huge, loved the crime shows, SVU is one of my favorites along with CSI.”
“Whatever you watch is not going to affect the baby.”
“You will go insane stuck watching Disney, and PBS with sesame Street.”
“In a yr or so your TV will be taken over by a toddler who has to watch the same certain cartoons every single day, and the same movie a million times.”
“My oldest now is a hardworking man, and planning on getting married end of this year or next, so what I watched when he was a baby did not affect him at all.”
“I did let my kids growing up watch those crime shows.”
“My soon to be 17 yr old daughter loves them, at 12 made me worried when she said they can get rid of a body this way, but she is a sweet girl wanting to go to college to be a teacher, but also football manager for her highschool.”
“So those shows didn’t affect her.”
“Read as much as possible, even read the subtitles.”
“My reading to my daughter and her older talkative brothers got her talking really young, and in elementary she was always in the highest reading levels, but loves to read, when they ask for a book instead of candy or a toy, you know you did something right.”
“Your next child things will be even more relaxed.” ~ Awkward_Joke_5748
Of course, there were plenty of people encouraging education.
“You’re not an a**hole and I hesitate to call your husband one too because he’s a first-time parent and it’s terrifying!”
“I’m going with NAH for now. Maybe see if you can do a video appointment or call with your pediatrician to calm his fears?”
“You’re not going to see eye to eye on everything and you’ll both have to make the best decisions you can.”
“He can be disappointed but at this stage YOU are in recovery, not him and whatever relaxes you and doesn’t actively harm the baby should be at the top of your priorities.”
“You can’t pour from an empty cup and your baby will be happier and healthier with a mom that’s at her best and not with whatever is on TV, you know?” ~ bookynerdworm
“Have you seen a baby brain? There’s not much going on yet outside of sensory input.”
“They hear you speak, they see you (though this young, they probably don’t recognise you yet), they’re hungry”
“… With only a few weeks, this baby certainly doesn’t understand words or even reflect on what it hears, I don’t even think, they know fear already.”
“Your husband probably comes from a good place but he needs to learn about babies!!!”
“The first memories people have, is at about age 5, maybe 4 and that’s pictures or emotions, usually not words.”
“You’re a mom but you’re also a person. You are allowed to enjoy stuff that isn’t mom or baby related!” ~ Ann3Nym
Parenting is hard, especially when you have no prior experience doing it.
Remember that there are no “correct” answers in any of this, and that we are all doing the best we can with what we’re given.
Be kind to yourself, be patient with those around you, and always remember to find joy where possible.