She Let Her Mother Rub Whiskey on Her Baby’s Gums to Help With Teething. Husband is Furious and Won’t Let Her Take the Baby There Again. Was She Wrong?

This first-time mom is caught in the middle of her mother’s old traditions and her husband’s modern approach to parenting. They have a baby who is six months old and has been struggling with teething. When she visited her mother with the baby a few days ago, she told her mother the baby was teething. She says her mother is into natural healing and using herbs to treat ailments. Her mother wanted to try rubbing whiskey on her baby’s gums to help alleviate the baby’s pain and discomfort. 

Her mother told her she used whiskey on her and her three siblings when they were also teething as babies. Since it worked for her and her siblings, she allowed her mother to rub the whiskey on her baby’s gums. She says it did seem to calm her baby down a bit.

However, when she went home and told her husband about the whiskey, he was furious. He said it was harmful to the baby and doesn’t relieve pain. He was so upset that she allowed her mother to do that, and he told her she couldn’t take the baby to her mother’s anymore. He also took the next two days off work to watch her and the baby.

She believes she is being treated unfairly by him. She is reaching out to the online community to ask them if she was wrong and if he is being too harsh.

One reader received thousands of votes of approval with their comment. They first said she shouldn’t beat herself up over the incident. As a first-time mom, looking to parents for advice is common. But people are better informed now, and some practices considered remedies before aren’t any longer. The reader told her to ask her doctor for pain relief options instead. They also advised, “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.”

Most readers believed that her mother (the grandmother) was doing what she thought was best and was trying to help. They don’t believe she should be punished for her helping her daughter.

“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 implementing, but she wasn’t doing it to be malicious or abusive. She was trying to help.”

Another reader says that the original poster (OP) was born in 1995 and should know better that things have changed between now and when she was a baby.

“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.).”

“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.”

Some readers focused more on her husband’s reaction than her mother’s action of putting whiskey on the baby’s gums.

“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! “The reader added, “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.”

“He’s taking time off because he’s paranoid about leaving his wife alone with the baby AND ALSO has banned grandma from seeing his daughter. If his response was, “That was wrong, don’t do that again. We need to have a talk with your mother about alternative practices. By the way, I think I’m going to take the next few days off because we need to spend more time together.” Then maybe, but that’s not how OP framed it.”

What do you think? Should she have known better not to let her mother put whiskey on the baby’s gums? Was her husband justified in his reaction, or was he overreacting?

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