Celebs who were hit with backlash over photos of their kids

Imagine parenting without having your child-rearing choices called into question. Statistically speaking, that's not a very likely scenario. Of course, if you're a parent, you don't need facts and figures to tell you that. If you have children, you've probably been subjected to one unsolicited opinion after another. Some of this commentary may come from well-meaning friends and family members, and, other times, these opinions may come from a rando on Instagram. While it's true that some people offer up advice in an effort to be genuinely helpful, others' motives aren't so pure. More often than not, this type of undue criticism — "mom-shaming" — is, as social psychologist Susan Newman explained in an article for Psychology Today, "a cover for someone's own insecurities or guilt about things they wish they had done differently."

There is perhaps no group of people quite so familiar with mom-shaming — especially online — than celebrities. For all of the benefits that come with fame and fortune, raising children in the public eye usually brings on heaps of criticism. Here are some celebs who were hit with backlash for photos they shared of their kids.

Kim Kardashian's carseat controversy

While Kim Kardashian West probably didn't think much of posting a seemingly innocuous photo of her then 20-month-old son Saint sitting in his carseat in the backseat of her vehicle, commenters were quick to point out what she "missed." One Facebook user commented, "He is so cute. Le's protect this handsome boy by making sure [he] is rear-facing." Others shared similar opinions — to varying degrees of niceness. This is the internet, after all. Still, others didn't see the issue with young Saint facing forward in his carseat. "I see the carseat police are on a mission!" one person added.

At that time, The American Academy of Pediatrics stipulated that children should be placed in a rear-facing carseat until the age of two or until they outgrow the height or weight indicated by the seat's manufacturer. In a video Kardashian shared to her website (via Insider), the mother revealed, "What people didn't know is that Saint is now the weight and height requirement to sit forward-facing," she said. "Saint actually weighs more than North, if that is believable."

Ivanka Trump's ill-timed mommy and son photo

In May 2018, Ivanka Trump posted a photo on Twitter. In the picture, Ivanka can be seen holding her two-year-old son and resting her forehead against his. While the content of the photo itself wasn't called into question, the timing certainly was. As BBC News then reported, the mom of three shared the photo at around the same time that reports were claiming United States border patrol agents were separating migrant children from their parents.

Prior to the president's daughter's Twitter post, the hashtag #WhereAreTheChildren began making its rounds on Twitter. Users then tweeted the hashtag in response to Trump's photo with her son. "How lucky that you get to do that with your children," one commenter wrote of the mother's ability to hug her son on a weekend morning. "Meanwhile, there are 1500 children that are missing their parents as a result of Daddy's orders. The fact that you and other so-called leaders have stood idly by and done nothing speaks volumes." Not everyone thought Trump's photo deserved backlash, of course. "Beautiful picture!" one commenter wrote, before encouraging her to "stay strong."

Jamie and Jools Oliver's boujee baby carrier

When celebrity chef Jamie Oliver took to Instagram to share a picture of his wife carrying their son in a baby carrier, his intention was to simply wish her a happy birthday. "…Hope you had a great day babe, love you and of course the dude that is baby River," he captioned the photo.

Before long, though, people voiced their concerns. Yahoo reported that one user commented, "Happy birthday. But please never use that carrier again. It's not ergonomic for the child and can cause hip dysplasia." Many commenters took issue with the specific brand of carrier, Baby Bjorn, while others chimed in about baby-wearing in general. But, is the criticism warranted?

The medical advisory board of the International Hip Dysplasia Institute reveals that it "does not endorse nor advise against any particular baby carrier or other equipment." However, the organization explained, "Some types of baby carriers and other equipment may interfere with healthy hip positioning." This includes everything from slings to wraps to baby carriers. "Any device that restrains a baby's legs in an unhealthy position should be considered a potential risk for abnormal hip development," the board cautioned.

Tori Spelling's back-to-school snap

In September 2018, Tori Spelling shared an Instagram photo of four of her five children's first day of the new school year. It was a big day for this mom since it was also her son Finn's first day of kindergarten. If you're sitting here wondering why anyone would take issue with this photo, we hear you. Nevertheless, some people trolled the comments.

"This picture is so sad," one person wrote (via USA Today). "These [clothes] are ill-fitting, wrinkled and just old and worn out looking. And where are the back to school haircuts? … All I'm saying is put some more care into how your kids look." Ouch! Sadly, others shared their similarly hurtful two cents.

USA Today also reported on Spelling's response to the haters: "For all the individuals on here that felt the need to [mom-shame] and [kid-shame] me and my children I say, 'Shame on you!' I was raised to believe that if you can't say anything nice about someone then don't say anything at all." She continued, writing, "Lift others up and you in turn lift yourself up."

David Beckham's daddy-daughter smooch

A photo that soccer player David Beckham shared on Instagram elicited quite the response. In the photo, the father of four can be seen kissing his five-year-old daughter Harper on the lips. CBS New York reported on the backlash that ensued. "Disgusting! What sick man kisses a little girl?" one person commented on the Instagram photo. "This poor girl, enduring that, will never be able to have a relationship with a man, will just see the exploitation." Well, that escalated quickly. 

Despite some commenters being completely grossed out by the photo, psychologist Harris Stratyner said it's really not a big deal for a parent to bestow such a kiss to his or her child. "You've got to think about culture," he explained. "You know there are cultures in our world where it's very appropriate. That's obviously something that's in their family, where that's their cultural belief that it's OK to do that." Instead, the psychologist said he'd be more worried about those who left such harsh comments. It's also worth noting that Beckham is seemingly unfazed by the controversy considering he posted another smooching photo the following year.

Jessie James Decker's wine-and-feed photo

"Cheers b****," singer Jessie James Decker captioned a photo on Instagram. In it, the star is seen giving the peace sign, holding a glass of what appears to be rosé, and breastfeeding her son. As you could imagine, fans of the star had plenty opinions about this decision. "Who brags about drinking while breastfeeding their baby?" Another Instagram user added, "I'm absolutely against mom shaming, but she's asking for it here."

Claims of mom-shaming aside, is it actually safe? Decker told Us Weekly that she knows what she's doing and that "it's totally okay to toast to a celebration and have a drink while you're breastfeeding." According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, however, it is "best for women to avoid habitual use of alcohol while breastfeeding." But, if a mom does choose to have a drink, "it's best to do so just after she has nursed or expressed milk rather than before, and allow at least 2 hours per drink before the next breastfeeding or pumping session." This is because alcohol passes through breast milk.

Gabrielle Union's "kissing game"

In 2018, Gabrielle Union shared a video of her kissing her infant son set to the song "I Like the Way (The Kissing Game)." To some, it was just an Instagram-worthy clip of a new mom bonding with her baby, but to others, it was a dangerous game. According to Women's Health, one person commented on Union's post, writing, "Our mouths are filthy. Babies can't fight those germs every day."

The star chose to respond, saying, "Hey guys I appreciate all the concern about kisses on the mouth. …Kaav is healthy and I don't even touch her without washing and sanitizing myself and everything and everyone that comes into contact with her." Union, who struggled to get pregnant before eventually welcomed her daughter Kaavia via surrogate, added, "If you think I waited this long and went thru [sic] all this to put my baby in harm's way… you got another thing coming."

When speaking to Women's Health, Danelle Fisher, chief of pediatrics at Providence Saint John's Health Center in California, said it's fine to kiss your baby on the lips as long as you're not sick or have a cold sore. Makes sense!

Kylie Jenner and the infant piercings

Just five months into being a mother, Kylie Jenner was criticized for a common yet polarizing parenting decision. Some of the star's Snapchat followers were alarmed to see little Stormi with her ears pierced. Though, Jenner may have expected parents to debate her decision. The month prior, Khloé Kardashian revealed a video showing her daughter's pierced ears and subsequently faced backlash from fans.

While not every parent would consider infant piercings, Joshua Zeichner, a dermatologist based in New York City, told W Magazine that it's generally not dangerous. "In some ways, it is easier to pierce a child's ears when she is very little because she is too young to be aware of the piercing and is not likely to touch or play with the earrings." He continued, saying, "If the piercing is not performed when the child is very little, then I recommend that parents wait until the child is mature enough not to play with the earrings while the pierce heals."

Dr. Dre and his daughter's "jail"-free selfie

After news broke of the college admissions scandal involving celebrities like Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman, BBC News reported that Dr. Dre shared a photo of himself alongside his daughter, Truly. In the photo, the rapper's daughter was pictured holding an acceptance letter to the University of Southern California — one of the schools embroiled in the scandal. "No jail time!!!!" the publication quoted the star's caption on his since deleted post.

Sure, he's being cheeky, but there's another reason his post caused backlash. Here's the deal: In 2013, Dr. Dre and producer Jimmy Iovine donated a whopping $70 million to USC to, as the university put it, create a new academy and form "a unique undergraduate experience." Although donations to universities are in no way illegal, Instagram users were quick to remind the star of his sizable contribution. "Is this guy serious?" one Instagram user wrote. "[He] really believes his money didn't play SOME role?"

Chrissy Teigen breastfeeding "twins"

Mothers who have ever breastfed in public know the unique shaming that can come with simply feeding a hungry baby. From dirty looks to unwanted commentary to sometimes even being kicked out of restaurants, this is truly next-level repugnant shaming. It wasn't until July 2018 that women in all 50 states earned the legal right to breastfeed in public. Nevertheless, many still have opinions on where and when breastfeeding is acceptable. 

Chrissy Teigen shared a photo of herself nursing her son Miles while pretending to also nurse her daughter's babydoll. "Luna [is] making me feed her babydoll so I guess I have twins now," she captioned the photo. After Teigan cross-posted the photo to Twitter, one user responded in a since removed tweet (via Hello Giggles), "Menstruating, childbirth and sex are natural, too, but that doesn't mean I want to see pics of it and/or celebrities like [Chrissy Teigen] taking a bath or nursing. We get it."

Teigen clapped back, writing, "I don't care to see grainy fireworks, Coachella selfies or infinity pool pics but I let people live. Calm your t*ts and scroll on by." What more can be said?

Khloe Kardashian's "KHLOMONEY" baby

Khloé Kardashian hasn't only been criticized for getting her daughter True's ears pierced. In March 2019, the Keeping Up with the Kardashians star shared a photo of her little one surrounded by over a dozen Hermés Birkin bags. People reported that one of the bags featured in the photo is a custom-made lime green tote with illustrations of dollar bills and script that aptly reads "KHLOMONEY."  

While we're over here dreaming of someday owning just one Birkin bag — which can retail anywhere from five figures to a whopping $200,000 new, according to Fortune — baby True is essentially playing in ball pit of Birken bags. Yes, we're jealous. Nevertheless, the photo came across as tone-deaf to many fans. People quoted some of the responses written by fans. One person wrote, "Let's brag a little more! Why not take some of your wealth and help [others]?" Another commenter opined, "This photo could pay off all my debts." 

Pink and Carey Hart's off-roading toddlers

What's an appropriate age for a child to begin motocross racing? Well, it seems it depends on who you ask. Carey Hart, former freestyle motocross racer, shared a photo of his not yet two-year-old son Jameson riding an off-road motorcycle along with him. "Don't worry parent police," Hart captioned the photo, "I'm a professional." But parents were worried. 

"A professional would never put his son in that kind of danger. It only takes one second to change your entire life," one person replied (via USA Today). Another fan inquired, "Where is [Jameson's] motorcycle helmet? He is wearing a bicycle helmet." 

Carey Hart and his wife, singer Pink, have come under similar scrutiny in the past. After sharing a photo of their then-two-year-old daughter Willow on her first motorcycle ride with her dad back in 2013, many parents expressed their concern. Pink responded on Twitter, writing, "If any of [you] have more experience on a bike than my husband, then I will listen to your opinions on how he should take my daughter for a ride."

Brian Austin Green and Megan Fox's dress-up rules

When Megan Fox shared a picture of her and Brian Austin Green's son wearing a Frozen-themed dress, people were quick to criticize. "Isn't that a boy?" one user asked. Others went on tangents about what "this" is doing to society. Yet and still, some Instagram commenters defended the parents' choice and commended the couple for forgoing gender norms.

In an interview with Hollywood Pipeline, Green was asked about his son's decision to don dresses. "So, yeah, my son — you know — he's four and I've heard from some people that they don't agree with him wearing dresses. To them I say, you know, 'I don't care.' He's four and if he wants to wear it, then he wears it." The actor added, "He's not harming anyone wearing a dress. So, if he wants to wear a dress, awesome. Good on him, you know?"

Carie Underwood's "Happy Birthday" message

For her oldest son's birthday, singer Carrie Underwood sucked in some helium from a balloon and belted out the "Happy Birthday" song for her newly four-year-old son Isaiah. Later, Underwood's husband Mike Fisher, who had captured the song on camera, shared the video to Instagram. While some fans were impressed that the country singer's voice was still pretty amazing after inhaling helium, others criticized the star. In the video, Underwood was pictured holding her infant son in one hand while holding the balloon in the other. As ALT 104.9 reported, Underwood received backlash for the way in which she was holding her child and for inhaling helium in front of her kiddos. She basically couldn't win.

Although we've probably all done it, those who commented about the dangers of inhaling helium aren't exactly wrong. While very rare, inhaling helium can be dangerous — even fatal. Nevertheless, Carrie Underwood — and her little ones — were just fine.