Hilary Duff keeping her baby’s belly button stump in her sock drawer? Weird, but surely many first time mom’s can relate to wanting a souvenir from one of their proudest moments. January Jones eating her own placenta? That might seem a bit freaky, but in the world of babies and birth it’s a relatively widely accepted way to take in a whole bunch of healthy vitamins, and it’s a part of the ritual of childbirth in cultures around the world. Celebrity moms are often popping up in the spotlight for their public statements about motherhood, and usually when it happens it’s because they’re admitting to odd behaviors like those above, or parenting techniques that are considered even more controversial.
Alicia Silverstone‘s new book, “The Kind Mama,” has put this celebrity mom in the spotlight with chapters outlining her strong beliefs about raising her children – beliefs that are raising eyebrows. While this isn’t Alicia’s first time under fire from critics, her latest philosophies about being a mom include the brain-altering benefits of veganism, the evil conspiracy of tampons and the no-diaper “elimination communication” system where you just hold your kid over the toilet once you’ve analyzed his facial expressions well enough to know when he needs to go. Believe it or not, in the celeb world Alicia’s not the only one opening up about parenting habits that are, at least, unexpected.
10. Penelope Cruz: ‘RIE’
Cruz recently opened up to Allure Magazine about being a mom of two, with a young infant, discussing her self-described addiction to breastfeeding. It was likely nothing more than the harmless, hormonal joy of parenthood speaking, but in a more controversial conversation with the Wall Street Journal in 2013, she’s also discussed her belief in “resources for infant educators”, or RIE. The style of parenting philosophizes that young infants, toddlers, kids and onwards ought to be treated equally in their relationships with adults. RIE suggests that toys and strollers are just encouraging “baby” behavior. The idea behind the parenting technique is that kids will grow up to be more competent and self-aware if they’re encouraged to act in a way that closely mirrors adults. Cruz isn’t the only celeb on the RIE bandwagon. Tobey Maguire, Helen Hunt and Jamie Lee Curtis are among the big names that have taken these kids-as-adult lessons to heart. Money, money everywhere, and not a toy to play with…
9. Candace Cameron Bure: ‘God’s Way’
Candace, who is most well-known as D.J. Tanner in TV’s 80s-90s classic, “Full House,” is now a mother of three. Since being a mom, she has promoted the controversial sleep book for babies, “On Becoming BabyWise,” which outlines practices for growing kids in “God’s way,” and has talked about some questionable habits of highly effective parenting in her new book, ” Balancing It All: My Story of Juggling Priorities and Purpose.” These include being a submissive wife and employing spanking as a preferable method of punishment. She believes it can help in developing an equal balance of discipline and love, and has called spanking “a loving correction.”
8. Mayim Bialik: Attachment Parenting
Mayim Bialik was first known to many as the lovable, kooky “Blossom,” on TV in the 90s, and is now back on the tube as the lovable, kooky Dr. Amy Farrah Fowler on “The Big Bang Theory.” Bialik has garnered a fair share of less lovable attention for her 2012 book, “Beyond the Sling,” about her belief in attachment parenting to her two sons. The parenting style is known for recommending such techniques as co-sleeping and breastfeeding on demand until the children decide to stop, even if this is at an older age than is usually considered standard. In the case of her first son, the voluntary cut-off age came at four years old. Kourtney Kardashian is another reported celebrity proponent of attachment parenting. However, critics believe it creates a codependency between parent and child, and that a lack of rules can cause children to disrespect authority.
7. Jenny McCarthy: Anti-Vaccination
Over the years, comedienne Jenny McCarthy has been a bold advocate of the anti-vaccination for children movement, believing the inoculations caused autism in her 11-year-old son. She has openly voiced her suspicions on vaccinations even in her most recent gig, while co-hosting on “The View.” Lately, however, she’s gone on record to indicate that she was never suggesting all parents should avoid vaccinations, and that everyone has a right to choose; she just personally just doesn’t trust the safety of vaccines. Vaccines have been scientifically proven to have ultimately decreased death-by-epidemics in children, since the olden days, like measles and whooping cough. But she isn’t the only one against vaccinations. Alicia Silverstone and reality star Kristin Cavallari have also declined to vaccinate their children based on the perceived dangers of the practice.
6. Lisa Whelchel: Wash Your Mouth Out With Hot Sauce
Those who grew up in the ‘80s might remember the good old days of “Facts of Life,” on which Lisa Whelchel played preppy Blair Warner. Whelchel is now in her 50s, and an author of ten parenting books on motherhood, homeschooling and religion-based topics. One of her most controversial child-rearing techniques outlined is called “hot saucing,” which is a form of discipline in which hot sauce is placed in a child’s mouth, replacing the old-school bar of soap. Pointing out the obvious, she has explained that it’s a type of aversion therapy in which the memory of the incident will help curb similar negative behaviour in the future. Despite backlash she has firmly stood by her choice of punishment saying, “I prefer my child receive a small amount of pain from my hand of love than to encounter a lot more pain in life.” Well… that’s one way to look at it!
5. Gwyneth Paltrow: Carb-free Kids
Gwyneth Paltrow doesn’t just have interesting views on parenting, she has interesting views on just about everything, which she expresses on her website-for-the-very-rich, “Goop.” Regarding her kids, she advises on topics that include buying expensive clothes because, well, it’s just cooler. She also maintains a vigilant carb-free diet for her young son and daughter. Fun! Also fun are her views on TV, which she says she only allows Apple and Moses to indulge in as long as the episodes are in French or Spanish, for multilingual learning.
4. Gisele Bundchen: Elimination Communication
Gisele, like Silverstone, follows the elimination communication strategy to avoid diapering her son. On the process of holding her son over the toilet after breastfeeding she’s said, “Give it about five minutes, and bang!” While it clearly works for her, she has further sparked controversy with her somewhat confrontational stance regarding breastfeeding, telling media that she believes breastfeeding ought to be mandatory by law in the US, and suggesting that feeding infants anything other than natural breast milk is unacceptable. In 2014, she was in the spotlight again for her lenient approach to safety, being photographed on an ATV with her one year old. It’s not the first time she’s been caught on camera driving ATVs with her husband and infant daughter. Gisele also came under fire for posting photos of her daughter with pierced ears at 7 months old.
3. Leah Remini: Night Time Feeds
In 2008, Leah Remini made news with a controversial admission about her four-year-old daughter’s night time feeding schedule. Her daughter was drinking six to eight bottles of milk during the night, which Remini would serve upon request, in between constant diaper changes. At the time, her daughter was also sleeping in between her mom and dad. While it seemed on the outset that Remini was following the method of attachment parenting, she cleared up any confusion by explaining that her daughter just simply ruled the house, and as a first-time pushover mom, Remini found it difficult to discipline her child. Cooking show and daytime TV host Rachael Ray eventually intervened. As a mother herself, she helped Remini get a grip. “We’re hearing that it’s not good for her,” Remini said of the effects of her parenting methods on her daughter.
2. Bethenny Frankel: Beer + Breastfeeding
One-time “Real Housewife” Bethenny Frankel has made some questionable choices on her reality show, “Bethenny Getting Married,” in 2010. In one scene, she requested a beer and drank it while nursing, much to her husband’s bewilderment. In his questions as to how this might affect their baby, she responded that she’d had a stressful day, and further justified the move based on the belief by her infant nanny that booze helps stimulate breast milk. She has since raised her four-year-old daughter as a vegetarian, to mirror her own lifestyle decisions.
1. Alicia Silverstone: Bird Feeding
We’re going to end where we started, with the celebrity mom who has been thrown into the spotlight for her ‘Kind’ philosophies based around veganism and environmentally friendly beliefs. The most recent controversy came from Alicia Silverstone‘s 2014 book on being a ‘Kind Mama’ which presents a philosophy with roots in attachment parenting and alludes to anti-vaccine notions as well as hinting that vegan mothers are less likely to suffer postpartum depression.
Alicia startled the world in 2012 with her YouTube video showing her feeding her then 11-month-old son, named Bear. Alicia first chewed up the food before dropping it into her child’s mouth. The technique, which does exist in the parenting world albeit in fringe circles, is called “pre-mastication” and Alicia defended her video explaining that it’s been done for years. Yes, yes it has. By birds. “He literally crawls across the room to attack my mouth if I’m eating,” she says of the technique. As for how this behaviour will translate with females when he’s older and out on a dinner date? Time will tell.