A mom was heavily criticized online after admitting that she does not put sun cream on her baby because it contains harsh chemicals.
Alice Bender, 21, from Arizona, wants to raise her 8-month-old son Fern as naturally as possible, even if it means exposing him to the sun’s harmful UV rays.
Alice, who often went viral for her alternative approach to parenting on TikTok, is often seen taking her son outdoors, and one follower was curious as to what sun protection she uses.
When asked what sun cream she uses on baby Fern, Alice responded with a video and said: “None.
“Most sunscreen contains harsh chemicals,” Alice said in the video. “Harsh chemicals + sun = cancer.”
While many health institutions recommended keeping babies under six months out of direct sunlight, most of them recommend that babies aged six months and above, like Fern, should wear at least SPF30 sunscreen.
According to the Canadian Cancer Society, there are no studies or evidence that suggests that chemicals found in sunscreens can cause cancer.
Despite this, Alice is still determined to commit to her holistic parenting approach. The 21-year-old mother is raising her baby vegan and believes that baby formula should be made illegal.
“I do not think the formula should be legal based on the higher mortality rate in formula-fed infants,” Alice told TheSun. “Most women who formula feed are not even aware of the risks.”
Several studies cited by Unicef found a 21% lower risk of death in the first year for babies who have been breastfed, although it is important to note that there’s no evidence that formula milk is harmful to babies.
Alice and her husband tragically lost their first daughter Aurelia as a baby in 2019. While she accepts not everyone will be able to breastfeed, the unconventional mother would like to see a system of milk donations to keep parents away from formula milk.
“There are so many options for donor milk,” she said. “I even donated milk on Facebook after my daughter passed.”
“We sell non-human breast milk at the store, why not human milk?” Alice continued. “It doesn’t make any sense.”
“I plan to breastfeed until Fern is three or four years old,” she added. “I will try to continue pumping after that point, to have it on hand for when he is sick.”
Alice created her TikTok page before her son was born, and aims to share her unusual parenting style. At the time of this writing, she has 158,000 followers.
“I ended up meeting lots of moms on there who encouraged me to speak out about my views, and I realized not many people had heard of attachment parenting,” Alice explained. “I want people to know they have so many options when it comes to parenting, there are more ways to raise a child than just what the mainstream tells us.”
Alice admits that she also receives harsh criticisms over her controversial views, but she also says there’s “also a lot of support”.
“Sometimes I think the backlash on my videos is especially bad, but then I see other videos on TikTok of people’s backyard decor and the comments are just as nasty,” she said. “TikTok is a very toxic platform because there’s no commenting history.”
“People would be a lot nicer if their comment history were displayed on their profile,” she said. “I get ‘Aurelia (my first daughter) didn’t want you to be her mom’ a lot by different spam accounts.”
“It bothered me at first but I realized people are just trying to bully me into deleting my account,” Alice said. “I will not stop sharing my truth.”