Jason Bourne actress Julia Stiles welcomed her son, Strummer, just 5 weeks ago.


And already she's been invited into the least exclusive club motherhood has to offer: the 'I've been mum-shamed' club, where just about every single one of us is a member ?

36-year-old Julia felt it necessary to snap back at critics, after she was 'slammed' for the position of her new son Strummer Newcomb Cook, in his Tula baby carrier.

So, what was said?

There was lots of criticism. Lots and lots and lots. Here's a taste...

“Baby’s head is smothering. What’s wrong with you?” one commenter wrote.

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"Carriers haven't got side support and [the] small backbone of child and hips are exposed to danger because of heavy head,” said another.

“Even if [the] carrier has side support [it] is not recommended for newborns. Just look at the picture and see how [the] baby fits in it. I can't even see its head.”

And this doozy: “Baby can be in carriers only when is sitting by itself. Carriers haven’t got sides support and small backbone of child and hips are exposed to danger because of its heavy head.

“Even if a carrier has side support is not recommended for newborns. Just look at the picture and see how baby fits in it. I can’t even see its head.

“I’m fresh at babywearing (only nine months of carrying), but I’m in full contact with experts of babywearing after many European schools.”


Julia's response

"It was brought to my attention that in the previous photo I am not holding my baby correctly," Julia began in a separate Instagram post.

"Wow, I didn't expect that. What was supposed to be a shout out of products I like, suddenly becomes an invitation to comment on my baby, and my ability as a mother. That's the internet for you, the carnivorous plant from "Little Shop of Horrors".

julia stiles

"I was trying to keep much of my son's image private, including, I guess, his little feet. And it was just a photo taken at home, not how I normally carry him around. Thanks for the concern, anyway.

"Yes, Mothers, always read the safety instructions. But also, Instagrammers: instead of writing snarky comments about a 5 week old, try dancing around your living room to a Clash record. It's way more fun."

The MFM view

The fact of the matter is: we simply can't tell exactly what's what just by looking at this one photo. We can't know what's going on inside the carrier, because we can't physically see it.

But, to our experts here on the team, it doesn’t seem to us like there’s anything immediately troubling.

Our reviews editor Hazelann Williams also points out that many carriers ARE suitable for newborns, so don't believe *everything* you read in the Instagram comments section.

Rachel Coye, babywearing expert at the North East Sling Library, also told us via email that this particular carrier needs to be worn with the newborn insert (for a newborn), which it doesn't look like Julia's using here - but that "skill comes with practice, and that's all she needs to do."

Anyway, as Julia noted, this pic was a one-off, purposefully positioned to make sure Strummer wasn't visible, and says this isn't how she wears him on a typical day.

Even if that wasn't the case, she certainly doesn't need an Instagram army jumping down her throat about it, right?

She's only been a mum for 5 weeks, nobody's perfect, and there's never any need for a condescending tone, is there? ?

Don’t get us wrong – we do understand why people get concerned about these things. There’s a lot of conflicting advice out there, but knowing how to correctly use a baby carrier is of the utmost importance, no question.

The correct way to baby wear

Quick recap: when it comes to baby wearing, you should always adhere to the T.I.C.K.S. guidelines:


And when it comes to leg positioning in a carrier, the International Hip Dysplasia Institute recommends that for the first 6 months of your baby's life, their hips should be:

  • positioned at just over a right angle (90+ degrees) with legs spread around your body
  • have a wide base of support under the thighs
  • sit at the same level or slightly lower than your babies knees.

Here's a handy diagram of the ideal position:


Of course, you should aim to arm yourself with info provided by experts in the field – so if you’ve got concerns, make sure to check out the below resources…


Image: Instagram/Julia Stiles