On Thursday, the 38-year-old wife of rapper Ice-T posted a series of photos taken on a family trip to Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif. In a few of the snapshots, Austin’s 18-month-old daughter, Chanel Nicole, is sipping soda from a straw.
Austin captioned her post, “Here are some pics from our 1st trip to Disneyland.. We didn’t get to meet Mickey Mouse but she sure snuck in hogging my cola. The day before this she tried it for the 1st time too! A lot of 1st moments in the last couple of days!”
Amid the hundreds of comments, many raised an eyebrow at the notion of a toddler drinking soda. “Cola has caffeine, which is also known as an addictive stimulant drug,” wrote one person. “A couple sips here and there starts to become a habit then before u know she will want it all the time because her body will become addicted.” Others wrote, “Now she will be addicted to Coke” and “Try not to give her Coca-Cola.”
However, Austin also had plenty of support. “I’m pretty sure she’s aware of what caffeine is,” one person said in Austin’s defense. “She didn’t ask for your opinion on her parenting. Next time, I suggest you scroll by if her pictures hurt your sensibilities. Just a little food for thought.”
Another commented, “Of course someone had to comment about giving her cola …smh. A little is not going to hurt her, besides I’m sure mama knows what she is doing and perfectly capable of taking care of HER child.”
From the moment Austin gave birth in November 2015, her parenting skills have been debated. When she shared Instagram photos of herself wearing a sports bra and showing off a flat stomach only one week postpartum, she was slammed for shaming new moms.
Austin explained in the post that the reason for her swift bounce-back was a 13-pound pregnancy weight gain due to a fruit-heavy diet and being fit before conception. However, her honesty seemed to trigger more vitriol.
A few months later, after Austin posted a photo of Chanel wearing a pair of sunglasses and black Louboutin-inspired baby shoes, she was accused of exploiting her daughter.
Headed out to dinner loving my loubies,they don't totally fit yet but w/a sock it works for now.Its fun dressing up! pic.twitter.com/oXMmt6nkip
— Baby Chanel Nicole (@BabyChanelworld) February 9, 2016
Earlier in 2017, when the mother-daughter duo hit Miami Beach wearing “mommy and me” swimsuits, fans told her to cover up to avoid “embarrassing” her daughter when she’s older.
Austin has not been shy about defending her maternal instincts — she wrote on her parenting blog of her daughter, “Of course I know she’s a real human being. Don’t you know I know that? In these pictures, you can see how much love I have for her. Should I just dress her up in a normal T-shirt? Is that better? Why can’t I just have my moment of dressing my daughter up? Why is that such a negative thing? Does she look like she’s really mad in these pictures? She actually looks very happy dressed up.”
Still, she’s stayed silent on the soda backlash.
It’s true that children are drinking more sweetened beverages than ever before. According to a new study released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly two-thirds of U.S. children between the ages of 2 and 19 down at least one sugary drink on any given day and 30 percent consume two or more on a daily basis.
And given that one out of three children is obese, due in part to the rise in soda consumption, per a Harvard University fact sheet, most medical experts advise keeping kids away from the fizzy stuff.
As for whether a sip of soda here or there will cause harm to the adorable tot? It’s probably less harmful than a lifetime of mom shaming.
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