Jessa Duggar just can’t seem to escape the mommy-shaming brigade. Each time the Counting On star shares a photo or video of her sons on social media, a certain faction of her followers find some reason to criticize her parenting skills. Her recent video of her 1-year-old son, Henry, playing outside had some of these mommy-shamers repeating a complaint that they made a few months ago.
As reported by In Touch Weekly, the April 26 Instagram video that sparked a debate over Jessa’s competence as a mother shows Henry Wilberforce and his older brother, Spurgeon Elliot, exploring the great outdoors together. In the video, the two boys are walking around on a sidewalk in an unknown location. Henry stops to play with a doorstop, and he makes a valiant effort to chase down 2-year-old Spurgeon when the older boy takes off running. Spurgeon is wearing a pair of spiffy brown leather shoes, while Henry isn’t wearing any shoes at all. The younger boy’s bare toes caused some fans to express concern about his safety.
One fan admonished the 25-year-old Duggar daughter for risking “her poor baby getting stabbed in the foot with something” by letting him be footwear-free. Another warned Jessa that Henry could step on “a nail or piece of glass,” even though there is no debris of any kind on the sidewalk in the video. Then there was the cautionary tale from one mother who wrote that her child had to have a toe amputated after getting an infection from running around barefoot.
According to Romper, some of Jessa Duggar’s Instagram followers made similar complaints last October when she shared a video of Henry and Spurgeon sitting in the grass and playing with some leaves on the ground. Henry was also barefoot in that video.
This time around, the critics were quickly drowned out by fans jumping to Jessa’s defense. Her supporters reassured her that barefoot babies are happy babies, and they argued that keeping shoes off of Henry’s feet is good for him. According to the Chicago Tribune, it is true that some experts recommend letting babies go barefoot to ensure that their feet develop properly, and it can help them balance better when they’re learning to walk. However, once they have mastered the art of toddling around like Henry clearly has, they should start wearing shoes with flexible soles to protect their toes.
Because Spurgeon has on a pair of shoes in Jessa’s video, it’s likely that she eventually plans on making Henry wear them, too. In the meantime, her non-mommy-shaming Instagram followers will continue gushing over his “little squishy feet” and “chubby toes.”