Meghan Markle has had her first brush with mum-shaming.
Fresh from celebrating the private christening of son Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor, the duchess made a surprise appearance to watch husband Prince Harry participate in the King Power Charity Polo match this week and baby Archie came too.
The duchess held Archie throughout the match while sister-in-law Kate Middleton played with her own three children, Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis, nearby.
Photos emerged of the two families enjoying their day out, including a number of the new mum kissing and cradling two-month old Archie.
Meghan likes the press today of her and the baby.... always looking for attention. But she doesn't know how to hold the poor thing— Catherine Holveck (@CatherineHolve2) July 10, 2019
She can't have any maternal instincts at all. Archie's neck and whole body not supported by her at all. No sun hat to protect him.— Sue Jones (@SusanAnnJones1) July 10, 2019
But not everyone was out to criticise Meghan, with many jumping to her defence.
Protective mothers hold their babies like that I'm just hear for the love I have for Meghan and Harry and baby Archie— makungu nygracent (@nygracent) July 11, 2019
I'm not a mum but I cannot stand women mum-shaming other women. Poor Meghan can't even hold baby Archie without "The Perfect Mums" coming out and criticising her. 🙄— Abbie (@abbiecarolin_x) July 11, 2019
All this shaming of Meghan Markle is getting beyond pathetic. Whatever she does is wrong in the eyes of some. The latest being she can't hold her own baby properly. 🙄— Amanda Hunt (@man_ders11) July 11, 2019
According to Lucy Shrimpton, The Sleep Nanny and parenting expert, there was nothing wrong with the way Meghan was holding baby Archie.
”While parents will adopt their own styles of holding and comforting their babies in a range of ways, the way Meghan is pictured holding Archie is actually a commonly recommended hold,” she told Yahoo Style UK.
“She is supporting the majority of Archie's body with her right arm while he rests his head on her chest. Babies are comforted by this position and hearing mom's heartbeat too. So long as the face is to one side, which Archie's is, this is a wonderfully soothing way to hold to a baby.”
Lucy pointed out that Meghan is also supporting Archie's neck with her left arm in case his head were to lift from her chest.
“Perhaps people are confused about the safe ways to hold a baby,” she added.
“There are lots of styles, some of which are less commonly seen but perfectly safe. The main thing is that the body and head and neck are all supported."
As any new parent will appreciate, sometimes the struggle to soothe a wriggling newborn can leave your hold on your child looking somewhat unnatural.
“When a baby is born so is a mother — and it takes a little time to learn how to care for a child,” Cathy Ranson, editor of ChannelMum.com, told Yahoo Style UK.
“Archie is only two months old so of course Meghan is still learning. Yes she looked a little stiff and awkward in some of the pictures, but that's OK,” she added.
Whether it’s swaying, rocking or jiggling, however parents choose to settle and hold their babies is their decision to make, particularly as it is often the parents who will best understand how their child likes to be held.
“When it comes to holding your baby, mother really does know best as not all tots want to be held in the same way,” Cathy explained.
“Some like to snuggle in tight, others prefer to peek out at the world and it's their mom who will read the signals and ensure they feel comfortable and reassured. Meghan will know what Archie wants and will make sure he gets it.”
And as Cathy pointed out, finding your feet as a first-time mom is tricky enough as it is, without doing so under the world’s gaze.
“It's tough enough being a new mom for any of us, but imagine how pressured you'd feel with world's press watching your every move and millions more commenting on social media,” she said. “If it takes her a few months to look totally at ease, then let's give her that time.
“Mum-shaming Meghan for doing what millions of us have done is pointless and nasty. Let's see some mom solidarity and support instead.”
Got a story tip or just want to get in touch? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Or sign up to our daily newsletter here.