Lauren Ashcraft and photographer friend Laura Stennett decided to have some fun with a different take on the traditional ‘cake smash’.
But their decision to use McDonald’s cheeseburgers for the photos caused major backlash from health-conscious mums everywhere, despite mum Lauren saying the idea was a fun joke for the family.
Laura couldn’t believe the ‘nasty and vulgar hate mail’ she was getting sent online and via personal message for the photos she took of little Liam enjoying a ‘cheeseburger smash’.
“The majority of comments were positive, but we did get a lot of hateful, rude and vulgar remarks. Some were saying that Liam would have ‘diabetes by age 2’ and that the shoot was ‘glorifying childhood obesity’,” Laura tells Be exclusively.
“They criticised me as a photographer for doing the session in the first place, and there was a lot of mummy shaming towards Lauren. As though she’d let her baby eat 20 cheeseburgers.”
The friends from Alaska tried not to let the comments get to them and instead came up with an ingenious way to respond to all the critics.
Enter the ‘veggie smash’ with Liam’s twin sister Lola.
“We had a few sanctimummies not agree with giving a baby cheeseburgers even in a photo shoot type setting, so Laura and I decided it would be silly to shoot his twin with all organic fruit and vegetables,” mum Lauren tells Be.
Some of the comments pointed out the rise in childhood obesity, while others were 'worried' for the baby's health.
“Please enlighten me as to how photographing a small child with processed garbage is a hilarious joke given 70% of our nation's children are OBESE before they are adults?” one person commented on Facebook.
“Poor baby is going to have a lot of health issues when he gets older. McDonald’s is so unhealthy,” another responded.
“Instead of letting the naysayers bully us into taking the photos down, and wasting hours of our lives combatting their comments, we decided to do the veggie smash,” Laura explains.
She says it was awful seeing her friend get attacked and that people were saying hurtful things about Liam.
“Especially since she is such a wonderful mum to her four kids and would do anything to keep them safe and healthy,” she says.
Lauren had previously explained to Be that they used cheeseburgers because Liam had always been a little “chunkier” than his twin sister.
“We were kind of celebrating how big and strong he was despite being a twin and born at a smaller birth weight,” Lauren told us.