To wish people wouldn't hold my baby's hands

(187 Posts)
anicegreentea Mon 19-Nov-12 11:44:44

especially at this bug ridden time of year.
I keep telling myself not to be uptight and just go with the flow. You can't stop people cooing over cute babies.
But yesterday lady in department store came over to talk to him, holding both hands for ages. Then he grabbed her pen which she thought was cute/funny. I didn't say anything - what can you say anyway?!
Today he has vomiting, temperature, runny nose. I know it might not have been from this lady, but also It might have been!
Also had uncomfortable incident when an old lady who looked almost homeless did something similar in marks and spencers a few months ago.
Do these things annoy anyone else?!

Devora Tue 20-Nov-12 12:40:20

What a hilarious thread!

I think Pagwatch's post was the most sensible of the lot. We will lose an awful lot if we ban interaction between strangers and babies. And touch IS part of interaction. Not without limits: I agree that a finger jammed into a newborn's mouth is both unpleasant and intrusive. And people should not touch if their hands are not clean. And they should take it gradually, checking all the while that the baby looks happy.

But babies have no language, and talking/coochy cooing at them is very limited. Holding a little hand is a really important part of the repertoire of how we communicate with babies, isn't it? I really can't see the harm.

But then I'm jealous, because my baby looked like a Jewish accountant with a combover (so I was told) and nobody ever wanted to touch her grin

EasilyBored Tue 20-Nov-12 12:17:10

I've missed so many words from that post. I don't even know how that happened.

EasilyBored Tue 20-Nov-12 12:16:22

I don't particularly like it when random strangers touch my baby, but I let them because I think it's a bit rude to say anything if they have come over to admire how beautiful he is. He's at nursery now, so I've stopped caring if he picks up a bug from a stranger, as he spends all day licking other baby so pretty much has a perma-runny nose. DS is more likely to spread germs to other people, than catch them himself. Plus, I agree with poster who explained why people want to touch babies, and I'd rather that society continued to view him as precious and look out for him. Also, DS is a chubby, smiling, very very sociable little guy, and revels in the attention from strangers. Being pushed around Tesco in a trolley is one of his favourite things to do.

The only time I have bothered to wipe him down after a person touched him, was when that person was actually homeless. The guy was lovely, very friendly and admiring of DS, but he was filthy. And he stroked DS's face. That time I discreetly wiped him down after the man had left.

DH, on the otherhand, can't stand it when people touch DS, and wipes down the shopping trolley before putting DS in it etc. I just let him get on with it.

whoopwhoopbib Tue 20-Nov-12 11:59:41

Yanbu OP I don't like it when strangers feel the need to touch DD's hands or face. I don't say anything at the time as I am aware that this would be rather rude and offensive so I just give a quick wipe with a baby wipe.

It's not just mum's of pfb though, I was waiting with a nurse outside hospital to be picked up and a couple came over to speak to DD who was 4 months. I sat there with her on my lap and chatted to the couple staring all the while at the womans heavily nicotine stained fingers which were holding DD's hands. As soon as they walked off the nurse turned to me and asked if I had a wipe for DD as she didn't like the look of the womans hands!

I am fully aware that babies need to be exposed to germs etc but even the baby groups we go to wipe over the toys with anti bac wipes so we can't all be unreasonable.

squoosh Tue 20-Nov-12 10:32:14

A finger held out for a baby to grip is a world away from fingers in eyes, fingers in mouths.

Mrsjay Tue 20-Nov-12 09:17:13

I will skip the primates discussion, although I believe we are a bit more evolved.

of course we have evovled a bit more but the principle of raising babies is sort of the same everybody or ape will touch the baby and make sure they are ok it is natural and I think humans are the same , although we dont go grooming for beasties anymore grin

Merinda Tue 20-Nov-12 09:13:59

I love the primates comments as well as living in a village ones.
I will skip the primates discussion, although I believe we are a bit more evolved.
London (where I live) is not a village. It has millions of people taking the tube, flying in and out of airports, bringing germs from all over the world. High TB prevalence, by the way. A bit more immune system testing than needed for an average baby.
In many cultures (e.g. Asia, Eastern Europe) it is customary to keep the baby at home or shield from strangers for quite a while, in some cases up to a year. This is an ancient custom, and I think a very wise one.

Finally, all to their own, of course. I am not happy for my baby to be touched by strangers. I think OP is not unreasonable. If you are - great.
Just yesterday a lady came up and stuck her fingers in my baby's eye, because "he has really long eyelashes". People routinely try to stick their fingers in his mouth "to check how many teeth he has". I think this is ridiculous, an invasion of privacy for both me and the baby, and extremely unhealthy. So I will continue to be polite but firm in not letting them do so. There are plenty of ways to interact with a baby without touching them.

SoupDragon Tue 20-Nov-12 07:30:38

The stranger wants to touch the baby.
The parent does not want the stranger to touch the baby.

Who has the right to decide what happens in this circumstance?

It's not a matter of who makes the decision really, it is whether the parent is being at all rational and basing their decision on actual fact rather than perceived danger.

Growlithe Tue 20-Nov-12 07:21:45

What are you going to do when the child has to go to school?

DonnieD Tue 20-Nov-12 07:05:44

All good for the immune system!

Valdeeves Tue 20-Nov-12 07:03:18

I know loads oof people who feel that way about their newborn. It's natural to feel over protective. I always wash my hands before holding s newborn for exactly that reason. You'll feel less like this as your hormones calm down.

exoticfruits Tue 20-Nov-12 06:47:26

The stranger has the right to decide,LimeLeafLizard, or at least if not the right, they will if they want to. The mother has to realise that she can only control herself and she has no control over others and if she wants 'my baby, my rules' she has to stay at home! You can't control the entire environment out of the home - however much you might want to. Personally I don't touch random babies but other people will. If the baby doesn't like it they let them know!

Well, there is another slant to this. With ds1 I had crippling pnd from day 3 (didn't know what it was at that point obviously), and wouldn't let anyone touch him. My own dh only got to hold him about three or four times in the first four months of his life. I always made excuses to stop friends and family from touching/holding him. Took him everywhere with me in his car seat, ie toilet, shower, everywhere.

Had a random stranger touched or even breathed on him, it would have sent me into a massive panic attack, and I'd have taken him home and bathed him (and washed everything he was wearing, blankets etc as well). So, I understand how ridiculously unusual this is (and it's only recently I've been able to talk about it. And he's eight), but would it do any harm for people to ask mum/dad if they mind before touching baby? Might just save someone a bit of upset?

On the upside, meds and counselling sorted it out after about 11 months, and neither of us is the worse for it. Oh, and as a side note, even though I probably did nothing for his new immune system, he has been surprisingly robust and sick only a handful of times in his life.

LimeLeafLizard Mon 19-Nov-12 23:07:52

They don't want strangers touching their baby -full stop!

Exactly.

So in summary, this boils down to:

The stranger wants to touch the baby.
The parent does not want the stranger to touch the baby.

Who has the right to decide what happens in this circumstance?

BuddyTheChristmasElf Mon 19-Nov-12 22:14:05

I agree, the mum-dad-baby bubble is unnatrual and not enough (that is if the dad gets a look in)

of course premature babies etc excepted, for otherwise healthy babies.. it takes a village and all that!

exoticfruits Mon 19-Nov-12 22:03:21

It was in the news this week that our nuclear family is a very new thing and unnatural for children-in the past there would have been the extended family and the baby would likely have been used to be carried around by 8yr old sister or cousin etc. I can't see it is good for them to be kept in a sterile environment. The only reason to worry is, as someone has already said, if they have a problem with the immune system or are premature.
If the mothers who are fussing are honest they don't want strangers touching their baby even if they had showered, put on gowns, masks and gloves! They don't want strangers touching their baby -full stop!

ThePathanKhansWitch Mon 19-Nov-12 22:00:12

We used to swim in a canal, where by all accounts children got polio.

We were horrible filthy kids, very rarely ill.

But i do understand ops worries.
But the childer need a bit of dirt to get their immunity goin

Mrsjay Mon 19-Nov-12 21:24:32

>>.runs and hugs pagwatch invading space and everything grin

we are essentially primates and primates value babies you will see them being touched by other females in the troop so think of that woman as a monkey next time she coos and touches your baby grin

Mrsjay Mon 19-Nov-12 21:18:02

Babies are quite clear if they don't like something! Generally it is the mother with the problem. It is much better for the baby to be social than live in a bubble.

^ ^ this babies will cry if they dont like you and TBH there isnt that many baby botherers about just people and they dont dive into the pram to touch babies do they

Mspontipine Mon 19-Nov-12 21:09:36

looked almost homeless hmm

Nanny0gg Mon 19-Nov-12 20:59:12

And yes, it is different for babies with low immune systems, or prem babies.
But in general, the above stands.

Nanny0gg Mon 19-Nov-12 20:58:11

Pagwatch's post is so sensible it's worth repeating:
"The urge to touch a baby is natural and healthy. The fact that strngers are hard wired to feel affectionate and protective towards your child is good in societal terms. A baby is supremely vulnerable. Society valuing them is good. But by all means lets stamp this out. Let's get mothers and fathers telling strangers to fuck off and let's wipe them down with anti-bacterial cloths if a stranger comes too close. Then let's enjoy how often strangers want to help with buggies, have babies next to them in restaurants, on planes - lets see how that lost toddler in the shopping centre gets on. Let's just keep all human contact to a minimum. It's for the best. The urge to touch a baby is natural and healthy. The fact that strngers are hard wired to feel affectionate and protective towards your child is good in societal terms. A baby is supremely vulnerable. Society valuing them is good"

Or, alternatively, keep them indoors till they're 18...

exoticfruits Mon 19-Nov-12 20:47:04

It must be a cultural thing. Can you imagine this thread on Italian MN or Greek MN?

They wouldn't understand it-and then the British get accused of not being child loving! The message from the parent is 'love my child on my terms-but it doesn't work that way-people are child loving on their own terms or they don't want to bother!

elizaregina Mon 19-Nov-12 19:38:33

I personally usually coo at little ones too - or make faces. I wouldnt touch them though.

You have no idea what the circs are of that baby.

My DD was very very hard to feed - lots of reflux, coming down with plenty of things as she still does. They get exposed to plenty of germs anyway - without unneccasirly adding to it.

We were in and out of docs and peadiatricians with her weight - she dropped off the percintile thing altogether. Trying to build up her appetite again was a long up hill struggle and as she had absoluty no fat on her - when she was sick or ill - she dropped weight more rapildy than other chubbier babies - and was skin and bone.

Becasue of this - when we are ill and have a play date due et...I do always warn our hosts that we are ill - so they can cancel us if they want too because I know how awful it is - if you have a child like mine was.

One of the people who man handled my DD once was a nice lad - a firned of a friend of DH> once when we met up with the group this guy wasnt there - why........

" oh he has TB and I know he hasnt been taking his tablets!"

How long has he had it?

" a good few months"

gordyslovesheep Mon 19-Nov-12 19:34:49

I am quiet happy to ignore your little germ ridden snot baby - fear not - some people do not think all babies are simply adorable - I don't

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