Do you let strangers touch your infant?

~♥Little Miss - posted on 12/09/2010 ( 40 moms have responded )

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Ok, so I love when people come up to me when I am shopping and tell me how beautiful my baby is..what mother doesn't want to hear that? It bothers me when people grab her hand..the hand she puts into her mouth. An older women yesterday in the store got so excited when my daughter was interacting with her (yes the lady was holding her hand playing with her..) and actually kissed her hand. I was suprised by that. After we were done, and walked away...I got a baby wipe out. Do you let strangers touch your kids? I don't particularly like it..,.and most of the time I am pretty savvy about avoiding it...what do you do?

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[deleted account]

When Jacob was an infant I would get all "Momma bear" when a stranger would touch him without asking. The year he was born we were at the mall for some Christmas shopping. Jacob was 6 weeks old at the time and in the stroller. I stopped to look at this kiosk in the middle of the mall that had these picture frames that looked like strips of film and the girl there (about 20ish) just went all goo goo ga ga over Jacob and started touching and KISSING him ON HIS FACE, her over-gelled hair rubbing all over him and the stroller. I guess Steve could see that I was about to blow my top and so he gently took me by the arm, we pushed the stroller down a ways and I got out the wipes and began furiously wiping everything, starting with the baby. That same day, on our way out of the mall, a woman stopped and asked, "Would you mind if I admire your baby for a moment?" She was standing there with her 12ish year old daughter and I was so taken aback by the nice way she approached me that I said, "Sure!" Then, her daughter asked, "May I touch his hand?" I was fine with that too. I think it's all in the asking. It's not that I felt the need to shelter him from any diseases or filth (although, one never knows who's been where and done what)....it was more that YOU DON'T TOUCH A STRANGER'S BABY WITHOUT ASKING! I wouldn't touch a stranger's purse, shopping bag, car, or anything else without asking first. Why do people think it's ok to touch a baby without asking??? I mean, if someone at the grocery liked my purse and just started petting it, my first reaction would be to wack them with said purse. That girl who rubbed her hair all over Jacob at the mall is lucky she walked away with ANY hair lol

Katherine - posted on 12/09/2010

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Old people LOVE babies. They just do. I have had to sacrifice mine a few times, but I just wash her up. Otherwise no one else can touch my kid. I want to put a sign on my girls that says so.
It's very uncomfortable for me when others do that. I used to work in a nursing home and I know how much the older ones love the little ones.
I just can't say no to that. They are the only exception :)

Angela - posted on 12/09/2010

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just ask them nicely, not to hold her hands, and definiately not to kiss them. and jus tell them, with all the colds and things going around, you r jus trying to protect her as much as you can. it may sound mean, but sometimes people dont think about things like that until after they do them. they can say how cute they are and still not touch them.

Sarah - posted on 12/10/2010

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It bothers me too, but like you, I clean the baby after. I try to avoid it if I can, put her into the wrap so she's close to me, or I put the hood up on the stroller and partially cover her. It hard because you don't want to offend anyone, but it is cold and flu season too. Baby's health comes first.

Krista - posted on 12/09/2010

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Yeah, it does tend to be the older ladies, doesn't it? They luuuuurve babies. Mind you, I'm the same -- if I'm out shopping and see someone with a little baby, I always voice my admiration. I never touch the babies, though. I remember what it's like to have this tiny, fragile newborn and feel like the whole world is full of germs.



I was really nervous about it when Sam was tiny, because it was at the height of the H1N1 scare, and he was too young to be vaccinated. (And I don't think baby wipes would do much against the flu virus.) I can't believe that people were so clueless as to try to touch a newborn's hands and face during a deadly flu outbreak. For the most part, I was able to hold them off by just gently saying, "I don't want to be rude, but with the flu going around, I'd prefer to not have people touching his hands or his face." They were always very understanding about it, and would be perfectly content tickling his little foot or ruffling his hair.

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Michelle - posted on 12/15/2010

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I hate it when strangers try to hold my little boys hand and also don't know how to tell people this without being rude. Even friends of the family really annoy me by trying to hug him. Also we are all taught not to speak to strangers when we are younger so why do people come up to children and think its ok to chat to them in the first place, surely they should think about what they are doing.

Krista - posted on 12/12/2010

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what about my son? when he was 5, he was in LOVE with babies. This one time, he went to gently stroke a baby's (six months or so) head and the mother literally yelled and jumped away...that's not cool...

No, I agree, Laura. That wasn't cool at all. Setting boundaries is one thing. Being a rude asshole about it is quite another. The proper way to handle that would have been to say to your son, "Sweetie, that's so nice that you want to say hi to the baby. But she's really not feeling well right now and I wouldn't want you to get sick, so why don't you tickle her feet instead? She loves that -- it makes her giggle!"

There's no excuse to be a jerk to a little kid. I was talking more about adults who should know better than to touch a newborn's hands during the height of H1N1 -- and even then, I was always polite about it.

Sharon - posted on 12/12/2010

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I totally know how you feel! Different cultures have different ways of showing their love, don't they? It's my personal belief that it's not appropriate to invade another being's personal space without permission. Even our dog, gets to choose who invades her space or not. At 52 I got my first pet. I have a chihuahua named Latte. I learned that you never invade another pet - dog's space without permission from the pet's owner, and you invite yourself in by offering your hand for the dog to sniff before asking to pet the dog. Without asking permission from the owner to pet the dog, that person could get a bite! It's not fair that the dog should be punished for the person that violates it's space. Wow! What a learning example that is!

We don't have a protocol for offering to caress or give love to another person's child do we? It is invading another person's space uninvited when that happens isn't it? However, I also have compassion for the love that came from that nice lady who was genuinely affectionate with your purely innocent beautiful baby energy that is so lovely. That kind of expression of love energy shouldn't be punished either. It's love that makes the world go 'round right? Shouldn't we encourage more of that kind of loving energy, rather than reject it?

I think it's really the best thing, all things considered, you just use the baby wipe as you did, and go on about your day. It's probably no different than when baby reaches out and touches something dirty. It's a moment in time, where you just take care of things and move on. When I get to see babies, I love to make eye contact and play with them with my eyes. I wave at them and say nice things to them, but I never touch. I wait for baby to tell me with their expressions if they are even ready for interaction. Some are shy, some are playful. Rarely do they want to touch. Sometimes, if I have something to play with, I'll offer a toy, to see if they want to play. It could be a paper napkin folded into a hat, or keys that jingle, something interesting to look at or touch. In restaurants, it's always fun to play peekaboo with a baby neighbor in the booth. It's a wonderful thing! But, the older generation, had more permission to be in charge. When I grew up, children were to be seen and not heard. We didn't have a lot of permission to own our space. This was their world, and when they get older, that generation will change even less. They often think that new parents are too lenient, and that we give our power away too much. They think that new parents don't teach kids the basics like learning to say please and thank you. Perhaps, there is a happy medium to take. For example, when my daughter was an infant or even a toddler, I never expected her to be nice to a strange man ( usually a nice male waiter) who would talk to her in a nice way. If she was uncomfortable, I would joke with the waiter and shrug my shoulders and say "I guess she's just not that into you!" I never expected my child to be forced to be friendly with anyone, especially men that she seemed uncomfortable with. I never want my daughter to give her power away to a man. This is for her safety in the future. I want her to have a healthy confidence. I want her to have her own instincts with the people who approach her, so she can learn what feels safe, and what doesn't. Maybe, I've veered off the subject a little, but I hope this can be helpful to other moms of daughters. This could probably be a good topic to share. Today, 98% of women don't feel good about their bodies. That is shocking to me! That's a lot of us, who don't love ourselves enough to just be who we are!!!! It's time to change that! We need to teach our babies and maybe especially our daughters, that they are beautiful, no matter what size or shape they/we are!!! With that said, I showed my daughter in that act of letting her own her space, that she had the right to feel her feelings. Respect them when they are babies, let them show you how they feel. Help them own their space. Let them feel independence a little at a time, so they can learn how to handle it bit by bit, year by year. Let them learn to respect mommy too. Show them how you respect yourself by listening to your own inner guidance.

Take joy in the fact that you attracted love to you, and not anything less than...Babies are so lovely! I have three kids who are 30, 26, and 14. They grow up so fast. It's a beautiful time in your life. Enjoy the best of it. Love, Love, Love! By law of attraction, you get more of.

Stifler's - posted on 12/12/2010

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I've never really been in the position where someone is all in his face though. People usually just say he is really cute and tickle his feet. Some random kids at the ultrasound clinic wanted to play, it was cute.

[deleted account]

It is definately not ok to be rude to people or yell at a youngster for approaching and/or touching your infant. If you politely tell them not to touch they will understand but also may be disappointed.

Now Emma let's not be naive. If someone is ill and gets in you infants face getting all kissy or lovey or that innocent little kid that just wants to check your baby out also has some kind of illness your infant can catch it.And if your child does get it, hopefully it is not bad enough to send your child to the hospital. Infants immune systems are very fragile. Lots of people out there are ignorant and think nothing of running around spreading their germs. Believe me I know, I'm related to some of those people.

Emily - posted on 12/11/2010

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Politely excuse yourself "Oh excuse me I just have to be over there." I think it has to do with culture too. I live in a place with a lot of Koreans. I get asked all the time if they can hold, yes hold?! my little infant. I'm like, do I know you? The key though, is not to be rude.

Dayna - posted on 12/10/2010

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The other day at the mall , a stranger came up to me and my baby and squeezed her cheeks then kissed her right beside her mouth! I think thats a litte much. Im ok when they touch her feet and that sort of thing but I think its werid to kiss someone else's baby

Stifler's - posted on 12/10/2010

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Yeah, I don't really mind. It's not going to hurt him really. I love seeing other people with teeny babies! They are so little and cute.

Isobel - posted on 12/10/2010

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what about my son? when he was 5, he was in LOVE with babies. This one time, he went to gently stroke a baby's (six months or so) head and the mother literally yelled and jumped away...that's not cool...THAT is what's wrong with today's society.

[deleted account]

I too am with the others about asking permission. I think the overbearing people got the hint with the cozy covers. The ones that just want to admire would politely ask permission to take a peek. After all the pediatrition does tell you not to bring newborns out in public if you can help it.

LAURA ?-I'm with you on the germ thing but not for infants. I would have hated for my newborns to catch the flu becauce I let all the nice people get in their faces and touch them. A lot of times infants end up in the hospital because of the flu.

[deleted account]

I get your point Laura but you did notice, didnt you, that I said I DO let older folk be affectionate with my kids?

Stephanie - posted on 12/10/2010

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i don't like it when people touch my son so i usually just tell them. if they get mad it's whatever. my kid don't touch i don't know you or what germs you are carrying. i don't want my baby sick.

Isobel - posted on 12/10/2010

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I also think that germs make you healthier in the long run...but that's a different debate (or maybe it isn't)

[deleted account]

I didn't avoid anyone when Jacob was an infant. And I probably wouldn't have been so protective of him if half the people who just reached out and touched him had asked first. It wasn't the contact, it was the lack of consent. I mean, Jacob is the type of child who I always describe as "He's never met a stranger" so it's not like I kept him in a bubble or anything and I was never rude or yanked him away from anyone but inside me I would be boiling. If they had asked, I probably would have said ok. I was never one to worry about keeping him away from germs. He's been exposed to plenty of ill people (strangers, friends, family, etc) and he's only himself been sick maybe 2 times. I mean, to me, when he was tiny, it made no difference to me who was trying to touch him...the dirty, smelly man hanging out outside the grocery or the sweet old lady inside picking out apples or the lady in line at the checkout....I probably would have let all of them touch him if they had asked first. Well, I may have not let the dirty, stinky man touch him but you get my drift lol

Isobel - posted on 12/10/2010

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see, but that's my point, you automatically jump to that image...my first instinct is to imaging a little old lady tickling their feet or letting them grab their finger...I HATE that people avoid everybody now. There are enough assholes in the world, when somebody is nice to me or my kid, I'm gonna appreciate it and be nice back :)

Krista - posted on 12/10/2010

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yup...friendly people who like babies are assholes...keep your kids as far away as humanly possible.

Come on, Laura. :) You know there's a happy medium between keeping your kid in a bubble like that kid on Seinfeld, and letting all these random people with snotty noses glom all over your newborn's hands and face.

Bonnie - posted on 12/10/2010

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I think permission is the key word. If they would just nicely ask permission to touch their hand or something that is one thing, but to just automatically assume it's okay for them as a stranger to act as though they have known you forever is what bothers me I think.

Isobel - posted on 12/10/2010

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and that's what's wrong with the world today...that's why our kids don't treat people with respect and that's why everybody is afraid of each other.

[deleted account]

I love babies and kids so much it's unbelievable and I love nothing more than just observing kids as I think they are the purest form of life; but I would never, ever touch someone else's child without permission. I usually just give the child a smile or a wave and leave it at that. But I do get that the older generation was socialised differently than ours so like many others I am tolerant of them being affectionation with my children.

Isobel - posted on 12/10/2010

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yup...friendly people who like babies are assholes...keep your kids as far away as humanly possible.

Don't we have better things to worry about than people trying to be nice to you and your kid?

[deleted account]

My twins were born Dec. last year. Where we live it gets cold in winter. My sister-in-law bought us cozy covers for the infant car seats. They are wonderful! We could bring the kids shopping and they were completely covered. We would even keep the face flap down in the store. No germs no intrusive strangers. Works like a charm.

Brooke - posted on 12/09/2010

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Also, working in aged care we undergo a lot of training, one was infection control... you do all realise that by the time you have used a wipe to "clean" your infant the germs have already crept through and opening in the body.. If a person across the room sneazes it only takes one of the bacteria in the drop of snot or saliva which can contain millions to make you sick..
So there you go only 1 out of 1000000 bacteria in a drop can give you that terrible flu. So with those being the chances of getting sick I don't think there is really much chance of protectiong unless you want to quarantine your house and never step foot outside again lol

Brooke - posted on 12/09/2010

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for me it really depends... if I can see that the person is sick, has any signs of disease etc then no I would not let them touch my child, but I believe by these types of interactions that a childs immune system is built. Since my daughter was 4 days old she has been out and about with us. She has had children swoon all over her etc.. I am careful that they are not sick. I have had my daughter camping, canoeing, at theme parks... She is almost two and ill even let her in the playground at mcdonalds.. She is a very healthy little girl who has had a slight cold only a couple of times during winter. I believe it is because we have exposed her to germs that she has become immune.

[deleted account]

Honestly I didn't worry about the germ aspect. It was more of a "why are these creepy people wanting to touch my baby?" thing. Other than in church during peace, I ask people if they wouldn't touch her.

Sneaky - posted on 12/09/2010

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Grrrr, when my baby was still an infant she would sleep in the pram while we were out - but only if her hat had slid down over her eyes to block our the light! I lost count of the number of times people touched her to move her hat and woke her up! I lost count of the number of times old ladies abused either my husband or myself for letting her sleep like that and refusing to move her hat when they told us to! It still aggravates the hell out of me to think about it and I still don't understand it - the hat was over her EYES not her NOSE!!!!

My only problem now is little people - my oldest two or in pre-school/daycare so their are always lots of grubby little fingers who want to touch the baby at drop-off/pick-up time and birthday parties and the like. I always just speak to the child the same way I would talk to my own and say 'don't touch her hands (or face or whatever) please, just tickle her toes, she likes that'. Usually parents and teachers get embarrassed at this point and drag the child away, but kids are curious and I understand their fascination. However I do wipe her down after a sneaky hand has gotten in there and I do quarantine her toys until after they have been washed if a grubby hand touches them!

[deleted account]

I also have to admit that there were a few times older ladies would touch my baby and I didn't mind. Somehow, aside from understanding that this is the norm for them, they just seem harmless. It was the younger people I wanted to tackle lol People today should know better, IMO.

Laura - posted on 12/09/2010

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No, generally I wouldn't let strangers touch my daughter. As pointed out previously, however, there is a generational gap in understanding of what is now considered appropriate social behavior regarding others' children. Our parents and grandparents generation see nothing wrong with physically admiring other peoples' babies. That was common practice way back when and, generally speaking, the older generation still see this as socially acceptable behavior. With that understanding I was a bit more tolerant of older folks holding her hand or touching her cheeks. A quick wipe down afterwards can generally take care of any concerns about "cooties".

If this still makes a parent uncomfortable, then by all means speak up! Politely, but firmly, ask that you not touch the baby. You can choose to be truthful and simply let folks know that you don't like strangers touching your child. Any number of little white lies can embelish the request without neccessarily hurting the others' feelings: My baby is sick/getting sick, Baby just fell asleep, etc.

One can always hope that manners and courteous behavior still exist in society and that strangers would a least ask permission. If someone does display good manners by asking, consider rewarding them with a quick finger hold by your little one! Afterall, a diaper wipe will take care of any germs...

Medic - posted on 12/09/2010

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I always put myself between my kids and other people. There is something about living in Texas and having a redhead that everyone wants to touch his hair to see if its real, and he is FOUR. Then we have ojo or however you spell it so it's bad luck for hispanics not to touch your baby. I really do come off as rude about it unless people ask me....but anyone my 10 month old don't know that just looks at her she cries.

Firebird - posted on 12/09/2010

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Yea, the little old ladies did that all the time. But I grew up in a small town and I'm still here, They all know my parents and me, even if I don't know them. They usually started off by telling me that my daughter looked just like I did when I was a baby, so as long as they weren't wiping their nose, or coughing, and they didn't smell like sour milk. I saw no harm in letting them hold her hand.

Angie - posted on 12/09/2010

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I never like it but I allowed it to happen sometimes. Other times, I tell people that my child was sick and they probably shouldn't touch him/her. Sometimes, I was to the point, please don't touch him/her, I just got him/her to settle down.....

[deleted account]

People who love children.. tend to want to kiss them.. cuddle them.. and jus hold them.. but for a stranger.. to just take any child ..hug and kiss all over it.. is alitle extreme...although.. tha respectful thing to do.. is ask..Do I know you..that seems to back a person off..but..in a nice way..tha baby wipe was a great idea...take care

~♥Little Miss - posted on 12/09/2010

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Katherine...I feel the same way...it really does seem like it is only the old ladies that overstep the boundries...they just can't seem to help themselve! Good think I always have baby wipes handy!

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