22 answers

How Do I Nicely Tell People They Cannot Hold My Baby?

I feel that babies are little people and it seems weird to me that everyone thinks it is okay to pass around a baby from lap to lap. My baby does not enjoy it and usually gets irritated with going back and forth.
Whenever we see my husband's family I get hassled for not taking her out of the carrier (ergo or mei tai). I keep her in there because if I don't I will get hounded to pass her to everyone else. I want her to be able to be free as she is 4 months and wants to explore. How can I nicely say to others that I would rather them not hold her? Touchy subject huh...

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

I would just ask them nicely to please not pick her up. Tell them that it disrupts her schedule as she is upset all night after a visit. If that doesn't work then just stop the visits all together for awhile. They will get the message.

Just nicely say that she doesn't like to be held much. If they don't like it, that's tough. My second son really didn't, even by me. If I wasn't feeding him, he didn't want to be held long. So I just told people that. He actually had me worried because he had such an aversion to being held, but he's fine and even pretty affectionate now (he's 7). You are right, they are little people, and some like their space and freedom as much as we do.

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I think that you shouldn't have to disregard your own feelings to accommodate other people's feelings. You are the mother, and you don't have to explain to other people why you feel the way you do. That being said, I also know how difficult it can be to stand up or say something awkward to friends and family. Perhaps you can use the "flu season" as a source of concern. Also, a friend of mine once gave me great advice...she told me that our babies don't have a voice to express when someone is in their personal space and that we, as moms, have to provide that voice. Think about it...we would never pass around an adult and get in their face...so why should we tolerate someone being disrespectful to our little ones and getting all up in their space. I say...whatever works for you,,,do! Another tip might be that if it's your husband's family/friends that he be the one to speak up and vice versa. Best of luck!

1 mom found this helpful

Hi L.,
I was irked by a previous post that said that babies in orphanages die from staying in their cribs. Just HOW is that applicable to your story? Rest assured, nothing will happen to your sweet babe if you keep him from being passed around. You WILL, however, keep your child from getting up close and personal with someone with a cold or flu.

Babies going from lap to lap is not usually fun for the baby and you should be allowed to make that call. When I am around friends with little babies I say, "If you need a break from holding the lil' one, I am here to hold him/her". It totally takes the pressure off the parents. I never passed my little ones around and they are better for it.

Oh, and commenting on that previous post. Babies were born to be held.....which you are already doing.
Good for you for acting in the best interest of your baby.

1 mom found this helpful

You are so lucky to have a little baby. You may never get it yourself, but many people (especially women whose children are older) get baby fever! It's such a pure and wonderful feeling to hold a baby!!
So you can't blame everyone for wanting to hold her

That being said...

You are her mom and it's up to you. It totally depends on your personality how you want to actually say it, but I think honesty is the best policy. Don't tell people she is sick if she isn't, or make up any other reason. You can say, "I know I'm a kooky first time mom, but I hope you can respect my wishes that I don't want her to be passed around/held by a bunch of people." ..... Or you can let the first person pick her up and when she fusses, say, "As you can see, she really isn't the type of baby who likes to be passed around/picked up. She's content in her carrier (or whatever) so let's go ahead and put her back in it."

1 mom found this helpful

Hi L.,

Yes it is a touchy subject - especially since you are talking about your husbands' family. Some people, no, A LOT of people wont understand (in my experience) but I completely do. If your in-laws are like mine, this is how it would play out if you were to simply say, "No, I think she would be happier not being held." They would swoop in, claiming, "Nonsense! She LOVES to be held by Grandma/Aunt/Cousin..." So, when I got to this same point with my in-laws, there had to be a showdown, so to speak. When I got my daughter out, they swarmed. I told them, firmly, that I believe she would rather not be held, but that we would like to visit. When my MIL tried to ignore me and reach for my daughter anyway, to stepped in the way and said again, "No, I think she would be happier not being held." I added with it a serious look. My MIL looked at me as if she had never really seen me before, but I noticed that it worked and when she stepped down, the other females followed her lead. And I'm going to be honest - I didn't want my baby passed around because there are some smokers in the family and it was (and is now) flu season. No thank you. So, my reasoning wasn't as "nice" as yours. But after that one clash where I stood my ground, my MIL would try the pout thing from time to time, but when she sees I'm not affected by it, she stops. There was a time that I stopped going to her home because she kept pushing the issue. Now she knows that if she wants to see her grandchild, she will follow my rules. Sometimes when I say this to people, they say I sound a bit Witchy... But this is my daughter, I remind them. And when my MIL was a mother of young children she was just as demanding. Heck, as a mother of completely grown children, she is as demanding... :) So, my ultimate answer is stand your ground, let your child out of the carrier and run interference until they know you are serious. And, if they can't follow your rules, don't go back, at least for a while.

Good luck,

1 mom found this helpful

It's funny how people are so different! I always "shared" my babies because I remember how much joy it gave me to hold other people's babies. If they cried, I quickly took them back.

However, you are well within your rights not to pass your baby around, (especially during this cold/flu season). Love that you use slings! I think your best bet is to keep doing what you are doing. If you take her out of the sling, you are bound to get requests and I don't think there is any "nice way" to tell people they can't hold your baby. They are just going to have to be irked at you for withholding her (in fact someone did that to me in my younger years and I was really taken aback-- I still remember it vividly.)

You may want to consider at least letting your family try to hold her and give her an opportunity to get to know them. To me, it's kind of mean not to let them enjoy this little member of their family, and it's a disservice to your daughter not to teach her that she can trust other adults besides Mommy and Daddy. Just my two cents, because in the end YOU are the Mommy.

I would just ask them nicely to please not pick her up. Tell them that it disrupts her schedule as she is upset all night after a visit. If that doesn't work then just stop the visits all together for awhile. They will get the message.

Hi. My kids hated being passed around. I kept them in a sling (over the shoulder baby holder) and that was that. I said, "she is happy here. That's where she wants to be." Period. Done. Didn't care that they commented about not passing her around. My baby was happy and so was I.

Well, tough question. Babies were born to be held! Orphans who stay in their cribs can actually die. I love going to family gatherings because I know there will be lots of people to help hold my son (4 months). If he gets irritated, then they get the idea. It's amazing how nobody really wants to hold a CRYING baby. :) Then he can just kick on the floor on a blankie.

So, I guess I'm really all for babies going lap to lap. It's good for babies and the family. And toddlers don't allow you to hold them much, so enjoy it while you can.

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