When a stranger asks to hold your baby...(233 Posts)
Met a friend for coffee and cake this afternoon with my 8 month old... DS is very friendly and sociable and the lady serving our table took quite a shine to him. She kept 'popping back' to check we were ok and to smile and wave at DS. I am very sociable myself and as DS is such a smiler I often getting chatting to people out and about which I am more than happy to do... however, this lady wouldn't leave us alone and persisted to keep coming back for well over an hour. Not only was this annoying as I had not seen my friend in months (who had driven for over an hour to see us), but I was trying to feed DS and she kept distracted him which eventually led to a meltdown in the middle of the cafe. Finally as I was picking him up from his high chair to put him in his pram she came over and held her hands out and asked if she could hold him... I found this totally inappropriate. In my shock my mind went absolutely blank and I rather abruptly just blurted out 'no you cannot' - I am usually a very polite easy going person, but I was so shocked by her request and I guess instinct just kicked. AIBU to feel this was an inappropriate request of this woman? What would you have said/done?
I wouldn't give my most precious thing to a stranger. So no.
No, he's fussy, I have to get him home now, or no, he gets upset if people he doesn't know hold him.
I get awkward around that also. Everyone is always stopping me to say something about my daughter (ie how much hair she has or her big eyes) it gets extremely annoying with all the comments and one lady who was a bit older even wanted to hold her in the baby shop and I too was a bit taken aback and rudely said no and walked off. I would never want to hold or touch a strangers baby so I don't know why they feel it's okay to do so. I hate when people touch her or her hair but I just smile politely and walk away. I don't have the balls to say can you not touch my baby 😂
To be fair at least she asked! I once had someone pick my crying baby up off my lap at a play group without asking me. He was crying because he was tired and he was crying for no longer than about 30 sec and I was putting my baby carrier on so he could sleep in there so I could still look after 2 yr old DS1. I know she was trying to help but I think she also knew she was doing something wrong as she made no eye contact with me while she did it or for about a full minute afterwards while I sat there a bit flabbergasted. I wasn't sure if it was hormones and lack of sleep making me feel a bit enraged by it so didn't say anything at the time but wished I had afterwards!
It's interesting. I have a 6m old and an 18m old and am often seen to be struggling. It's amazing the amount of people who are embarrassed to offer to hold the baby to help.
That said, I got my double buggy stuck in some doors the other day. A man said 'can I help?'. At the time I was holding the baby under one arm and trying to manhandle the pram with the other. I turned around and shoved the baby at him. He was preretty shocked
I’ve held strangers babies occasionally. If they’re struggling trying to get a toddler into a lavatory and have a baby too, or similar, why not? It’s sad that people are so mistrustful and see every person as someone to be angry about or imagine them to be dangerous psychopaths.
That said irritating ‘cooers’ and persistent peekabooers intruding on a private conversation would be very irritating.
YANBU. I once let a "kind stranger" hold my baby - was supposed to be for 30 seconds while I was trying to find something in my bag and she pretended to run off, actually "ran" off to the other side of the cafe. I was so angry and wish I'd told her what a nutter she was.
My DD used to get passed around my local cafe for a fuss so I could eat my lunch with both hands
There were a couple of occasions elsewhere that I got a strange vibe from people showing an interest in her so i hurried away though.
I have had similar with DD. I just say sorry, she’s happier with her mum right now. She also has form for bursting into tears on strangers.
I used to let people hold DS. He was a very smiley baby and people used to love him.
I was always there and he wasn’t out of my sight so I didn’t see the harm. It was mainly elderly people and it used to really brighten their day, so I thought it was nice!
It’s sad that people are so mistrustful and see every person as someone to be angry about or imagine them to be dangerous psychopaths.
I once was out with DS alone and couldn’t get the pram up by the tills in a coffee shop. Two old women offered to sit with DS for me while I went to pay. I could see them at all times and could see DS, and I was thankful for their help.
Not everyone is a kidnapper/paedophile/criminal, some people are just nice.
I'd probably have assessed the situation/person and asked if she wanted a cuddle after the first couple of times she fussed over the baby. Loads of people just like to hold a baby.
It never bothered me when my DD was a baby but she is 5 now and I find myself very wary about strangers. She had ASD and can be very over friendly so I am constantly having to peel her off the laps of strangers when we go out.
Cherrypavlova did you take those babies that you held from their mothers without asking first? That was what made me angry in my case - I was literally about to pick him up myself when she snatched him up from my lap almost out of my hands and delayed me getting him to sleep when he was tired - if she had asked I could have said no thank you, or if I had needed help would have gladly accepted if it was offered first. And as you said in OP's case the woman was persistently being intrusive not helpful.
I'm torn. I can't deny my immediate reaction felt it was inappropriate... as harmless as she seemed, her over-friendly-ness was becoming uncomfortable. That said I completely agree with the sentiment that it's a shame to assume strangers have ill intent. I'm sure she was probably was just that - harmless, and I may have upset her which I feel bad about. I guess I need to keep a few stock answers up my sleeve in case I ever find myself in the same situation... the trouble is he looks so blinking happy and that he'd have loved to have a cuddle with her!!
Mummy I would have felt exactly the same of someone had just taken him from me... that to me would have felt quite threatening
I think hormones were making me feel possessive of my newborn though, and lack of sleep making me feel disproportionately enraged which is why I didn't say anything, but afterwards wished I had said something to let her know it wasn't okay to take a baby without asking even if being 'helpful'
Katrina12 I think you're right to trust your instincts but have something prepared to say so it doesn't feel awkward, I think it's natural to feel a bit over protective of our babies!
from the answers on this thread you can see why time. they're probably scared to offer for fear of being looked at in disgust like a baby snatching sicko.
I let my newbies be held be lots of grannies... they were always so delighted and I got a hot cup of tea. Win win.
Ive also handed him over to the lady at the till in the supermarket whilst looking for my purse.
Most recently my 18month old was reaching out for the lady loading the tractor at a farm park. This was a wise move on his part as she took him up front to look at the tractor and have a seat on it whilst I sorted out the buggy and my other dc.
I think there's no harm when I'm with them and it probably brings people joy.
I didn't like it at all. I don't think that everyone is a psychopath and was more than happy for strangers to chat to her but carry her, absolutely not.
Luckily (only lucky in this sort of situation!) she had awful separation anxiety and would scream the place down if out of my arms/ pram. This was from about 6wks and I haven't come across anyone brave enough to ask to hold a newborn.
That said, I used to also hate it when relatives that I'm not close to used to want to hold her. She'd scream her poor little head off and they'd seem to view it as a challenge to calm her. I looked like a nutter on many occasions when I could take no more and would grab her and dash to the other room.
MrSpock - this situation felt a little different. I absolutely chat to the locals around my home town and particularly the elderly who seem to enjoy saying hello to him and I quite enjoy speaking to them myself. This is the first time I've felt quite so uncomfortable... but then again a strangers never asked to hold him before
I'd be livid if this happened to me. DD2 was born at 27 weeks and is very prone to catching every bug/germ going, even friends have to antibac their hands before holding her and we have a sign on her pram asking people not to touch her. A woman in Starbucks tried to stroke her cheek and I said 'please don't, she was premature' and she was very huffy and kept glaring at me.
I wasn't rude but why the fuck would you touch my babies face without invitation? They're not public property!
OP I think you overreacted a bit. Do you think you were frustrated with her because she'd been back and forth checking on DS, so you inadvertently took it out on her by saying no? She obviously was smitten with your lovely baby which there could be a hundred reasons why. A quick cuddle would have probably made her day. She was hardly going to abscond with him was she?!
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