People not giving baby back when asked(53 Posts)
Hope its ok to offload here, feeling a bit glum and disappointed in myself!
I've got a 16 week old DD who can be a bit grumpy and clingy. I don't mind this at all, I'm her mum and if she wants comfort etc then I feel that's my job to be there for her. So in the past when my dad has tried to hold my baby she's started crying and was upset. I asked for baby back as I knew she'd stop crying but he said no she's ok. She wasn't bloody ok and as her cries and my stress level escalated he did give her back. I just think why do people do this? He makes me feel like I'm doing it all wrong but in my heart I know it feels wrong to me to let her cry. Why do people want to keep hold of a baby when they're upset and the parent has clearly asked for the baby back? Its happened recently at work too when I took her in. I'm so mad at myself afterwards when I think about the situation and wish I would grow a pair of balls and be more assertive. I cant stand to hear her cry and know she'll stop if I hold her. It's putting me off seeing certain people now as I find it stressful 'battling' with them to be told "she's ok, babies cry". Has anyone got any experiences of this and how they handled it? Feel a lot better for writing this down and getting it out, sorry its so long though
This happens a lot - it's not just you - that's the first thing.
second thing - some people really don't mind holding crying babies and they may just trying to be kind and let you have a bit of time for yourself or re-assuring you that they understand babies cry. Of course it's upsetting for you to hear your DD crying, but people do this with the best of intentions, mostly.
Have you tried saying something along the lines of "Look if she starts crying, I will take her back" - before you hand her over and before she starts crying and you start to feel upset & anxious. And don't hand her over until they say yes OK. If they says that crying babies don't worry them, just repeat and only pass her over if they agree.
Another way to look at it is that Your dad & others may have loads of experience with babies, but the only way you'll get more experience is by holding the baby yourself
I've had this problem, especially with MIL. I just take DD out of her arms! It's rude, but not as rude as keeping a baby when parents have asked to have her back.
You do need to be assertive. "She's NOT ok, give her back please" while you stand over them with your arms outstretched. Don't take no for an answer. Personally, I hate holding an upset baby and would always hand them back to their mum - I can't understand why other people don't care.
My DD was just like this - I used to firmly tell whoever was holding her that she would carry on until they have her back so I'd rather not listen to her cry for no reason, and hold my arms out as previous poster said. It's an awful feeling isn't it.
I'm a child-minder and have a different perspective on this.
First of all, grandparents have very, very strong bonds with their grandchildren, which parents sometimes dismiss - however, their experience and confidence with a baby can be a bit shaky and if the parents (often the mother) is nervous over this, hovers, constantly asks to have the baby back, and/or hands over the baby with reluctance and anxiety, the baby will be feeling it and become increasingly nervous at being held by someone else - that in this case, a someone else who cares very very much about the baby.
I hear this often when I settle new babies in - a mum (who has no emotional attachment to me) will hand me a baby with reluctance, and will want the baby back at the first sign of being upset, fretting, etc. however, if the mum is confident, trusting and shares comforting words with the baby it's much more likely that the baby will be happy to be held by someone else.
And, it will be much better for you in the long run if you help build trust between your baby and other members of the family/friends.
If it helps, show granddad how to hold the baby, giver him a special blanket to put on his shoulder, and it really is not a big deal if your baby cries for a few minutes. Just imagine if you'd have twins, and one would have to cry occasionally when you'd look after the other twin. Or if your baby was the youngest of 5! They would have to cry occasionally...
it is horrid when this happens - but I think as someone above says, when people say 'she's okay' - they are generally trying to help. What sounds like a really heartbreaking cry to you just sounds like a little grizzling to them! It doesnt wrench their emotions - so they are just trying to help. I would always hand a baby over - but I would probably look to the mum to check they wanted the baby back ! Because now I'm on baby number 2 I don't feel so distressed and if I'm busy with my older child then I do want the other person to try and comfort my baby for me!
that isn't to say you are wrong - you are totally right to want your baby back, but I think you could reframe how you are seeing the other peoples behaviour - and that may make you feel better about it.
especially people like parents/ in laws, they love you and they love your baby so they probably feel that they might be able to comfort them too....
I don't think you should speak firmly as that's a bit OTT - just say in a cheerful but firm way, oh she's a real mummy's girl and then reach and take the baby back...
thegirl snap!! Myself and mil had a eyeballing each other moment before I actually leaned in and took her back.
If your dad is known for this I would definitely pre warn him " dad, if she starts crying, I'll take her back, she settles with me ok?"
I had this often.
I think, they want to feel they are giving you "a break" from the crying baby, and they want to have "a go" at settling her
so they can feel smug.
My mum tells of a neighbour who offered to babysit me, my brother and baby sister one day. She would look after us in our garden for a while so my mum could sleep. We would have been 4, 2 and newborn (it was a summer day and my youngest sister was born in June). Mum says she could hear the baby crying in the pram in the garden, and of course she couldn't sleep, but she felt rude to go downstairs as the neighbour was being kind to offer... my sister (the newborn) is now 31, and mum has never ever forgotten that day!
Second what the childminder says. If you are nervous, the baby will be too.
Thank you all very much for the replies and advise, it's given me some really valuable things to think about
It's ok to want to comfort your own baby though. I think pookamoo is right, and your dad is probably hoping he can settle her so he can be a bit smug and "see?" at what he considers as you being OTT and a bit possessive. But it's your baby and your rules, and I really disagree that you swooping in means your baby will pick up on anxiety and always cry in the presence of her grandparents. She's only 16 weeks and just wants her mum. That's fine! It will be a matter of weeks before she changes again and the grandparents can interact with her and enjoy her more.
Your instincts screaming at you to comfort your crying baby is one of the reason that the human race has survived. The same goes for the reason why your baby cries when she isn't being held by you. It is nothing to do with you being nervous about handing her over so don't let people tell you it's your fault.
Grandparents do love holding their grandchildren and babies won't be harmed if they cry for a few minutes but I remember that gut wrenchingly awful feeling when my babies cried and someone wouldn't hand them back. If you have never experienced it or you have forgotten it, you probably think the mother is being precious but that's tough. Nobody has the right to cause distress to someone else, mother or child, just because they want a cuddle with someone else's baby.
Be assertive. Use clear direct language and take your baby back if that's what you want to do.
Thank you divingoffthebalcony. My dad said to me a few weeks ago he'd noticed that everytime DD cried I jumped up straight away and picked her up. It really made me feel like shit and like I was doing something wrong by responding that way. However I'm not close at all to my dad and he's also advised me to leave my baby at night as she will cry herself to sleep. No bloody way! I suppose it's about me having the confidence to parent how I see best for my daughter and being able to say no to people if I'm not happy about something
Thank you goldmandra and everybody else who has posted. I feel loads better, need to try remember a few things when these situations crop up again
I remember this well. It is an awful feeling. The other person holding your baby won't be experiencing that gut wrenching feeling as it is not their baby. They will just be trying to help. My 2 are no longer babies and I can see that now. You could be honest and say it is making you sad but they can sit next to you and hold babies hand maybe (so they don't feel shut out).
It makes me itch when my newborn cries on anyone else. I frequently take her off her dad and hover a lot around anyone else. I agree with PP that they want to give you a break but it doesn't help much!
I think it is about balance:
- if you are too anxious/quick then your baby will pick up on your anxiety and it will be difficult for others to settle her. A laid back parent often aids a child to be laid back. This can often be a vicious circle (ie an anxious baby makes for an anxious mum and so on).
- if you give others a chance and the baby will settle for them, longer term this can make life a lot easier (feeling like you are the only person who can settle your baby can, sometimes, feel wearing...).
- However, the hormonal urge to comfort your baby when it is upset is absolutely massive and understandable.
So trying to get a balance between trying to be relaxed about someone else trying to comfort, but being firm when you really feel the need to step in.
It's completely normal for babies that age to want their mum, and for you to feel torn in two if they're crying in someone elses arms. Its nothing to do with mothers being overprotective.
There's also nothing wrong with her only settling quickly for you, as long as you're happy with the situation. Grandparents and friends don't need to be able to settle her while you're in the room, as much as they might like the feeling of satisfaction it brings. It won't stop them bonding.
I had the opposite problem: people wouldn't give DD back unless she cried. DD rarely cried, but when she did she really kicked off and took ages to calm down.
So, she'd start rooting around for a feed and displaying all the hunger signs. I'd mention that she looked like she needed a feed and try to take her back. 'No, she's fine! She's not crying!' So then DD would get upset because she was used to being fed when she displayed said hunger signs. She'd start crying, I'd take her back, and then have to spend ten minutes calming her down enough to be able to latch on and feed (It still annoys me nearly two years later!) I don't know why people won't accept that mums know what they're talking about.
I just go with my instincts. If I'm getting that feeling that I really want my baby now, I ask for her, if that is ignored then I take her! Why override a biological instinct if there's no need to? It won't last for ever, and it doesn't help anyone to wait it out as your anxiety just gets worse.
I've had this loads. My stepfather is one of the worst offenders, DD will be howling and he'll say 'it's alright, I've had four children, I don't mind'. I feel like yelling 'BUT I DO!!!'. I think as pp have said, often people are trying to give you a break and really they don't mind, but they've forgotten how hard it is for you, as your child's mother, to hear her crying. It's completely normal to want to settle your baby if she's upset.
What I tend to do as my DD can be a little fussy with people she doesn't know well; is have her back once she cries but keep her close to the person who has just held her. Then when she's calm, I hand her over again and make sure I stay close. After a while, DD gets used to the person and is fine.
Totally agree with rocketjam
A mothers anxiety does affect the baby and it can become a vicious circle.
However, I doubt anyone would keep hold of a baby for long if it was getting distraught.
A baby belongs to his or her mum. If the baby is crying, every last instinct is going to tell you to get him back. Especially extra strongly in the first few months!
If you're not close to your Dad and if he's wanting to score Smug points, I'd simply brook no argument, I'd walk over and take the baby back. If he refused or made a fuss, that would be the last time for loooong time he'd get to hold the little one.
I trust my mother in law 100% but even she, strong willed as she is, had too much sense to try to hang onto the Pipsqueak when he was crying in those first weeks (6mo now).
Thanks everyone for your replies
Got people visiting this weekend so I'll be able to put things to the test.
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