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SIL wants to use my newborn as comforter

(115 Posts)
annomm Mon 18-Jul-16 18:25:09

I don't know how to feel about this, my sil is starting counselling this week due to depression and her relationships with people. She wants to come to mine after her session to cuddle my baby.
My reason for asking is that I know babies are receptive to people's moods so I don't want my baby to feel stressed/sad/emotional/upset after
What to do?!

ZZZZ1111 Mon 18-Jul-16 18:27:43

Why don't you let her come over this week and see how it goes?

Iggi999 Mon 18-Jul-16 18:28:48

You sound a bit unhinged, which is understandable with a new baby. Your sil may decide she doesn't want to do this, she hasn't even started they counselling yet.

AppleMagic Mon 18-Jul-16 18:28:52

Are babies really receptive to people's moods?

itstheYbirdstop Mon 18-Jul-16 18:29:39

You know what, if she can use your little bundle to make her feel better then how lovely. Maybe you are looking at it wrong. Maybe the baby will transfer some of its happiness to her smile

itstheYbirdstop Mon 18-Jul-16 18:30:10

You don't sound unhinged at all. Ignore that Pratt.

ImperialBlether Mon 18-Jul-16 18:30:18

I don't think babies would be receptive to someone's moods if it was just half an hour of crying. It would be different if the person holding the baby cried continuously.

ImperialBlether Mon 18-Jul-16 18:30:55

Or rather, it would be different if the baby was continuously held by someone who was crying.

MajesticSeaFlapFlap Mon 18-Jul-16 18:31:41

Babies don't absorb sadness like a tiny backwards dementor.
You baby could bring joy and calmness to someone who.sounds like they are struggling

PacificDogwod Mon 18-Jul-16 18:34:26

Most babies love being held.
It may or may not help your SiL but if she is keen to try I cannot see what harm it might do.
Young babies don't absorb people's moods IME - they don't have the capacity for empathy; I'd have words with whoever put that thought in your mind.

TheHuntingOfTheSarky Mon 18-Jul-16 18:35:42

I wouldn't have thought it was likely that she'll come and sob all over the baby for any length of time. Let her do it once and see how it goes. It would be amazing for your baby to help her feel better. I understand you are wary but honestly she won't do them any damage even if she does cry. I actually think it's lovely that she's asked you in the first place. I suffered from depression for 20 years and it's exactly the sort of thing I would have loved had I known someone I felt confident enough to ask.

milpool Mon 18-Jul-16 18:36:58

like a tiny backwards dementor grin

I think it would be a nice thing to let her come. I don't see it doing any harm.

randomer Mon 18-Jul-16 18:37:40

boundaries...show her the door

Dutchcourage Mon 18-Jul-16 18:38:26

The op sounds unhinged? confused

op I'm due in 12 weeks and I'd say no. I've also has councilling and seen a therapist and I'd still say no.

Your sil reds to find way to sooth herself and not depend on a small human being to do that job for her. She can cuddle the baby at 3am when she can't sleep and is having a bad time.

It's weird.

Dutchcourage Mon 18-Jul-16 18:39:24

She can't **

TheWindInThePillows Mon 18-Jul-16 18:39:59

I would think about whether you want her to come over just after therapy, do you have the emotional resources to cope with her talking about the session/problems every week? I would also not be keen for her to see the baby as a type of therapy, as babies are not passive little bundles or mine weren't anyway, and they may scream when held by someone else, need changing, do a huge poo, need feeding or any number of a reasons why this isn't going to be the peaceful cuddle she's expecting. One they are six months or older they want to get down and move about often, not be held by someone they don't know that well.

If she wants to come to yours for an extra bit of support and you are fine with that, great, but using a baby in this way suggests a lack of knowledge of the reality of babies, she's idealising this cuddle experience, I think you have to be a bit more flexible than that and hopefully her therapist will help her see this.

TwistedReach Mon 18-Jul-16 18:42:46

Babies do pick up on others moods. Your baby is a person and not a teddy bear. It depends what your sil wants to do, but I certainly wouldn't want her crying with my baby for any length of time as a form of therapeutic support for her. If she wants to come because she loves your baby and will be happily in tune with her (and that will make her feel better) then that is a different thing.
It's difficult for you because you obviously also want to be kind to your sil, so yo need protect your baby while still being sensitive to your struggling sil which doesn't sound easy.

BeaArthursUnderpants Mon 18-Jul-16 18:45:15

.Young babies don't absorb people's moods IME - they don't have the capacity for empathy; I'd have words with whoever put that thought in your mind.

Agree with this. It's not like your baby's going to catch depression, OP.

MrsHulk Mon 18-Jul-16 18:46:06

I wouldn't allow this.

I do think babies, even when very young, pick up on stress/unhappiness in the people holding them. Just from observation, my niece was very unsettled when held by my sister who suffers from severe anxiety.

CarlGrimesMissingEye Mon 18-Jul-16 18:46:18

"Tiny backwards dementor" grin

TwistedReach Mon 18-Jul-16 18:48:02

Yes they do. Why wouldn't they?
Google the still face experiment as a basic introduction. Tiny babies are much more aware than many realise.

ElspethFlashman Mon 18-Jul-16 18:51:26

Wait, why is it certain she'd be weeping and wailing over the child?

She could have a really lovely and comforting cuddle.

I'd try it.

minipie Mon 18-Jul-16 18:52:21

Has SIL actually said she wants to hold you baby in order to comfort herself?

Or does she just want to see the baby and after counselling happens to be a convenient time?

If the former then YANBU, not because of the absorbing emotions thing but because it's a bit weird and rude.

If the latter then YABU and massively PFB.

gonetoseeamanaboutadog Mon 18-Jul-16 18:57:20

It completely depends. Babies can pick up on stress and you'd have to see how this goes. My babies have always had particular times that it's ok to hold them and other times when it's better for them to be sleeping in their cot - and I'm firm that baby comes first.

If she's going to be relatively composed and not wear either you or the baby out, well and good.

I think she'll probably find that she is 'talked out' and needs to stare at a wall.

PacificDogwod Mon 18-Jul-16 18:57:37

Of course babies recognise faces and facial expressions from a very young age - that has been well established for quite a while.

Interesting as that may be academically (and I love that stuff and the fascinating experiments that have established just how aware tiny babies are from birth) the question here is whether or not an adult who may or may not be upset after a counselling session holding a baby for a little while once a week would do any actual harm.
And I don't think it would in that context.

FWIW I am a very non-anxious and chilled person by nature and DS1 did not stop screaming for the first year of his life (reassuringly he was the same whether I help him or anybody else) and DS2 was the most relaxed baby ever in spite of having been very premature, having lots of invasive hospital stuff done to him etc etc.
Anecdotes are interesting and I could listen to them all day, but they prove nothing for another baby.

I agree whether you want to agree to this or not is entirely up to you, how you feel about it, what kind of relationship you have with your SiL and any number of other factors, but potential 'harm' befalling your baby does not need to be one of the considerations IMO.

I love the idea of the baby's equanimity rubbing off on the struggling adult, rather than the sad adult somehow passing on upsetness smile

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