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How to say no if a stranger wants to hold your baby?

(44 Posts)
kellyannlondon Tue 09-Sep-08 19:19:46

I was at my husband's rugby club at the weekend and was feeding my ds his bottle. This woman who I had never met before and was with the opposition so nothing to do with our club suddenly came over and said "can I hold him?"

I was a bit taken back that firstly she was a stranger and secondly I was in the middle of feeding him. I said (a bit stroppily tbh) "I'm in the middle of feeding him" She just then stood there for a while which was putting ds off and eventually she walked off.

It made me think though, that if he hadn't been feeding, how I could have said no as I sometimes feel akward in these situations.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not anti-social and have no problem with people coming over and doing the whole "they're cute/how old/what's their name" etc but am just not really keen for strangers to hold my baby.

compo Tue 09-Sep-08 19:21:27

It wouldn't bother me to be honest unless she said it rudely
She may not have realised you were feeding when she first came over
Women go mad over newborns, me included grin

WinkyWinkola Tue 09-Sep-08 19:24:41

Just say he's a bit sicky at the moment. And if they say they don't mind, just say that he's not 100% etc.

I remember with my DS feeling like he was always being taken off me by people I didn't know and who were most reluctant to give him back even if he was screaming his head off! Luckily, I got more confident with DD and had no issue with insisting she came back to me if she was howling.

I don't really see why you have to justify not wanting strangers to hold your baby for whatever reason.

No doubt the brisk, don't-be-so-bloody-precious brigade will be telling you off in a minute for not letting all and sundry hold your baby despite your own personal preferences. You're not allowed those apparently.

costalepew Tue 09-Sep-08 19:25:15

-N-O-. It wouldn't have bothered me, it's not like she stopped you in the street and asked. But just say no you germ carrying weirdo.

nickytwotimes Tue 09-Sep-08 19:26:12

I wouldn't want a stranger to hold my kid either. I think it is weird to ask! If you are asked, just say that your lo will only settle in your arms - probably not much of a stretch of the truth anyway.

pagwatch Tue 09-Sep-08 19:27:29

My mum did this once after my eldest brother died at one day old.
She said she was in BHS a couple of weeks later and her arms just started to ache when she saw a woman with a new born.
She was very embaressed about itafterwards. She is not the sort of person to approach strangers. But the woman ( who didn't ask why) was just delighted that someone took her babe so she could have a cup of tea smile

seeker Tue 09-Sep-08 19:30:51

You don"t say no. You say "Oh yes please!!!" then you have a lovely cup of tea without worrying about dropping hot liquid on the baby's head!

And you glow as you listen to your precious baby being cooed over and complimented by a very discerning person who has realized that he/she is the most perfect being in the world.

sunnytimer Tue 09-Sep-08 19:34:53

Message withdrawn

frasersmummy Tue 09-Sep-08 19:36:00

I think it depends on where/when etc someone asked if they could hold my baby if I would be willing to hand them over

I think in these circumstance (if you hadnt been feeding) I would probs have said ok ..on the basis that this person was obvously known to others in the room, moved in same social circles etc

My first little boy was stillborn and for a few months after the event I wanted to ask complete strangers for a cuddle of their child ... I never did because I didnt want to put the mum in the position of saying no

I would deffo say no to some random stranger in a shop eg.. I think in these kinda circumstances i would say sorry he's sleeping/not good with strangers/tired etc...

nickytwotimes Tue 09-Sep-08 19:36:30

Really seeker? you wouldn't mind someone you've never met before holding your baby? I don't get it. It's different with friends of course, who will hopefully also make the tea!

SammyK Tue 09-Sep-08 19:38:15

I too would hand him over and enjoy getting the feeling back in my arms/have a cup of tea. smile

I have offered to hold babie's before while mum folded up their pushchair on buses or trains, and have plonked ds with unsuspecting people on the bus whilst I have folded his pram too!

lizandlulu Tue 09-Sep-08 19:54:57

i once gave a stranger my dd in the doctors waiting room, dd was about 9 months and crying her head off so i was quite relieved, but then the woman said 'oh it looks like it is jst her teeth' and out her finger in dd'd mouthshock trying to find teeth!!!

the ladies hygiene was not too good and i felt awful about it for days.

but it didnt harm ddgrin

shaps Tue 09-Sep-08 21:33:42

This reminds me of an incident at the zoo a few months ago when a couple asked us if we could take a photo of the two of them holding our 6 month old dd. We were so taken aback we let them (hovering over at all times to make sure they didn't do a quick runner). Pretty weird if you ask me.

kellyannlondon Tue 09-Sep-08 21:42:35

shaps - that is weird! Why on earth would they have wanted that?!

It's funny isn't it - you're so taken aback and worrying about being impolite that you let people do things you're not comfortable with rather than speaking up.

onepieceoflollipop Tue 09-Sep-08 21:46:37

Sometimes I am comfortable, other times not. If not I just say politely that she will cry and make a bit of a joke of it.

At Legoland we sat next to a woman with a sleeping baby in a pram, to have icecreams, and we were juggling 8 month old dd2. The lady asked (in a way that would have been easy to refuse her) if we would like her to hold dd. I felt very comfortable (if this was a mner then hello, you seemed lovely!)

sleepycat Tue 09-Sep-08 21:51:44

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ItsGrimUpNorth Tue 09-Sep-08 22:02:22

You have a cup of tea whilst someone you don't know holds the baby? You chat to the person for 20-30 minutes or the person wanders off with the baby whilst you have your tea? What happens? Don't know if I could be bothered with all that. Just do your shopping, your thing, your stuff, go and be with your friends and get them to hold the baby. Don't worry about feeling bad about not bringing joy to people's lives etc. God, is there any more available guilt to pile onto mothers?

penona Tue 09-Sep-08 22:07:50

I posted an AIBU about not liking people touching my DTs in their pushchair (14 mo) and was surprised how many people said I was being unreasonable. Made me realise how many people think it is normal to want to touch/hold someone else's child, something which personally I wouldn't do (although I love to look, chat and coo!!). Guess everyone is different, that's the beauty of these forums - you get a real cross section of opinions. Don't be surprised if some of them post on here!

I think that a polite, I'd rather not, she's been a bit ill/grumpy or something is an acceptable response, especially to a stranger. Most probably wouldn't push it. Just polite but firm, offer them to have a look, or maybe ask if they have children/grandchildren or something to engage them a bit so you don't feel really rude!

starkadder Tue 09-Sep-08 22:42:08

Pagwatch, your poor mother I'm glad that woman was happy for her to take her baby for a moment. I'm not too happy about that kind of thing myself but your post made me reflect.

seeker Wed 10-Sep-08 06:21:08

No I really didn't mind people holding my babies -what harm could it do? And I'm always offering to hold other people's while they struggle with older children, pushchairs,steps, icecreams and other hazards. They almost always say yes and seem grateful. I am half Italian though, so maybe it's genetic!

BouncingTurtle Wed 10-Sep-08 06:42:38

You see both before and after ds was born, I never ask to hold someone's baby - I always wait to be offered, even if it's a friend or a relative!
And I'm always happy to offer people who coo over him a chance for a cuddle. But I prefer to offer and not to be asked.
I think I am more relaxed about it now he is older (8mo) but when he was tiny I would not want him to be held by a complete stranger. Friends, family, neighbours, the mums in the M&B groups, the window cleaner, and the receptionist in the local swimming baths, yes, but not a total stranger grin
I think it is totally reasonable not to want strangers holding your baby.
Of course you could always say he needs a nappy change grin

ninedragons Wed 10-Sep-08 07:18:57

"I'm terribly sorry, she's really pukey today" with a big polite smile. Then turn the baby to face the person asking and wave her hand or whatever.

I don't mind people touching DD's legs or feet while she's in her pushchair but I don't want her being picked up all the time so I always have her strapped in firmly (see pic on profile for the level of attention she gets here). I have become pretty good at sliding myself genially but firmly between DD and people with suspect hygiene or cigarettes in their hands or whatever.

Bumperlicious Wed 10-Sep-08 07:36:55

A strange bloke in the dr's waiting room asked to hold dd when she was a few months old. I just said "no she doesn't like being held by strangers". I mean it's the dr's waiting room, lord knows what he was there for!

ChairmumMiaow Wed 10-Sep-08 08:09:42

Depends who it is. I use the local oldies bus to get my shopping home, and most of the regulars like to tickle DS's chin/cheek etc, which I don't mind because they're lovely when I've got lots of stuff to get on the tiny bus.

It used to really bug me that, particularly in the sling, people felt it was ok to touch my precious son. Sometimes it still does (I would walk away if someone was smoking or stank of smoke for example)

I also got my sling in a mess one day in a cafe, and the highchair DS had just come out of was a right mess, so he wasn't going back in there. An old lady watched me struggle and offered to hold DS, which was extremely helpful. (She also said he seemed quite advanced for 7mo, having watched him eat some of my tuna mayo baguette, and some cucumber sticks kindly provided by the cafe, which made me beam!)

But to answer your actual question, I think the "I'm sorry he's sicky/grumpy/tired/in a mood today" answer is your best bet. Nobody else (except their Daddy) has a right to hold your baby, so if you're not happy, don't let them!

AnnVan Wed 10-Sep-08 08:41:01

I find the idea of asking to hold a stranger's baby quite bizarre. I would never go up to a person I don't know and ask to hold their baby.
Then again, I'm not even a person who stops and coos at babies. Even now I'm pregnant, I still don't find myself doing this. My sister had to MAKE me hold my niece even, (I was a little scared of dropping her tbh blush) So I guess, this is just the way I am, some people are different. Don't know how I'd react if someone asks to hold my LO (when it arrives hmm)

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