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Bump botherers: how to keep them at bay

Hands on pregnant stomach baby bump

Pregnant, and sick of the constant pawing at your belly? Try Mumsnetters' top tips for batting away uninvited bump touchers

1. Ease into it with subtle hints

hand holding

“Mention a made-up person who keeps bothering your bump to let them know it's not something you appreciate.”

“So far, I'm using the 'interception' method: when I see hands reaching for my belly, I reach first, grab their hand for an excited squeeze (as if that was clearly what they were going for), and exchange platitudes along the 'OMG I know, isn't it exciting?!' lines.”

2. …followed by gentle gestures

Stop it

“I would just push their hand away briskly and say: 'sorry, it's a reflex – I hate having my stomach touched'.”

“Cross your arms over your bump when you think they're going to do it.”

“I usually step back when I see a hand coming – most people get it.”

3. If that doesn't work, light humour should send them on their merry way

Aladdin

“I let them do it for a few seconds, then sarcastically ask whether they're expecting a genie to pop out and grant them their three wishes.”

“'Excessive bump rubbing can bring on labour – ooohhh.'”

“The odd time I've done this kind of comedy thing, shouting 'step away from the bump' in an American accent.”

“'That's actually my hernia you're touching.'”

4. Next step: fight fire with fire

Woman mouth open

“I found patting/rubbing them straight back on their tummies whilst glaring looking them in the eye tended to do the trick.”

“I read about someone who closed her eyes and started chanting nonsense when someone touched her bump. When asked WTF, she said it was a Navajo/Inca/whatever incantation to allow the baby to assimilate your soul.”

“What about closing your eyes, going 'mmm, mmm, that's nice – lower, lower.'”

“'My boobs have got bigger too – do you want to touch them?' – usually has the desired effect of getting people to back the fuck off.”

5. If they STILL don't get it?

Hands off the bump T-shirt

“I've seen a great t-shirt that basically had this written on it: '1. Due September. 2. It's a girl. 3. Don't touch me'. I thought it was brilliant.”

6. And just remember…

MC Hammer can't touch this

“More seriously, just tell them nicely that you don't want to be touched – you don't even have to apologise. It's not like you're in the wrong for not wanting to be touched, or that you owe people a stroke of your stomach and are selfishly denying them their touching rights. You have the perfect right to not get pawed at just because you're having a baby. I appreciate it's meant kindly, but just because someone means well does not mean you have to accept it.”