Home » Don’t Touch My Baby: I Don’t Know You!

Don’t Touch My Baby: I Don’t Know You!

When it comes to babies, most people love to oohh and awe at them because there are few things as wondrous as seeing a new life that has been brought into the world. While it's nice to see that so many people love your baby and want to meet them, it can quickly become a nightmare for a new mom or any mom in general when you see so many people that want to come and touch your baby. While it is a widely known fact that a baby's immune system is still maturing, and this also means they need to limit their exposure to germs, it doesn't seem to stop people and their unwashed mits from wanting to touch your baby. When I was first trying to navigate how I would handle people invading me and my child's space, it was unexpectedly very hard for me to outright just say "No!", which was strange to me because I am not a person who is unfamiliar with sharing my opinion, nor did I have an issue asserting myself and beliefs to people. Of course I want to protect my son, as is my duty, but the vulnerability of being a new mother and feeling unsure of myself definitely added to my meekness.

I found it especially hard to express myself in church, where there are well-meaning, kind people that had also been encouraging throughout my pregnancy. For some reason, I had in the back of my head that me asserting myself and saying things like, " Oh, we prefer to keep a safe distance right now in order to give baby some time to build his immune system.", seemed like I was somehow being too off putting. I came to the realization that I had to coach myself because after all, this is not something i've had to do before.

When I realized I had to coach myself on how to deal with these interactions, I was reminded of a scene from King of the Hill. If you aren’t familiar with the show, here is the clip and show in question for reference. One of the characters, Bobby, is taking a self defense class and learning to assert himself. He is told to shout at the assailant “Don’t touch my purse!” When he finally does this, he also shouts, “I don’t know you!”

You can keep this clip in mind when people you don’t know try to invade your baby's space. It honestly shocked me when I started to see so many strangers trying to come up to my child and stick their faces in his stroller. It has never occurred to me to do that to anyone, let alone a new, vulnerable baby. Even if you do know the person, the energy of the clip still applies. I had to remind myself that no one, no matter how nice, no matter what they bought off the registry, no matter how close we were, was entitled to me or my baby’s space. You can practice saying the phrase, I know I did. I practiced this phrase just so I could become comfortable saying no. Even if you don’t end up saying the same phrase, practice saying whatever it is that will appropriately let people know how you want people to act around you and your child. If you still find it difficult, always make sure you have an “out”. Plan to baby wear, or you can keep your baby covered in their car seat. You can also purchase stickers/signs that say things like please give my baby space or “Your germs are too big for Me!” , if you would be more comfortable having a sign saying it for you.

I still think it is important to practice asserting yourself no matter how hard you find it for you and your family’s sake, because it is a part of life. Boundaries exist because someone will always try to push your limits. You are a mom who is fully capable of speaking up for you and your baby and it’s ok if you are shy at first. Remember, practice makes perfect.

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