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Dear Stranger, Don't Touch My Baby!
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Dear Stranger, Don\'t Touch My Baby!

I think it's pretty safe to say that I am not the first mother to be in a grocery store and cringe at a complete stranger walking up and thinking it is OK to touch my baby to say hi. I don't know what it is about being a baby that makes it OK or socially acceptable for someone to think that they can touch them. I don't know about you but I am completely offended and put off by the gesture when it happens and then I am caught in that awkward moment of do I speak up and let them know that it's not OK to touch my sons foot or do I just smile and try to maneuver away as quickly as possible? It's a very unpleasant moment that I would just rather avoid altogether.

I mean, put yourself in these poor babies shoes. If you were at the store how would you feel about a complete stranger walking up to you and trying to hold your hand or squeeze your foot, even pinch your cheek? You would probably feel a number of things from being uncomfortable, anger, fear and even wanting to run for the nearest exit. Why is it any different for a baby? I know that plenty of mothers, especially new ones, are caught off guard when this happens and usually walk away feeling upset and violated. The only way around it is to leave your baby at home while you are in public (fat chance) or strategically plan for the next time you are out and about with your little one to safely guard them from the grabby grabbies!

I understand that babies are cute and they make many people happy but unless you are a friend, family member or my child's physician I do not want you touching my child. 1st of all it's inappropriate, 2nd it's an invasion of my baby's space, 3rd it's a health hazard, 4th it's just plain rude! Not to sound like an uptight mom but seriously, it's flu season, I don't know where your hands have been, I don't know your personal hygiene habits and I don't want your grubby paws on my sweet baby's body.

The concept of look but don't touch must be foreign to many people, which is why this is even an issue. It should be common sense not to put your hands on someone that you don't know but unfortunately some people don't think clearly when they see a baby and just can't help themselves, I guess. Don't get me wrong, I don't have a problem with somebody wanting to say hi or be friendly with my baby. Just be friendly from afar and have enough respect for my baby to not be in his comfort zone, and certainly keep your hands to yourself! There are plenty of noninvasive ways to engage with another person (this includes babies by the way!) that are not obnoxious or threatening. Both verbal and non verbal language works great! Try saying hi, wave, nod or smile, these are usually considered acceptable and most likely won't make a parent or baby feel uncomfortable. Just try to refrain from grabbing the baby's hand or touching the baby in any way. It without a doubt, gives most parents the heebie jeebies.

In case I didn't make my point clear, I just have one last thing to say, dear stranger, DON'T TOUCH my baby! Please and thank you!

If you are a parent and have had to deal with strangers wanting to coddle your little one, please share your stories below! I'm curious to know how you handled the situation and how it made you feel.


Street Talk

Yeah - It' a tough one in terms of privacy and health issues which makes perfect sense. This old Fad of touching babies (Grandma's reaction) seemed the norm, but I guess for the sake of the baby's emotion and health, Best to pay a compliment and leave it at that.

Reply
  about 5 years ago

Tough call. I personally would love to hug every baby out there, but of course that would not be looked upon as a good thing. I love children but I am also well mannered, so I would never even attempt to touch another's child. I can understand maybe a cultural thing, but to me it is still a no no without at least them asking first.

Reply
  about 5 years ago

A Mexican Woman Touched My Grandson At the gas station, an older (probably late forties, early fifties) Mexican woman was admiring my young grandson. I was a little startled as she leaned over and caressed his forehead a couple of times and murmured something to him. I was wondering if this has any cultural significance. This is what I found out: YES!!! It DOES have a cultural significance! In the Mexican culture, if you compliment someone or something they believe that you must touch it in order to prevent from jinxing it/them. (Giving it/them bad luck). One must also remember, in Mexico, like here in the USA, there are many different cultures, depending on where they came from in Mexico. So this is not common with all Mexicans. I have also seen this spread to Americans over the past few years. Maybe it is from the fact that there are so many Mexicans in this country now. This is another reason why we should learn about the different cultures that live around us. We can learn a lot from each other. I don't know what your feelings are about Mexicans, but remember, there is no such thing as a true American. We have all come from somewhere else in this world through our past generations. Even the American Indian came from Asia. My G/F also has a fixation for babies and she is white. Different people have different reasons for wanting to touch your baby. In my G/F case it is in a very small way, to replace the Grandkids in her heart she lost a few years ago.

Reply
  about 5 years ago

Thank you for the response Bob. I understand what you are saying about cultural differences and the significance it plays on social interaction. Cultural differences aside however, I have a responsibility to protect my son and with it being one of the worst flu seasons this year I am very guarded and don't want random people touching him when we are in public. The first thing that a stranger is most likely to touch is his hand and do you know where his hand goes? Right into his mouth or he rubs his eyes with them. It's not worth it to me to have my son risk getting sick just because someone wants to be friendly with him. You would be surprised at how unaware people are. The man that tried to grab my son's hand had open cuts on his hand and some sort of goo on them. I was terrified when I saw that and many other parents would be too. It put me in a very awkward position to have to speak up and say "please don't touch my son." It would be common courtesy to ask first but most people don't. I LOVE babies and even before I had my son I still would not go up to someone else's child and touch them. I would tell the parents how adorable the baby was and ask questions but that was it. I know that people have personal boundaries and I respect that. Even with other people's cultural differences, it's still not OK with me. I should be able to go out into public with my son and not have to worry about someone touching him, plain and simple.

Reply
  about 5 years ago

Mary, I hope you don't think I was downgrading you or your feelings. My reason for this post was only to show the cultural differences, and explain why it is done by some. As for me and my GF, we do ask first, and MOST in and from this country would ask first. As far as the man with the open cuts, and goo, I would have done the same, and may not have been as nice as you were. Again, I was not trying to downgrade you, but show the break down in our knowledge of the cultural differences, of all people in this country (Me included). If you thought I was attacking you, I'm sorry, that was not what I was trying to do. Please forgive me. Bob

  
  about 5 years ago

Not at all Bob. I appreciate the dialog and when you mentioned cultural differences it really made me think. I have friends with cultural differences and they are much more open with people, being very touchy feely. So I can see this coming into play when it comes to people wanting to touch your baby. I just wanted to express where I was coming from when I wrote the article. I was pretty shaken up by the experience and couldn't stop thinking about it. It really bothered me and I was thinking what I could do in the future to prepare myself if this were to happen again. I decided to write about it and I think I may have vented a little. But in no way did I think you were attacking me. I just wanted to make people aware that some parents aren't comfortable with the attention and to be cautious and respectful of this if you are prone to wanting to touch a baby when you see one. I know most people have good intentions but many of them don't think before they act. I think that it's definitely nice when people ask first because then I am not so caught off guard and I have more control over the situation. Thank you again for your comments, they are much appreciated :)

Reply
  about 5 years ago

I might also add, as for myself, I agree with Shawn. I don't try, ask, or attempt, to touch any child, unless my GF is with me. This comes from a cultural belief that has come about in this country, due to all the BAD things that has happened to children, most often by men. As far as learning the cultural differences, that goes both ways. They need to learn ours also. After Re-Reading what I wrote, I wasn't very clear on that point. Thank you for your forgiveness! Bob

  
  about 5 years ago
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