Reflections on motherhood...


Friday, December 31, 2010

Can I hold your baby?

The question is, does the baby want to be held by you?

Everyone wants to hold babies.  They're so snuggly, they smell delicious, and their skin is so soft.

But this motherhood caper has given me a new perspective on when, whether and how you should ask to hold someone's baby.  I've had the full range, and there are a few that stand out:
  • not being asked at all and having baby grabbed from behind off my lap (how would you like it if I grabbed you from behind, hmm?)
  • being asked when baby was obviously just about asleep on mumma's shoulder
  • while trying to comfort an overwrought baby (the Christmas carols were too much) an old work colleague asked if baby would come to her, saying that she could give me a break - it was obvious to me that he didn't want to be held by anyone EXCEPT mumma at that point - but this person persisted and then seem confused when he didn't like "flying".
There are also those people (all strangers) who think it's okay to touch baby, on the cheeks and chin, or stroke an arm or foot.  These approaches generally get a wide-eyed stare from baby.  And no wonder!  If the checkout chick reached out and stroked my cheek without asking, I'd be a bit weirded out too.

You might think that asking a baby if they'd like to be held by you is hippy claptrap, but next time you'd like to hold a baby, just ask her and wait - the answer will be fairly obvious.

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