Touch Someone’s Baby When Visiting for the First Time?
There is no greater joy in this world than the arrival of a newborn child. The excitement is not just with the parents, but also with family members as well as friends. Everyone is always eager to welcome the tiny bundle of joy into this world. As expected, visitors are bound to flock the parent’s home to hold the baby and just show some love to the family.
Controversial issues arise from such visits such as, is it okay to hold them or touch them? The new parents may be a bit skeptical when everyone wants to keep touching the baby. The visitors may feel they are not welcome when denied the chance to hold and touch the little one. Both sides have valid reasons for their positions, and it is important to consider each side before jumping to any conclusions.
What to Consider When Holding a Baby
Weak Immune Systems
Babies are born with fragile immune systems. As they grow older, their immune systems will develop, and through continuous breast-feeding, the mother can pass on immunity to the baby. But at a young age, it’s effortless for them to contract illnesses from adults. When an adult touches the newborn or even breathes on them, any virus or bacteria they may have will be transmitted to the infant. This is why visitors are always advised to sanitize their hands before handling a baby, as some people will have infections that they are not aware of.
Every human being sweats, as it is our body’s way of getting rid of toxins. In some cases, there are people who sweat a lot. When they touch a newborn, this sweat rubs off on the child’s skin. It’s important to remember a baby’s skin is extremely delicate, and any germs will cause an immediate reaction. You may observe the child developing rashes all of a sudden such as the appearance of hives, welts, or red patches. Sweaty hands also attract other forms of dirt, which will also be transferred to the baby. This is just one of the many main reasons you will find the parents are slightly hesitant of allowing people to touch their baby.
Sensitive Skin and Bruising
Some people are rough, and if they haven’t handled a child before, they do not appreciate how delicate a child can be. The baby’s skin is sensitive, and there’s the possibility of leaving bruises when handled roughly. At times, adults may also have rough hands (due to work or other activities), and they may injure the baby, even though that was not their intention. A simple touch of the adorable baby cheeks can turn into an injury that leaves a scar.
Inexperienced Infant Handling
Most visitors who have not held a baby before will have a hard time handling the baby. Newborns must be handled in a special way that ensures support for their head. An infant’s neck is not strong enough to support anything on its own; it is the job of the adult to ensure the head is supported at all times. People who are not aware of this may end up mishandling the child and may even cause unintentional harm.
There are visitors who are just plain inconsiderate when they are allowed to touch a baby. Some will hold beverages and snacks over the child as they eat. Besides the obvious fact that the crumbs fall on the child, there is also the risk of liquids spilling on the child. Also, people may engage in conversations above the infant and spit saliva on them, which is simply unhygienic. It’s also important to consider those who will want to wake the baby up just to have a gaze of their big beautiful eyes. Babies have irregular sleeping patterns and so waking them up is disrespectful to both the child and the parents.
What to Do if You Hold a Baby
In the majority of cases, parents will want their family and close friends to be able to handle their newborn child. In these instances, there are ground rules that should be followed.
Rule 1: Always wash your hands before touching the baby.
This is a basic but significant rule. You’ll also want to think about if you have long nails, as you need to be extra careful so as not to scratch the child’s skin. The baby’s skin is too delicate, and any slight pressure will result in injuries. Also, long nails tend to hide even more germs, so cut them before the visit; you can always grow them back.
Rule 2: If the baby is asleep, do not wake him/her up for your enjoyment.
Rule 3: You should never eat or drink over the baby, as this is extremely risky. It is very easy for drinks to spill over the child and they could be hot.
Rule 4: When given a chance to hold the baby, do not touch their face, hands or any part of their skin. This will reduce the risk of you passing on germs to the child.
Rule 5: When holding the baby, it is important to support the child properly.
As earlier noted, the baby cannot support himself/herself at this stage, and he/she is at the mercy of whoever is holding them. New parents are always anxious, and when they see visitors holding and touching the baby in the wrong way, it increases their worry. This will make the visit unpleasant for everyone.
When it comes to figuring out the right “baby holding etiquette,” the parents should have the final say; after all, it is their child. It’s best if visitors avoid touching the child but instead look at the baby or ask the parents if it’s okay if they can hold them. Every visitor has good intentions, but they should observe some of the basic etiquettes if they must touch the child. The parents of the child are already handling a lot, and they do not need the added worry of whether the visitor will infect their child or cause any unintended harm. With that being said, the next time you visit someone’s home to see the baby, keep the above points in mind and make the visit comfortable for everyone.