HomeWorking MothersIs a crying baby an invitation to instruct the mother how to care for her baby, or touch her baby uninvited?
Posted in Working Mothers on 10th January 2011

Is a crying baby an invitation to instruct the mother how to care for her baby, or touch her baby uninvited?
I had the most horrific experience today at the grocery store,
involving my gassy two month old son and several strangers with boundary issues.

Now, my son rarely cries.
Infact, besides the first day he was born, I haven’t heard him cry besides this past week. At this point, I think that now that he’s learned how to cry, its kind of a novelty to him.

Anyway, today he was in a good mood, and we had some errands to run, so I packed him up in the stroller and walked down to the grocery store. He was happy and smiley the whole way there, but as soon as we got there he starts crying. I get to work trying to soothe him near the entrance of the store.

I’m working the gas out, bouncing him in my lap, singing to him, etc…
and thankfully most people just walk past, at most casting a sympathetic glance
but one man in paticular felt the need to stand there for ten minutes instructing me on how to burp him, and asking repeatedly “you want me to hold him, I can give you a break”
I really wasn’t stressed out by my son crying- babies cry, thats what they do, and its our job as parents to soothe them, no big deal
however I was stressed out by this strange man standing over me, insisting on “helping” me

so finally he leaves
I figure I should get my son into the air conditioning before he over heated
so I take my son inside, and into the bathroom
(thinking that the bathroom would have less foot-traffic)
and wouldn’t you know, as soon as I walk in, behind me walks in another concerned stranger

she walks right up to me a strokes my son’s face while I’m trying to work the gas out
she sticks her face literally 2 inches from his face
I try to be polite, I simply walk away thinking she’ll get the message
no- she follows me and literally tries to take my son out of my arms!
I turn my body so she can’t take him
but she still holds his foot and coo’s to him as if she knows him
eventually I just said “ma’am, you can go back to your shopping, I’m sure my son will be fine here with me”
at which point she rolled her eyes and said “teenage mothers” before she walked away

and thats the funny thing- I’m NOT a teenage mother!
I’m a married woman in my 20’s! and I’m a good mom, no matter what a stranger may say.

Now, I know these people are well intentioned
but I don’t think it was a coincidence that I was able to calm my son as soon as I was left alone with him

Best answer(s):

Answer by Amy
Wow that’s pretty bad. There was definitely no invitation, but if someone touches your kid it’s an invitation to ‘touch’ them back.

Answer by Richard’s Angel
crap i know what you mean. i am not subtle though in dropping hints, i will give a death glare and if i need to, i use some not so nice language, *hint hint*, and they get the idea

Answer by islandgirl
Well I hope not..
I hate when ppl come up and start touching my stomach..
At first I was polite and asked them not to do it.. but now i just shove their hands away..
I don’t know why people always want to get involve in affairs that do not concern them…
My mom had the same problem with my little twin sisters..
We couldn’t go anywhere without someone coming over the stroller asking if they were twins and wanting to touch them..
Its soo annoying..
You handled the situation well..
I hope I am as calm and collected as you were when that happens..

Answer by Bree
Wow, if anyone ever touched my child (not that I have one yet), I would not have been near as calm as you are. You handled this very well. From what you said, you do sound like a good mom, and handled your son and the strangers really well.

In no way is your son crying an invitation for anything they did.
I think maybe a “Is he okay?” would be nice, but to try to instruct you, or worse, try to take your child from you and touch him is way over the line.

Answer by Tiffany
Im 21 and had a similiar experience! Yes I am young but wouldnt it be worse for us to let a stranger A STRANGER! hold our baby?? I mean what in the world! Your not paranoid or anything people are nuts! a strange man just deciding to insist to hold him or a women too? I have let 1 stranger hold my baby when i was flying alone and we were seated on the airplane and I was tyring to get a bottle reayd this nice pilot sitting next to me asked me if i wanted help and have him hold my son. seeing as i was all alone un seatbelted and needing a bottle i let him hold my son (plus he was on the inside seat and seemed real nice) other then that i say thank you to the people tht say i have a beautiful baby but no way do i just let strangers hold my baby. People steal babies. and btw my grandma is a true contributer to my belief tht older women just think they know better what to do with any baby. It wasnt a coincidence when my grandma had my baby screaming at the top of his lungs and then as soon as i wrapped him adn rocked 3 times he fell right to sleep =)

Answer by Ebony – Born 30th Jan 2009
Far out, that is really rude. I’m not a rude person but if I was in your situation I would havesaid something. What baby has gone to the shop and never cried at least once?
Thankfully I have not been in that siuation. I do get looks though, coz I’m twenty but look about 17, but I try not to let it bother me coz I know I’m doing my best and thats all a baby needs.

*Tiffany, spot on, I would never let a stranger hold my baby, even if they look like the nicest of person.

Answer by yungcountry
the other day a guy walked up and patten my 7 month old on the head. he made cute little faces at him and expressed how much he loved babies.

just to see what would happen. i decided to pat him on the top of the head while i exchanged conversation with him. i mean if it is ok for him to touch my son,… then it should be ok for me to touch him right?

oddly he found it amusing and laughed and then said i was right, he should have asked. so i decided to try it again. at the grocery store when a little old lady pinched his cheek. she almost freaked out when i patted the side of her face. LOL.

it was awesome. you should try this. it will make you feel SO much better.

odd how they feel it is ok to invade your child’s space but if you do it back they leave real fast!

Answer by ffs
This is ridiculous, where i grew up trying to take a child from the mothers arms is an invitation for getting your arms broken. But no, children cry for a variety of reasons (depending on the age), and having a stranger try to take action without acknowledgment from the parent, would only cause more harm and possible scare the child.

Answer by Dani
Wow, just wow. I’m sorry you had to deal with so many people like that in such a short period of time.

For they guy outside I probably would have told him straight off that I wasn’t going to let some stranger hold my baby, and that if he kept harassing me I would be calling the cops.

For the lady in the bathroom, I would have tried to be polite and when your walk away didn’t work I would have been very forthright and told her to get her hands off my kid.. NOW.

Yes you did a great job at handling them, but I don’t know if I could have been that polite lol.

Answer by boynymphtiff
u were better than me – i totally wouldnt have been so nice. things like that, theres no room for politness. nowadays w/ people taking babies and so many diseases goin round(swine flu for example) i wouldve been goin off! last weekend some people tried to touch my 2 month old and i told them to back up off me and my son. they didnt like it but i didnt care – thats my baby – and thats one thing u dont mess w/. heres one good thing – at least u look young to be married and have a baby – walk away w/ that! LOL!

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