Updated: Feb 3, 2019
I've gotta tell you, I really love babies. That's probably obvious since I work as a Postpartum Doula and my job focuses on Moms and their babies. But I REALLY LOVE THEM.
And they are so smart, so instinctual. They know how to do so many things. BUT you have to listen.
Listening to babies is much like listening to anyone else. You get to know them. You spend time with them, watch them, talk to them. Their little personalities are amazing. But it takes time and patience to get a baby to know and trust you. And sometimes, babies just simply don't like anyone other then their Mom and Dad and no amount of shushing, making faces or jiggling is going to change that. This can sometimes lead people to say a common saying that DRIVES ME CRAZY!
"Oh! He is making strange"or some other version of that. I know people are not meaning any harm by this statement, BUT this is what can happen. All of a sudden this becomes a HUGE STRESSER for the babys Mom ! She feels like she needs to make excuses, so she says "oh are you shy?" to baby, or "I'm sorry he must be grumpy". But Mamas, I'm going to lay it on you straight. Your baby doesn't EVER have to go to anyone he or she does not know UNLESS you need/want him to. And you DO NOT need to make an excuse. There is absolutely NOTHING wrong with this and its perfectly normal. Imagine you could not walk, talk, and had to be physically moved from place to place. You rely COMPLETELY on one or two people who are always there and you trust and love them very much. Now image someone you have never seen before comes in, picks you up and begins cuddling, talking to, and making 'funny' faces at you. Some of you wouldn't mind, your comfortable with new people and as long as they were gentle you go along with it. Some of you may complain a bit, but after noticing your caretakers were not concerned you may be ok with it. And some of you would kick, scream and raise hell. And that's perfectly reasonable. Why should't you if you are not feeling safe? So why are we doing this to our babies and expecting different reactions. I really like Barbara Colorosos' books on parenting and one of my favourite quotes from her is "...Because they are children and for no other reason, they have dignity and worth simply because they are". This definetly applies to our babies too. Mamas, if you have stuff you need to do or you feel like you need to NOT hold your baby for a bit. I 100% support you. Its your decision and you get to have space too. But if you are fine to hold them, and you would rather not pass them off. You do NOT need to make excuses. Not about this, or anything else you are not comfortable with. Some of the best advice I ever got about parenting was "your the parent, so you get to choose how you do it". With friends, family, Facebook groups and countless other influences we have trying to tell us what TO do, please remember, you get to decide.