A mother of a 4-month-old baby has caused a new parenting debate on Mumsnet after sharing that she is considering saying “no” to people who want to hold her baby, including the child’s grandfather.
Under the username pearlsandpetals, the mom shared the post last Thursday on the AIBU? (Am I Being Unreasonable?) channel and captioned it “To say no to people who want to hold my baby.” Since then, the post has received 157 replies and the accompanying poll has seen a total of 454 votes, with 79% voting that the OP (Original Poster) was in fact being unreasonable.
In the post, the parent described the baby as “going through a very clingy phase” and as being “very attached” to the mother. According to the mom’s observations, her child “doesn’t like to be held by anyone”, except for a few close family members and the baby’s parents.
“She is also a very calm baby who hates lots of stimulation and has been that way since birth,” the mother explained.
The mom then recounted that there is a family event coming up soon, which a few family members that the couple doesn’t see on a regular basis are expected to attend, including the baby’s grandfather on her dad’s side.
The mother expects that the grandfather will want to hold the baby and “make a big fuss of her.” And while the mom is aware that such behavior “comes from a place of good intentions,” she is still concerned about it distressing and agitating the baby.
“Last time this happened he said he would take her outside and walk around with her and this only made things worse,” the mother wrote.
“I don’t want to put my baby in another situation like this to make her upset and distressed,” she added.
Towards the end of the post, the mother asked other Mumsnet users if she was being unreasonable and asked for advice “to handle it in a polite way [so as] not to offend anyone.”
However, the majority of users appeared unsupportive.
“Yes it’s unreasonable to stop Granddad from holding his Grandaughter,” one commenter wrote.
“I think you are being extremely unreasonable, and unkind. Of course he will want to hold her, and unless you have particular concerns about him, I think you should let him,” another user said.
“Being passed around all and sundry and allowed to become distressed is one thing. Not letting her actual grandparents hold her is something else,” the same user added.
Another Mumsnet user explained: “Your baby won’t come to any harm being held by him for a few moments, and if she cries you can take her back.”
“All babies go through a phase of this. She will be fine if she becomes distressed just take her back. You are massively overthinking this,” one of the commenters wrote.
The OP did not appear to take too kindly to users disagreeing with them, replying that they had been “expecting these kinds of responses” and that “the vast majority of people on Mumsnet very much like to get a reaction whilst hiding behind their computer screens .”
Several users seemed taken aback by the OP’s reaction, commenting: “Why bother posting then?”
“Get a grip of yourself,” wrote one commenter. “Nobody has been anything other than straight with you and you’re now having a little strop.”
According to NCT, a UK-based national charity for pregnancy, birth and early parenthood, separation anxiety is a normal part of a child’s development. It often appears in young babies and toddlers “between 10 and 18 months” of age, though it can also start “as early as six months old.”
The UK’s National Health Service highlights that separation anxiety is usually a sign of how well a parent has bonded with their child. And although it can make it challenging to leave your child in someone else’s care, it’s actually helpful for children as it teaches them to cope without you, slowly guiding them towards independence.
This was not the first time that a parent has taken to Mumsnet to express concerns about how others handle their children. Newsweek previously wrote about how internet users backed a mother who was concerned about her daughter being “forced into giving or accepting hugs and kisses.” According to the parent, friends and family more often than not “cuddle and/or kiss [the toddler] anyway,” despite the child’s objections.