How to Meet a Baby

I’ve been wanting to pull a post together on baby etiquette – that is, how non-babies should interact with babies. The thing is, it mostly ends up being my pet peeves and weird stories that have happened over the past year, and how am I to know where to draw the line between what freaks my baby out and what I just project onto him because I think you’re way too excited to see him.

DSC07969Babies are different too, as are parents, so if I made up the top ten rules for how to meet my baby, it might not be quite right for the adorable kiddo you see in the grocery store. So instead, I have condensed all my almost-a-year of experience to one piece of advice to keep in mind when you are meeting a baby:

Babies are people, not dolls. They’re new people, but they’re people.

Treat them how you would treat anybody you’re meeting for the first time. That means probably don’t grab their face. Perhaps just give them a smile and say hi and see how they react. Introduce yourself and read their body language and offer your hand if they seem interested. Let them explore how your face feels (if you let my baby feel your face, know his hand is going in your mouth).

Also, babies are often carried in the arms of another person – and that person has feelings. I have had a whole lot of people up in my personal space because they really want to be nose-to-nose with the baby on my hip, and I have ignored a handful of accidental gropings because someone really wanted to tickle him right in his ribs. If tickling that adorable baby means you might accidentally grab some boob, maybe don’t tickle the baby.

I was chatting with a mom friend about how much we love when people give our kids the chance to warm up to them, not just bombard them with affection and feel hurt when they don’t immediately want to be picked up. I love that people love my baby, but every once in a while I want to make him a shirt that says “I am not a Furby”. He doesn’t need to be hyper-stimulated at every moment – the world is actually really stimulating on its own, and a room full of people, or a grocery store or mall are places where his brain is soaking in information like a sponge. Three speed-rounds of peek-a-boo might be fun for you, but I think it’s freaky for him. It’s freaky for me!

Babies are a ton of fun, and I am so glad to be a mom because I don’t have to hold back my love for Torre. Kisses, snuggles, tossing in the air, pretending to eat him alive, making him jump when I pop out from behind a door – these are love languages I get to speak all day long, and it’s the best! I don’t want this post to come across as “I’m the only one who’s allowed to love my baby, so back off!” because it’s not that. Just give him time to actually get to know you before you pull him out of my arms and toss him in the air, right?

DSC07964And less tickling, please.

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Gay 05-02-2014, 02:26

Way to go Alyssa!! You hit many key points. Love the no tickling. I am a firm believer in ‘letting the baby come to you’ philosophy if you are a stranger, or someone the baby doesn’t see frequently. Babies are full of love and are happy to share with you……. if you give them some space. 🙂

alyssa 05-02-2014, 12:39

Thanks Gay! I just have to remember my own rules for meeting friends’ babies that I am sooo excited for 😀

Lori 06-02-2014, 16:28

You’ve echoed my thoughts exactly Alyssa. It’s always bothered me to see a baby passed around a group of people like a little brown jug.

alyssa 06-02-2014, 21:54

lol, well I haven’t ever thought of it that way! Now I will though 😛

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