Recently, I brought my baby to a supermarket. To my horror, even though she was strapped securely to me in a carrier, lots of people thought it was perfectly fine to reach out and touch her chubby little arms and legs and even pinch her cheeks. I really wanted to ask “Excuse me, did you wash your hands recently?”
A friend of mine was similarly disturbed when people would not stop touching and kissing her newborn during his full moon party. She even felt a bit of regret for inviting so many people, as there was no way to ascertain their health status, and she felt it would have been rude to tell them not to touch the baby.
Are parents being too “sensitive” when we’re uncomfortable with allowing simply anyone to touch or kiss our babies? The simple answer is no.
As a parent, it is our responsibility to give our children the best in life. And that means, first and foremost, the best in health. It means doing everything within our power to keep them from harm’s way.
A newborn baby is not immune to most of the germs that are carried around by the adults. It may seem harmless if you just have a runny nose or a minor sore on your top lip. But to that baby and the family, it could be very important.
Imagine the devastation of this family, whose baby was killed by a cold sore that they suspect she contracted from the safest of places, the hospital where she was born.
We should respect a child’s right to be healthy
That is why it is strictly forbidden to kiss a newborn baby, especially on lips. Sick children should not be allowed around a newborn either.
So don’t be shy about telling people to please wait to visit, or to not touch your child. Don’t be afraid to cancel play dates if there’s even a hint of illness. Honesty is the best policy, because we are the ones who will have to deal with the consequences if anything should happen.
It is definitely not easy, because we are so conditioned to be “nice” and accommodating. But if it’s important to your child’s health and safety, we should do it.