Everyone wants to hold, kiss, and cuddle babies, and who can blame them? They’re adorable snuggle machines. They love all that affection, and it’s very easy to give it to them. Unfortunately, strangers getting close to your child is super-dangerous right now.
A baby obviously doesn’t have the immune system of an adult. An adult carrying a virus that doesn’t affect her at all can pass it on to a baby through touching or kissing, and make the child seriously ill.
This goes for everything from the common cold, which can turn into a serious strain of RSV, the flu, and, yes, COVID-19. While young children do seem to be able to handle the coronavirus better than seniors, they’re still at risk—especially babies.
So, if you haven’t already, now’s the time to remind anyone who has contact with your child to avoid being too touchy—and definitely not to kiss her. This can be a little difficult, especially when it comes to your immediate family. Grandparents, aunts, and uncles tend to think they’re an exception when it comes to the no-touching rule. However, just because they’re related to your child doesn’t mean they can’t make her sick.
Here’s exactly how you can tell anyone hanging with your baby that they absolutely can’t kiss her, and that now is also really not the time to snuggle her, either. Social distancing applies to babies, too, no matter how cute they are.
Make Sure Your Partner’s Onboard
The first thing you need to do is discuss this with the other parent. You’re going to have a tough time telling others not to hug and kiss your baby if your partner is allowing them to do it. This can be especially challenging when it comes to in-laws.
Have a serious conversation with your partner about it and decide what you’ll both say to those who get a little too close.
Tell Close Family Privately
It’s not a bad idea to reach out to the people around your baby the most and let them know about the precautions you’re taking.
At the beginning of flu season, when my daughter was 4-months-old, my husband and I decided we didn’t want anyone to kiss her. We texted our immediate family and explained that because we didn’t want her to get sick, they could hold and cuddle her, but we would appreciate it if they didn’t kiss her.
Being a parent means being an advocate for your child. This is not always easy to do. When it comes to things like this, people can be annoyingly stubborn. Older adults, in particular, seem to think the “no kissing” rule is silly and unnecessary.
You have to be firm and tell them they can’t be too touchy, even if they roll their eyes and say things like, “We all kissed each other’s babies growing up and everyone is still alive.”
I’ve gotten statements like that countless times. Don’t let anyone bully you into allowing them to do what they want with your baby. You’re the parent, and what you say goes.
Be Respectful, Not Demanding
You want to be firm, not harsh. People always respond better to a nice tone rather than a demanding, angry one. If someone tries to kiss your baby, don’t snap, “What’s wrong with you?!” no matter how much you want to.
Instead, say something like, “Please don’t get that close to him. I don’t want him to get sick and would rather be safe than sorry.” You can absolutely be stern without being unkind.
Put a Sign on the Car Seat or Stroller
You might be shocked at how many complete strangers will reach out to touch your baby. Recently, a male stranger didn’t acknowledge me at all, but smiled at my 7-month-old daughter, made baby noises at her, and then reached out and touched her cheek.
We bought a little sign for her car seat informing people they can look but not touch. It’s an easy way to inform people you don’t want them near your baby without you having to announce it.
Be prepared, though—even if you get a sign, many people will ignore it.
It doesn’t matter how many times I say it on social media or in person, people continue to kiss my daughter. I constantly have to remind people not to. Is it annoying for everyone? Probably, but I don’t care.
Don’t be afraid to remind people—they might have genuinely just forgotten.
Accept That Some People Will Be Annoyed
When my husband and I first told our families not to kiss our daughter, my mother-in-law was not happy about it. She openly made fun of our rule and would kiss her on the back of the head while staring at us. She fought with my husband about it several times.
A few other people would roll their eyes, while others seemed surprised. Again, though, it doesn’t matter if people are annoyed. You’re the parent. You make the rules, and they just have to deal.