Passing the Baby Around

March 5, 2009 at 11:22 pm 1 comment

fingers2When a new baby arrives, well-wishing friends and family members come to your home for the first look. Of course, they want to hold the baby.  What’s the best way to handle these situations?   

We often think of newborns as being completely passive, but that’s not the case.  Babies always need to feel secure and their sacred space needs to be honored.  It is not in your baby’s best interest to be passed around without an introduction, permission, or telling the baby what you’re doing with her.  You can say, “This is Aunt Mary. Do you want to be held right now?”  Unless asleep, the baby will always give you cues to let you know one way or another.  Look at facial expressions and body cues.  A “no” can look like a head turning away, a body that stiffens, or legs and arms pushing away.  The baby is communicating “yes” when she relaxes, moves closer to you or Aunt Mary, or looks at you.  If the baby gives you “no” cues, just wait a little while and try again.  Gently explain to your disappointed relative or friend that the baby is just not ready right now.   When you do hand the baby to someone, make a transition for the baby by saying, “Now, Aunt Mary is going to hold you.” 

The same principles apply to family gatherings and church events where a new baby is often the center of attention and often overwhelmed. 

As you get to know your new baby, you’ll learn how to read her cues and what situations are over stimulating to her.


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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Colleen  |  March 23, 2009 at 2:58 pm

    Hi Becky! I love the insight in this article. Having 5 children, I know how different each one is from the other. My middle child didn’t want any acknowledgment as a baby, so when we went to any gathering, I had to ‘protect’ her from people who wanted to simply say hello, until SHE was ready to join the gathering. She needed a different comfort level than my other children. She is now 17 and a very outgoing young woman. I truly believe if you give a baby what they NEED, they gain confidence to be more of who they are.

    You’re doing a great service with this blog!

    *hugs* Colleen


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