baby

'Despite me asking them not to, my parents won't stop kissing my baby.'

Grandparents can’t help themselves. They just have to have a cuddle.

But what happens when a new mum isn’t happy with the way her parents are touching her baby, because she thinks it’s not hygienic?

This is the dilemma facing a mother on Mumsnet.

The woman has a seven-week-old baby, and she doesn’t want anyone touching the little boy till they’ve washed their hands and used sanitiser. Even after that, she doesn’t want people to kiss the baby’s face or touch his hands.

She says her parents have gone along with the kissing rule, but won’t stop touching her baby’s hands.

“I’m not too worried after they’ve washed them at mine but would rather they didn’t as [the baby] puts them in his mouth a lot. Despite me asking them not to, every time they see him, they still do it!”

The woman was particularly upset when her parents met the family while they were out shopping.

“And again they would not stop touching his hands! I mean, FFS, it’s bad enough when they’re at mine, but out and about, when you’re touching cars, ticket machines and door handles, why would you then go and continually stroke a newborn’s hands?”

Help. My step mum won’t stop kissing my baby. How do I ask her to stop?

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She says she’s becoming reluctant to see her mother and father, and it’s obvious.

“I’ve always had a good relationship with my parents and can’t understand, when they are so obsessed with [the baby], why they keep doing this.”

The woman says she does have hygiene-related OCD but she thinks that how she feels about the kissing and touching is normal.

“I know I’m not been too mad as we were given a sheet on the importance of it and handwashing technique in hospital.”

Many of the people who replied felt the woman was being unfair to her parents, and told her she should seek help from her GP.

“You sound really anxious and unwell,” posted one woman. “I think you need to focus on getting treatment for your condition and not your parents.”

“If a baby can survive a vagina it can survive a septuagenarian kiss on the cheek,” declared another.

However, a few took her side, saying they’d also asked visitors to wash their hands when their child was newborn. One woman was annoyed at her relatives’ lack of hygiene towards her baby girl.

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"Despite me asking them not to, every time they see him, they still do it!” Image: Getty.

“Her uncle kissed her on the lips at two days old!” she remembers. “Not even I had kissed her. He also held her after playing with his dog and put his hand in her mouth. A few other people put their fingers in her mouth too, having just come to the house. I mean, why?”

So is this woman justified in asking people not to touch her baby’s hands, even when they’ve sanitised their own?

Dr Brad McKay thinks she’s being a bit over the top. He tells Mamamia that people have been freaked out by germs “ever since we first looked down a microscope and discovered bacteria”.

“Whether you like it or not, your gut is full of bacteria and your skin is teeming too,” he points out. “Most of the time bacteria is harmless. It’s only some bacteria that cause health problems.”

He says that in Australia, we’ve seen a rise in allergies, particularly in children, but we don’t know what’s causing it.

“One of the theories is that we’re keeping our kids too clean. We hypothesise that if your child’s immune system isn’t exposed to a variety of bacteria or other substances when they’re young, then their immune system doesn’t know how to respond when it sees something new when they’re older. This can lead to hay fever, asthma, and food allergies like anaphylaxis.

“Keeping your child in a bubble might seem like a safe option when they’re young, but you could be making their health worse for the future.”

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