I was adamant that when I had a baby no one that hadn’t had a whooping cough vaccine, hand sanitised and was given a clean bill of health was even allowed to enter the hospital room I was in. Oh also – no perfume, too stimulating for a new babies senses, I was told.
My neurosis turned up 15 notches when I gave birth and they haven’t simmered down yet.
When we got out of hospital and settled back at home, I still made sure for the next few months the above applied. Eventually we went and visited friends who I adore. Whom all had kids. It was so nice to arrive hand over the baby and have a glass of wine. It had been months.
LISTEN: Zoe Marshall shares her advice for dealing with strangers on Mamamia’s podcast for new parents, The Baby Bubble.
But then I caught something in the corner of my eye. Something shocking. Now look, I try really hard to hide my neurosis. I don’t want to be over bearing or controlling but what I saw stunned me.
This friend was kissing my baby on the mouth. Full on smooches. I hadn’t even done this yet and there they were non stop on the lips! I didn’t know what to do. I was in such shock. I kind of shimmied my way in and pretended he needed a feed. I just had to get him away from those puckering lips.
I waited anxiously over the next couple of days to see if he may have gotten sick. But of course he was fine, but it made me think. Is that normal to kiss other peoples babies on the lips? Am I the odd one out? This person wasn’t family. We are friends but not super close and if someone should be smooching, it is me!
I would never kiss any baby on the mouth. I don’t even ask friends who are new mums if I can have a hold. I wait for them to offer. It’s such a fragile stage. For both mum and baby.
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Well that goes down as the best family trip ever @benji6marshall I never got to go to places like Fiji growing up. We just couldn’t afford it. But I never felt like I was missing out. All my cousins and I got to run under the hose at my Nans house and we thought it was the best. I hope one day Fox realises how special it is to get on a plane and arrive in paradise with the kindest people on the planet. I will never let any of us take this for granted. Very special.
Then wait for it. You start going out in public with your beautiful new baby. Strangers want to touch your baby. Of course they do. Some will even bend down into the pram and touch the babies face.
I was uncomfortable with this. Where had those hands been. Do we have a right as parents to politely brush their hand away? Say “please don’t touch my baby” or do we have to do that thing we do in public places to make everyone feel comfortable and put ourselves and our needs behind us.