Typically we could go about our daily routines out in public areas without having to feel threatened or wary of strangers around us doing similar things (eg. Strolling in the park, grocery shopping at the supermarkets, taking the subway to visit a Friend). But now that we have a baby, we need to be more aware of the people around us. To be more precise, we need to imagine looking at the world around us through the eyes of our little child.
Imagine every where you go, you have strangers trying to get close to you, touch your cheeks, or your arms and legs. Imagine strangers coming so close and saying "hello" when all you want is to snuggle in your mummy's chest. Imagine strangers trying to get your attention and wave and make funny faces at you to make you laugh, when you just want to nap or observe the surroundings quietly. Well, there are certainly some outgoing babies who enjoy attention from everyone including strangers. But there are also those who are shy, take time to warm up and simply want to be left alone with mummy.
So as the mummy carrying your baby in the baby carrier or pushing him around in the stroller, do keep your eyes out for strangers. If there's someone whom you feel uncomfortable with or you think is overly-friendly and "touchy" with the baby, just politely cut short the conversation and walk away. I'm all for empowering new mummies with the courage to turn down strangers and walk away to find your own space. As much as passers-by may be friendly, we are not obliged to continue a conversation or put our baby up for display simply because we are not comfortable with it, are too tired to keep up with small talk, or just want to spend quiet time outdoors with our child.
Some strangers do seem unkempt and germy. If I see someone let out a cough or sneeze, I'll usually make a detour around the person. Please don't come near my baby with those germs! I don't know where you last laid your hands on, so please don't touch my baby's hands or cheeks! Sometimes things happen so fast before I could react and I'll immediately dish out the trusty baby wipes and give my baby a wipe down the moment we step aside. Call me a paranoid mama, but I sure ain't gonna take those chances!
Above all, always protect your baby. If she feels uncomfortable and starts to cry, that's definitely a sign she's not too happy with where she is or the person who's trying to interact with her. We may never find out why she prefers some strangers over the others but at least our child will always know that mummy is here to protect them and keep them safe.
The prudent sees danger and hides himself, but the simple go on and suffer for it. - Proverbs 22:3
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