Get Your Fat Hands Out of My Baby’s Mouth



Before I became a mother, I was certain that there had never been a woman so suited for motherhood as myself. I thought there would be a natural ebb and flow to the first year of parenting- and everything would come to me with ease. I imagined myself gallivanting around town with my child expertly wrapped around my torso. I just knew breastfeeding would suck all of the fat off of my hips and reveal the body that nature intended me to have.

Unfortunately, I failed at baby wearing. The Ergo I ended up with made me look like a linebacker, not a wrapped maternal queen. Breastfeeding did absolutely nothing for my metabolism, even though I was feeding the little fucker every three hours. And to top it all off, I had the general public to deal with.

Why didn’t anyone warn me about the general public?

I didn’t know that people basically abandon all sense of social propriety when they see a newborn. Nobody told me. Nobody prepared me. I didn’t know newborns made people go batshit crazy. (On a side note, autocorrect does not like the term batshit crazy, but it thinks the phrase bats hit crazy makes perfect sense).

Lucien was born in November. As luck would have it, he came into the world a month before one of the worst blizzards we’d had in Brooklyn in years. It was freezing. And there was a ton of snow on the ground that Mayor Bloomberg refused to clean up. Seriously. He was vacationing in Bermuda, or something. Rich bastard. So basically, it was a new mommy nightmare. There was no way I was hitting the streets with the Baby Bjorn. I was too afraid that I would slip on black ice and crush my infant. Also, people are germ-filled disgusting messes in the winter. There was no way I was getting near a subway. So Lucien spent his first season on the planet a shut in. Sorry honey.

Being a shut in makes you pretty anti-social. Having a new baby makes you a paranoid schizophrenic. Add to that the incessant need that people seem to have to put their fingers in babies’ mouths- and you have a recipe for disaster.

Seriously, what is it with people when they A) put their fingers in your baby’s mouth, or B) put the entire hand of your newborn into their mouth? How can this possibly strike someone as being a good idea? Hey there little cutie, with a not yet fully developed immune system! I just got off the subway. The homeless guy that was sleeping against the handrail was kind enough to move so I could hold on. Yes, he did! Oh look how cute you are- reaching for my hand. Aww, he’s teething!

Why? Why would you ever do that?

And then of course, there is social-event-that-you-finally-bring-your-baby-to scenario. Maria, relax. Let me hold the baby. You are probably exhausted! Grab a glass of wine. I’ll take him. Hi cutie! I could eat you up! I’m going to eat you up. Munch, munch, munch. Entire newborn hand in mouth. Great. I’m sure my three month old is immune to those recurring cold sores I see popping up on your lip every month. And it’s totally relaxing watching all of this unfold while I enjoy my glass of wine. This party is amazing. I should really get out more often.

Expectant moms- maybe you will succeed where I failed, and be the mother you always imagined you would be. But I’m warning you now- people are going to shove their dirty hands in your baby’s mouth. Fancy some strategy for handling that, and you will really be a maternal queen.


The Scary Mommy Community is built on support. If your comment doesn't add to the conversation in a positive or constructive way, please rethink submitting it. Basically? Don't be a dick, please.

  1. 1

    Allison says

    I am so with you! It drives me crazy. And why people much touch, touch, touch newborns with their filthy hands. My daughter has red hair and she was stopped by every random person as a baby so they could touch her hair. I got very good at maneuvering the shopping cart to get beyond reach and run over grabby-granny’s toes at the same time.

    Show Replies
    • 2

      carls says

      i would not stop just keep on going let them see you as rude. they dont need to touch,look,talk to, or any of that to your baby you go on.
      dont stop if it drives you crazy let them think its rude when THEY are being rude

      Show Replies
  2. 3

    Mom Off Meth says

    I was only the mother I wanted to be with the first and second ones. The next two got a crazy person for a mommy. At that point, anyone could have held them and licked their faces. Just HELP me!!

    Love your story.

    Show Replies
  3. 5

    EllieKay says

    You need new people, a new address. Or a stun gun.
    Here in the South, we go crazy over baby feet. And we kiss toes.
    Putting baby hands that we did not birth in our mouths, or sticking our fingers in a friend’s baby’s mouth gets filed under “That (Shit) is Just Not Done”.

    Show Replies
    • 6

      Evalynn Rose says

      I live in the south and people give me death glares when I tell them to wash their hands before holding the baby… even after they’ve come from a doctor appointment. And then what’s the first thing they do? Let my baby suck on their hand. And yeah… some random person in the grocery store kept following me, trying to touch my baby, while completely ignoring me. Seriously? I’m practically running away from you and you keep following us! What is wrong with people?

      I’m from upstate NY… and you southerners are just as nuts.

      Show Replies
      • 7

        Lolthlorien says

        lol, Yep I live in GA and we are crazy but I am a germaphobe. You cannot touch my baby until your hands are washed or germ-x’d or you will get slapped and people in walmart who want to look I always politely say “You can Look, but don’t touch” I get hateful looks but ya know what fuck off. lol

        Show Replies
  4. 9

    Beth says

    Oh, I was the total B*tch when people, especially strangers, approached my babies! The lady in the grocery store who sneezed then tried to crab my little darlin’s hands may never recover.

    Show Replies
  5. 10

    Roddy Jones says

    Yes, totally with you. I just don’t understand why people do that. I remember being in the bathroom changing my 3rd daughter (by #3 I accepted it was ok to use the changing the table in the bathroom after using my Clorox wipes and then putting down the changing pad, lol). An old lady walked out of the stall, walked over, looked down at my daughter, grabbed her hands and her face saying “oh, how cute.” I almost died on the spot. LADY, you just came out from using the bathroom, wiping your butt, not one lick of soap and water on your hands and you just touched my child! I almost pulled out the Clorox wipes. YUCK!

    Show Replies
    • 11

      Debbie says

      My MIL tries to do that! She has psoriasis and doesnt wash her hands ever! She also showers once a month and wears dentures so doesnt clean her mouth. So I know she doesnt wash hands after she comes out of the bathroom…. She isn’t allowed to touch my three month old, and if she does, I clean my poor daughter from head to toe. She comments all the time (usually around her daughter who she hopes will say something to me… let her try!) about how she can’t hold her granddaughter. It pisses me off, it starts with her and somehow it’s my fault? Her kids don’t see it, they just see her as their old mum. I cant bear it though. I was so angry I burst into tears because my husband put our baby in his mother’s lap for Christmas and the first thing she did was turn to me and say”Hey! look here! You’re baby’s in my lap” Why am I not allowed to hit people??

      Show Replies
  6. 12

    Mamarific says

    Ha! Waiting in lines out at stores were always the worst places my baby and I would get accosted with people wanting to touch his face. And you’re right, it’s usually the scariest, dirtiest, tobacco-stained, grubby-handed people alive.

    Show Replies
  7. 13

    Dr. Blondie says

    Yes, I totally agree! The general public drives me crazy, too. My son is almost one now, but I still pull him away when I see a stranger’s grubby hands approaching him. I can’t think of a time when I have reached out to touch a stranger’s baby, so it baffles me that my baby gets accosted so often.

    Show Replies
  8. 15

    tracey says

    I am kinda the opposite in that I freak out whenever my kids use antibacterial lotions or those Purell squirty things. Not allowed! NOT ALLOWED!!

    I actually get tense just thinking about all of the helpful bacteria that die in the pursuit of killing the evil-doer-bacteria. I have issues: I ACCEPT THIS!

    Then Again, we don’t live near the subway or in a city, so I can’t really compare the amount of germs on those who kissed and licked my babies… ANYway, just trying to say I UNDERSTAND but in a different way. :)

    Show Replies
    • 16

      Guerrilla Mom says

      Oh god, I don’t use any of that antibacterial stuff either. It’s the hands in mouth and the putting of babies hands in the mouth (for people who aren’t super close or related). I think living in a crazy busy city has just made me a huge fan of personal space and boundaries.

      Show Replies
  9. 17

    Sara Peluso (@simplifybysara) says

    Son born in June 06; 2nd grade daughter’s Bagel Breakfast in September & Ariel’s Mom put her fingers in my baby boys mouth! We still call Ariel “the girl whose Mom put her fingers in Anthony’s mouth” I am rarely at a loss for words, but I still have no idea what I was supposed to say ..

    Show Replies
  10. 18

    Lynn says

    A family member put cake icing on her nasty, nicotine stained fingers and then fed it to my 6 month old baby boy!!! WTFlip is wrong with people?! (Excuse the “flip”, I’m trying to break my cursing habit, even in abbreviations. Something about the 2yo going around saying, “What the HELL!” that makes you realize you should probably clean up the potty mouth.)

    Show Replies
  11. 19

    Tarina says

    Hahha – I have limits where snotnosed tiny humans are concerned, or if the person is coughing like they have the black plague (DO people cough with the black plague? idfk) But in general, germs are good. You can wash your kid’s hands, and it helps build their immune system. Of course that doesnt make it easier with baby number one, but once you get to number 2 or godwilling/godforbid (I accept both points of view) number4, You’ve seen the first ones survive and pretty much as long as they dont lick the ground more than twice a day, you know they’ll be cool.

    Show Replies
    • 20

      Jenelle W. says

      Ha! OMG! Good to know I’m not alone. Oh-so-dear-child-of-mine licked 3 different counters and the floor twice while out shopping this morning…Gross? Yes. Did I do much other than sigh for him to stop? No. (‘Course we’re not talking about someone licking an infant – that shits inexcusable. Ever.)

      Show Replies
  12. 21

    Kristen Mae says

    At least when you’re breast-feeding the baby does have all the immunities you have. However, the thing about people who have mouth-herpes – yeah. Nasty. Like they don’t know they have it? My sister’s MIL has it and used to offer my nieces drinks from her straw, or she’d ask if they wanted to have some of grandma’s chap-stick. My sister finally had to be rude with her to get her to stop. Babies or no babies, if you have mouth-herpes, keep your damn saliva to yourself.

    And of course it goes without saying that you should not put someone else’s hand in your mouth. Ever. Gross.

    Show Replies
  13. 23

    Alexis says

    I have a way over the top love of baby toes. Every time I see some chubby little baby toes I have to stifle an overwhelming desire to pop them into my mouth. However I’ve learned that no matter HOW good friends you are with somebody, the only toes you are allowed to stuff into your mouth are your OWN baby’s.

    Sadly my babies have grown up and their toes are no longer cute little jelly beans. So word to the wise – enjoy those little baby toes while you got em because once they are gone you are DONE until the grandbabies show up.

    Show Replies
  14. 24

    cindie says

    When my son was around 6 months old I was sitting in a public service office and the cuttest little hispanic grandma wanted to hold my son… i reluctantly let her do it and she proceeded to kiss the palm of his hands!!!! I wanted to scream STOOOOOP THAT! but shock of what I was seeing held me back. I learned later from my husband that it is an old fable in the hispanic community that if you kiss the hand of a baby you are kissing away all sickness and disease?!?!? Does this make sense to anyone else? ha ha! I couldn’t wash his hands fast enough.

    Show Replies
  15. 25

    Staying Anon says

    Hahaha! Yes!!!! Yes!!! Why is that? And I live in the south too, but that doesn’t stop anyone from kissing all over my babies’ hands. There was this nasty lady at churh that would kiss her hand slllooowwwwly all over saying “yeeessss bbbbaaaaaaaabbbbyyyy” while I and my teenage daughters watched in horror. (She was really nasty). I kept those baby wipes handy everytime I saw her coming! And my mil is one of those put-the-food-on-the-finger feeders of newborns. O.o

    And once in the drs waiting room, I kept my baby in the stroller to keep her from climbing all over and picking up who knows what. But this hideously fat guy with scarabs all over his bulging, enormous arms (who sat there picking the scabs btw), reached way over a d grabbed my baby’s hand and stroked it! I was feeling pretty queasy from just looking at this guy, now I almost vomited right there. I grabbed the baby wipe and pulled her closer and wiped, wiped, WIPED her hand. What are people thinking, really?

    Show Replies
    • 26

      Evalynn Rose says

      That’s when you need to whip out a spray bottle of lysol and just spray the person down.

      (and I probably would’ve pooped my pants in your situation with the lady at church… and the guy at the drs….)

      Show Replies
  16. 28

    LeighP says

    I love this article! While those days are a distant memory for me as well it reminded me of an incident when my son was about 3 months old. Husband’s cousin’s wife after petting and playing with our dog seemingly waiting until I left the baby in an adjacent room with my husband. I returned to find her sticking her unwashed finger in his mouth as she proceeded to tell me how she used to soothe her teenager when she was an infant with this neat finger knuckle trick. I was mortified. Who in the hell sticks any appendage in the mouth of any child not belonging to THEM? I think I grabbed my baby before anyone could blink and left the room as I was so speechless I didn’t even have a coherent thought to utter as to what I was doing. Grace be damned! That’s just gross. What the hell people? Needless to say she never held my infant son again. I’m still grossed out just thinking about it.

    Show Replies

Load More Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>