Keep Your Hands Off The Baby -- And Here's Why

by Jorrie Varney
Originally Published: 
A baby sleeping in her stroller with a pacifier in her mouth while holding a toy
gece33/Getty Images

Is there anything more precious than a new baby? They’re soft, and sleepy, and so adorably perfect. It’s no surprise that everyone is dying to get their hands on those precious pumpkins. But let’s all take a moment to acknowledge that touching anyone’s child, no matter their age, without a parent’s consent, is a big fat don’t-you-fucking-dare.

People, you can’t just go around touching babies that don’t belong to you. Come on.

We are heading into cold and flu season, and if ever there was a time to be frank about keeping your hands to yourself, it’s now. Listen, I’m not a germaphobe, but I am a nurse, and I’m here to tell you that nobody wants your damn germs on their newborn. A simple cold for us could be devastating for a new baby.

Babies born prematurely or who have a compromised immune system are at even greater risk for adverse outcomes of illness. You don’t want to be the guy that puts a newborn in the hospital, because he couldn’t keep his hands to himself, do you? Of course not, because that guy is an asshole.

Babies, children, and adults die every year from complications of influenza. Maybe you don’t have a fever, and maybe you don’t feel sick but that doesn’t mean you aren’t carrying hazardous germs around like a modern-day Typhoid Mary. And also, IT’S NOT YOUR KID, SO BACK OFF.

I’m not just talking about stranger’s babies in the grocery store, I’m talking about all new babies. Just because someone you know had a baby, doesn’t mean you need to rush their front door and insist on “snuggling that baby.” Not every new mom is cool with you blowing your germ-breath all over their new baby. If a mom wants you to hold her kid, she will let you know.

For those of you about to come hard with the that’s how they build their immune systems argument, save your breath, because I’m not here for it. If you want to expose your own baby to the plague as a fetus, go for it, but this isn’t your baby we’re talking about. This is someone else’s baby, and you need to ask before you put your microbe mittens on their child. Period.

Yes, our immune systems are built by exposure to germs, and yes, breastmilk contains amazing antibodies that offer protection from the mother’s own immune system, but not all kids are breastfed, and there is absolutely no reason to start “building their immune system” the minute the kid sees daylight. Further, acetaminophen (Tylenol) is not recommended for children under two months, and ibuprofen isn’t an option until they are 6 months old. So, maybe we can just hold off on the unnecessary inoculations, Linda.

Here’s the thing, I know this isn’t everyone’s opinion. I’m sure there are people who didn’t even finish the headline before they rushed to the comments section to drop some knowledge about their own experiences, but that’s exactly my point–THIS ISN’T ABOUT YOU. Your opinion is irrelevant. I’m fully aware that some people will roll their newborn through a Chuck E. Cheese ball pit and not bat an eye. And that’s cool, to each their own. Your kid, your rules, but I’m advocating for the moms like me who don’t want to risk their kid getting sick so you can get your “baby fix.” Just no.

Just in case I don’t have the pro-germ folks worked into a shaking-rage yet, I’m gonna lay a little more honest talk on the table. Get your flu shots, people. Especially if you are going to be around babies, children, or the elderly. If you are someone who was offended at the thought of not touching babies, then I’m definitely talking to you. The least you could do if you’re going to force physical contact on babies, is get a fucking flu shot.

Be mad if you want, but keep your damn hands to yourself. Sorry, not sorry.

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