Growing up as the third child of four and my “baby” brother only being two years younger, I did not get much experience holding babies until I had babysitting jobs as a teenager. Even then, I would only babysit kids that were over a year old. I always wanted to hold all the new babies in my church, but never felt comfortable because I had next to no experience. Also, many moms I knew tended to be very possessive or protective of their baby, so if they wouldn’t let other adults hold their baby, there was no way they’d let me hold that little bundle of joy. Thus, I was left with sneaking glances and making faces long-distance with any infant that I encountered.
Until I had my own child. Then I got to experience the absolute peace and warmth that comes from holding such a tiny little human (which I’m sure was increased exponentially since it was my own child, though I still feel that way now when I hold someone else’s baby). I’m pretty sure holding babies could be classified as therapy, just like playing with puppies scientifically brightens someone’s mood. If it was up to me, everyone would get their dose of baby cuddles now and then for their own well-being.
However, I find that many people are in the same predicament that I was in before having children of my own. There is a combination of not feeling confident in holding an infant due to lack of experience, and a timidity in asking the parent to hold the child due to many parents having the baby strapped to their hip (both literally and figuratively). How do we fix this? We, as parents of infants, need to encourage others to hold our babies! It benefits everyone, trust me. Here are some ways that it provides benefits to all parties involved.
Other people. As mentioned previously, holding a baby is medicine to the soul. I have yet to see someone not express joy when holding my little girl, even if she starts crying two minutes after they hold her. J Offering the option for people to hold your baby will give them more confidence in holding small children and in asking to hold the baby in future encounters. Also, when you see someone holding your child, it strengthens your connection with them, and vice versa. It is so cool to know a couple and then to hold their little offspring, a mix between the two of them.
Your Baby. Unless your baby is very shy, he or she will enjoy being held and meeting new people! Babies love to explore faces and voices, so being near to new people is the perfect way to do that. Also, your baby will most likely deal with less separation anxiety if they are repeatedly exposed to new people while mommy and daddy are still within eyesight.
The Parents – You! Remember when I said that holding a baby gives you absolute peace and warmth? Well, sometimes that goes away when you’re the parent of said baby. Sometimes I get tired of holding my child, especially if she is squirmy or cranky. But, if someone else is holding your baby, then you get a break! There also is a unique kind of joy in seeing your child bring joy to other people, and the beginning of parental pride for your son or daughter.
I hope this encourages you to let go of being afraid of passing along your child to someone else’s arms for a moment or two. I believe the positives outweigh any negatives that you might be able to come up with. We now always try to offer for friends and family members to hold our child, and have received much joy from seeing our loved ones hold and play with our baby girl.