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Chances are that you have seen a little baby at the mall or in some restaurant, and gone all "oooooh!!!" over them. You may even have felt your hand reach out to stroke the tiny one's hair or cheek.

If you have a really strong mother instinct, you may even have wanted to pick the baby up or (oops) actually done it. If you now have a baby of your own, you know that this kind of thing is one of a new parent's biggest annoyances. 

Help: Why do strangers keep touching my baby?

Newborn babies do seem to have magic properties: they make grown women (and the odd man) go gooey inside and trigger an impulse to touch and hold them. This is probably an evolutionary survival mechanism, which is pretty great for the baby. Your baby already has loving parents to take care of them, but that doesn't stop complete strangers from being charmed by your little one! While this may be quite nice in theory, most parents really don't want strangers' germy fingers all over their baby's face.

Some new parents are just naturally protective of their babies and don't like the idea of complete strangers kissing them (and yes, that does happen be warned!). Others have preemies or babies that are otherwise immunocompromised, and the no-touching thing really has medical implications for them. It doesn't matter into which category you fall. It is perfectly OK not to want strangers coming too near your baby. How do you deal when it happens, and can you prevent strangers from touching your baby in the first place?

Preventative measures

Rule One is going with your gut. Don't feel that you have the obligation to let people you don't know and even those you do get their hands on your little one in the name of being polite. Accept the possibility that you may offend some people and make others sad. Think of some things to say to exceptionally persistent strangers, which you will absolutely encounter. Possibilities include:

  • "Oh, no! Please don't touch him!"
  • "Careful she bites!"
  • "NO!"

Whatever you're going to say, it has to be short and sweet. You also have to be prepared to follow up by moving away or covering your baby with your own hands. There are some preventative steps you can take too. If you use a stroller, it helps to have the baby facing you. This position also enables you see what your baby is doing. Not all strollers do have the ability to face the parent, so investigate this if you are still pregnant and in the market for a stroller.

Parents who are using a baby carrier have an even better advantage. Since the baby is strapped to their chest, they can maneuver away from the doting strangers more easily. In addition, people are actually less likely to touch your baby if the baby is attached to your own body. (Want to know more? See: Which baby carrier is right for you?) If your baby is immunocompromised, hanging a sign that says so on your stroller can be an excellent way to keep strangers from breathing into your baby's face, coughing, kissing, or touching. Make the sign very visible. Another possibility is to go about your life looking extremely unfriendly.

This will severely reduce the possibility that dirty strangers (haha) will get anywhere near your baby. If you don't want to look aggressive or unhappy all the time, people will try to touch your baby. It's as simple as that. When you that does happen, remember that they just think your cutie is the cutest one ever before you unleash your inner mama bear. Of course, even pregnant women can encounter this problem. If you are expecting a baby and are struggling to deal with people who touch you, see: Witty comments for people who touch your stomach when you are pregnant.

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