Is it Selfish to Wear Baby at Gatherings? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 39 Old 01-05-2011, 02:10 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi Mamas,

 

My little one is 7 months old and loves to be worn. Our two favorite carriers are the Ergo and the Bjorn and she'll hang out in either for hours. I love babywearing too and am rarely happier than when we're out and about snuggling. I never thought anyone could ever take issue with babywearing until this past holiday season when our family attended several parties and gatherings. Many of these get-togethers weren't in baby friendly environments (hardwood floors, breakable knickknacks, etc.) and not wanting to wear out my arms, I just strapped a carrier on over my party clothes, popped baby in and enjoyed the event. Later on, my husband told me that several people, mostly relatives viewed my behavior as selfish. Shocked, I asked him how so and he said they thought by having DD in a carrier I was discouraging others from interacting with and/or holding her. Since we don't see our relatives that often, I guess a few people were really miffed that they didn't get the interaction they were hoping for.

 

Now, I'm torn. Part of me feels badly that some people felt this way. I was only trying to keep DD safe and comfortable and in no way meant to "hog" her. On the other hand, no one asked me to hold her or take her out of the carrier so how was I to know? I guess my question is what do you ladies do in similar circumstances? Do you wear your little ones to family gatherings? Have you ever been accused of being "selfish" for doing so? Any ideas for future events?

 

Thanks so much!


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#2 of 39 Old 01-05-2011, 05:14 PM
 
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I'm sorry you're feeling bad about it. You shouldn't. I've never experienced what you have, but the opposite actually when I was purposly hiding my son in his Moby (at home) when a friends overbearing gf came to visit. She just didn't get it that he and I wanted "alone" time in his Moby. You shouldn't feel guilty. You were only trying to save your arms from getting tired and not make others feel that they had to hold the baby all the time while you enjoyed the party. If someone wanted to hold they could have asked you. Did anyone seem interested in holding her? I guess you could have offered and asked if they wanted to,but you know to ask next time I guess and see what they say,but where your daughter again if you want and try not to worry about it. 

 

 

 

 

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#3 of 39 Old 01-05-2011, 05:22 PM
 
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Do not feel guilty or selfish. One of the great things about babywearing is that your baby gets to be at the same level as adults to interact if she wants to while other people cannot just take her from you. Some babies do like to be held by many people but most babies get cared and upset quite quickly when a bunch of people want to pass them around. If your relatives cannot be bothered to ask your permission before holding or touching your baby and/or cannot take no for an answer, then they are the selfish people.

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#4 of 39 Old 01-05-2011, 07:16 PM
 
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No, I don't think you were selfish.  If someone wanted to hold the baby, they should have spoken up.  Goodness knows there were times when I would have liked a break from holding the baby but didn't want to impose.

 

I wore DD at all gatherings until she started showing the urge to run around... around 1 year or so.  Now it's at her inclination.  Occasionally I did get a few kooky extended relatives making some snide comments about, "Oh she's in that thing again...." but I just ignored those people.  And now, everyone seems pretty used to it.  At Christmas, she fell asleep in my sling and one relative said, "Oh that looks so nice and comfortable for you both."

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#5 of 39 Old 01-05-2011, 07:35 PM
 
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My mom has done that too. She tells me, after the fact, that I was keeping the baby all to myself and not sharing but yet she never asks. You're not being selfish, you're doing what is best for you and the baby. She also tells me how my babies manipulate me because I pick them up when they cry and I need to give formula in bottles when out because my breastfeeding (even under a cover) is making others uncomfortable (I've asked, she's the only one who is uncomfortable). She didn't even talk to me for two weeks after our third was born because I didn't call her at 3am to tell her I was in labor so she could come out and 'help' so I take her comments with a grain of salt. 

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#6 of 39 Old 01-06-2011, 05:10 AM
 
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Even if you weren't using a carrier and/or you were deliberately trying to "hog" her to yourself, you still shouldn't feel guilty. It's your baby, not some toy you're supposed to share. They're not entitled to hold her at all if you don't want them to.

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#7 of 39 Old 01-06-2011, 07:19 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cyllya View Post

Even if you weren't using a carrier and/or you were deliberately trying to "hog" her to yourself, you still shouldn't feel guilty. It's your baby, not some toy you're supposed to share. They're not entitled to hold her at all if you don't want them to.



I agree 100% with this, and if they wanted to hold her they should have asked you! My DD is 2 so I don't wear her to family events often (she almost immediately wants to get down and have her grandparents and aunts play with her, not boring Mom and Dad LOL), but I still bring a wrap with me everywhere and if she needs to go up, she does :)

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#8 of 39 Old 01-06-2011, 09:31 AM
 
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Translation: "If you didn't have her strapped to you, I could've just grabbed her out of your arms without asking."

 

Tell your dh that if they really wanted time with your dd they would've asked you instead of whining to him like little kids who want a turn with Johnny's truck.

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#9 of 39 Old 01-06-2011, 09:35 AM
 
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When I asked relatives if I could hold their babies, I even told them that when I had a baby I was going to be selfish and not let other people hold him/her as much as they let me hold their babies.

 

Still never had anyone be anything but grateful that they got any time.

 

Your In-Laws need to Grow Up.

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#10 of 39 Old 01-06-2011, 10:31 AM
 
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No it is not selfish.

It is healthier for baby, as baby is not handled by people with illness.

Playing pass the baby might feel nice to adults IMO it disrespects baby.

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#11 of 39 Old 01-06-2011, 11:32 AM
 
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When my son was an infant I wore him at family events on purpose so people couldn't hold him.  He's not a football or a conversation piece.  He's my kid.  *Shrug.*

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#12 of 39 Old 01-06-2011, 11:33 AM
 
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It's your baby; your in-laws seem immature. They should be able to ask if they can hold your baby (and they should ask). They shouldn't be going behind your back calling your 'behavior' names.

 

This is all my opinion of course.

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#13 of 39 Old 01-06-2011, 11:34 AM
 
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i have used carriers/slings a lot when i did want to avoid tons of people holding my babies...i think they're invaluable for that purpose! even though you weren't doing that you definitely should NOT feel bad for other people's failure to communicate! :)

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#14 of 39 Old 01-06-2011, 11:38 AM
 
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I would be furious w/ my dh, I'll tell you that.  You are being a fantastic mother, he's got relatives crabbing about you behind your back, and he actually tells you this, but too late for you to do anything about it?  He should have stood up for you at the time!  

 

My honest opinion is that if relatives ask nicely to hold the baby and there's no good reason not to let them, in general, you should, at least for a minute.  That includes taking baby out of the carrier.  (Good reasons not to let them include baby is sleeping, the person isn't trustworthy, there is sickness going around, baby in a stranger-anxiety phase, or anything else you decide.)  But if no one asks, DUH!  You can't read minds!  

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#15 of 39 Old 01-06-2011, 11:41 AM
 
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It isn't selfish, it isn't fun if your arms get tired, or your child gets overwhelmed.  It helps keep a safe a health distance for your child (*read germs/unwanted kisses/etc), while still letting them engage and interact with the event.  7 months old is such a tricky age, not specifically sitting with reliability (in some cases), or crawling, or walking, or playing independently.  If someone wants to hold the baby, just ask.  We usually just say that the baby/child is in the carrier to have a quiet moment to get used to the party, so we can enjoy it longer.  We have been fortunate that people are understanding, and they are grateful that we don't have screaming kids at their party:)

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#16 of 39 Old 01-06-2011, 11:46 AM
 
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You're meeting your daughter's needs and respecting others' things.  That is not selfish.  I'm sure these people who didn't have the nerve to ask to play with your baby or criticise you to your face are the same ones who would throw a fit about your "bad parenting" if your daughter touched one of their precious breakables.  You can't win with some people, so the heck with 'em.  Just keep listening to your baby and giving her what she needs.

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#17 of 39 Old 01-06-2011, 11:57 AM
 
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Absolutely not selfish.

 

You are doing what's best for your baby: keeping her safe from potential problems in a (presumably) un-childproofed house, keeping her comforted in a strange environment, and preventing her from being exposed to who knows what kind of germs all over the many people at the party who would've probably gotten her sick.  She's a baby, a person you as a mother are to keep safe and healthy, not a designer bag to be admired at social gatherings.

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#18 of 39 Old 01-06-2011, 11:59 AM
 
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I have been accused of it....but in fairness to them I WAS mentally aware of what I was doing and I was doing it on purpose. There are times I don't feel a sleeping baby should be passed around or if its people I'm not comfortable with... I don't want them holding my child. I don't babywear BECAUSE of this, I love BWing! But this is a major perk for me :D

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#19 of 39 Old 01-06-2011, 12:20 PM
 
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Grrr... I had several people in our church small group repeatedly try to snatch my under-one-year-old out of my arms, when it was clear she didn't want to be snatched.  They acted like I was being overprotective and clingy, even though I could tell by the look on her face that she didn't want to leave me and that she was going to lose it.  I had to *start* babywearing her, even though she'd rather be a little more free.  So, as others have said, even if you *were* doing it to be selfish and spend more time with her, they need to grow the heck up.  You're the mama.  It's your call.  Also, they should have talked to *you* if they had a problem, not complained to your husband about it.  That's just not fair to anyone, your husband included.


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#20 of 39 Old 01-06-2011, 12:31 PM
 
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I used sling almost exclusively for both of my children regardless of where we were or who we were with. I have one particular memory that stands out sort of relating to your post.

 

One of my parents asked to hold my daughter, I agreed and attempted to pass her over when she cried and arched and was clearly not wanting to be with anyone other than me, I took her back and was criticized for "doing this" to my daughter. I was hurt but felt righteous in my decision to babywear and follow her lead.

 

One year later this parent died of cancer, and I can't help but continually feel saddened that my daughter did not have a chance to know him...

Sometimes our best intentions are just that, best intentions. Not a wrong or right way, just what is. I got to provide what I felt was best for my child in the moment, and I also feel remorse. Had I of known what was to come, I still would not have handed my daughter over in that moment, but rather tried to create special moments for bonding in ways that nurtured all of us.

 

Maybe your in-laws just need to know that they are loved and appreciated? We all have moments of weakness when we do or say things that are not in our highest truth.

 

xo

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#21 of 39 Old 01-06-2011, 12:36 PM
 
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Uh-huh.  Aren't people ridiculous?  My mom and sister loudly declared that, "We can't even SEE that baby!" with my first.  I think by the second they got used to it, because I never heard a peep.  :)  I was willing to share, tho, if asked.  I'd pull the rail down and even take a sleeping newborn out just so folks could see and hold the baby.  But - my babies wanted ME.  And I liked and encouraged that.  Muah ha ha ha.  shy.gif


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#22 of 39 Old 01-06-2011, 01:05 PM
 
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Not selfish in anyway.  Your in laws need to grow up and if they want to hold your baby they should ask.  I dealt with similar this holiday season.  Lol, mine were less polite about it and spent the entire time telling me how horrible I was for wearing my child.

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#23 of 39 Old 01-06-2011, 01:52 PM
 
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I've worn my kids to gatherings like that. If people want to hold them, they can ask. I did sit down, take them out, and let them play on my lap a bit. But when people ask to hold the baby, I always would turn to my baby and ask in an encouraging voice if they wanted to go see that person. I think the baby is the one who gets to make that call, not the relative! People were pretty respectful of that.

Your relatives called you selfish behind your back, but they sound a little immature and petty, to be honest. If they wanted to hold the baby, the adult thing to do would be to ask, not say mean things about you later.
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#24 of 39 Old 01-06-2011, 02:05 PM
 
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I strategically wore my 3 month old to the family gatherings at christmas on purpose because i didn't want to pass her around. I'm not a fan of passing my babe around the room, and wearing her gives her the security of my body amidst the chaos and stimulation of holiday parties.  don't feel bad.  you are looking out for your baby first, which is what a mom's supposed to do!

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#25 of 39 Old 01-06-2011, 02:15 PM
 
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I have some pretty intense in-laws who honestly believe a baby is public property.  Wearing my baby was the only way to keep us both safe from their baby-greedy ways!  It wouldn't matter if she cried or grabbed me trying to stay in my arms, or kept crying while in their arms, they didn't pay attention to what she wanted or what she needed.  So she went into the sling whenever we went to their house.  I have managed to make her feel safe and loved using the sling and I believe I've actually helped her create healthy boundaries with her grandparents by making sure she feels like she can always get to me when we are at their house.  It's not selfish when it's YOUR baby you're wearing! 

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#26 of 39 Old 01-06-2011, 04:56 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks so much for all the great responses mamas! I feel so much better about the whole situation having read all your insightful replies. In my heart of hearts I didn't believe I'd done anything wrong by wearing DD to the holiday shin-digs but it was hard for me to hear that people had misunderstood my intentions by keeping her in the carrier. I told my husband to please inform my in-laws that I'm going to continue to babywear wherever and whenever for as long as my daughter and I are both comfortable and to please just ask me if they'd like to hold the baby. My hope is that someone will ask to hold DD at the next get-together and I'll have a chance, not only to show that I'm okay with letting others hold her (assuming the person is sober, healthy and otherwise trustworthy) but also to discuss the advantages of babywearing in a friendly, lighthearted way.

 

Thank you again mamas for putting my mind at ease and giving me the confidence to continue babywearing with abandon! thumb.gif femalesling2.GIF thumb.gif


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#27 of 39 Old 01-06-2011, 09:23 PM
 
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For some reason, I had never thought of babywearing at a gathering.  What a perfect idea!  Baby is so much happier close to Mommy or Daddy, can sleep when needed and is safe. Because, no matter what, is is always Mom or Dad that is responsible for baby at someone's house and it is so much work chasing baby around, or trying to hold baby at a non baby-proofed home.  Also, "selfish" and "baby-wearing" shouldn't even be in the same sentence.  That is why I clicked on this, I was intrigued at how the two could even be related.  Don't feel bad at all. 

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#28 of 39 Old 01-06-2011, 09:54 PM
 
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I'm another one who wore my baby to avoid having to pass her around!  My second child was very high needs.  She would let me, DH and my mom hold her.  If I handed her to anyone else she would scream.


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#29 of 39 Old 01-07-2011, 07:12 PM
 
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Listen to your heart of hearts.

It's THEIR problem if somebody has a problem with your doing your best to make your baby girl feel safe, comfortable, and included.

I still wear DS everywhere (15 months) until he wants to get out, and he will let me know without a doubt. I do it because people don't respect babies' personal space and I don't want him manhandled half to death just because ILs want their baby fix. I didn't have him for their enjoyment.

When he was 7 months old it wasn't even an option. You want to hold him? You may sit next to me on the couch and if he looks interested in being with you, knock yourself out. If he's nervous, looking away, fussing, forget it. Maybe later.

It was just easier to set boundaries now and accept that it won't be popular than to feel I hadn't been there for him, that he wanted to feel safe with me and I made him go to someone he didn't know very well. FWIW I don't let people roughhouse with him either, bounce him around like crazy, throw him in the air, etc. He doesn't like it.

And he's turning out to be crazy adventurous, friendly and funny, and very definite about how he wants to be touched, me and dh included. I would love to take credit, but it's probably just the way he is.

Anyway. You knew all along you did the right thing.

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#30 of 39 Old 01-08-2011, 10:11 PM
 
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I too was intrigued by how baby wearing and selfishness could be in the same sentence.

I've seen lots of babies at parties and music festivals where there is drugs and very loud music and thought that it could be selfish to bring one's baby into that type of surrounding...

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