Mothering Forum banner

Stranger Anxiety - how to tell people w/out being rude!

602 Views 9 Replies 10 Participants Last post by  BurgundyElephant
My babe is going through some major stranger anxiety. My question do I explain this to people before they get in his face and scare the heck out of him? He's in the pouch a lot, but I've found that actually invites people to come *closer.* It seems like if they come in more than 3 feet away my babe gets very uncomfortable. If someone new talks to him he cries.
I know people are just being friendly, and they get upset because they've upset my babe. So...what's the politest and easiest way to say, "Back off...don't speak to him...let him look at you for awhile first!" Thanks!
See less See more
1 - 10 of 10 Posts
DD never went through a classic stranger anxiety phase, but she was and still is cautious about new people and situations.

I just keep her close to me (anticipating a need to pick her up), and if someone gets too close (asks to hold her or whatever) I take a clear step backwards, smile, and say "give her a minute to get to know you." Since I'm holding her, I can keep the physical distance DD needs to be comfortable.

Have I offended some people? Probably. I've never had anyone make a nasty comment, though I have had some people get all "oh, but babies love me!" Sure, I'm sure she'll love you - later.

And really, I'd rather offend a stranger or even family, than set DD off screaming and clinging to mama because someone rushed her.
I always tell people my son needs a minute to look around. He still has a lot of anxieties when it comes to big crowds. I just tell them he gets nervous an has stranger anxiety. If your babe is in a pouch couldn't you pull it up a little an babe closer an then explan quickly. I dont know if that helps. I have always just held him close an told people what was what before they came to close. I would even turn my son away from really persistent people.
KC sounds just like I do with ds
I do similar things as pp mentioned. I try and be proactive. Other words/phrases I use are

..."He gets overstimulated very quickly if he's not allowed to absorb new environments." (works well at family gatherings...and dh and I have loud families...and ds does get easily overstimulated there)

..."Oops! Better give him a minute to figure you out first." (for relatives we don't see often)

..."He's coming down off a fussy streak, let's give him a minute."

I personally think that people who insist on getting in a babe's face, or, even worse, insist on holding a screaming baby when the baby clearly only wants to be close to its mother, are very selfish, and I am trying to forgive myself for being rude to them.

I was just going to post about this myself! Today a stranger walked right up and held DD's hand. It didn't actually upset DD but it pissed me off! I mean how would an adult feel if someone they didn't know suddenly reached out and held their hand? Pretty freaking weird, I think. I know this stranger didn't have bad intentions, she just had "must touch cute baby" syndrom... but I don't want strangers touching my daughter and I need help figuing out how to prevent it, so I'm finding this thread helpful. Sorry for the vent/thread hijack and thanks for all the good suggestions.
ds2 (2.5) is like that. i just strait tell them, he does not like to be touched by strangers. if it is family i tell them he is in a mood, to give him a bit to warm up. ds1 (5) is not, so i try to redirect to him. sorry ds2 doesn't like to talk to people he doesn't know, but ds1 here loves everybody lol. seems to work w/o being to rude
See less See more
I love how people feel like babies are the public's property. Not really. Joaquin never went through stranger anxiety until very recently when we went back to my hometown and he was surrounded by new places and faces. Usually I tell people just to give him a second to see you and feel your vibe out and then he'll give them a smile. People seem to forget that babies are people too and that they're cautious of new people too!
I'm surprised that people come near the pouch. But either way, with people grabbing at hands and such, I ask them not to touch, and explain that the baby puts her hands in her mouth. (I also carry Purell.) If they come close to the pouch, I might blurt out "She has a cold."


i've had people come up to me and actually grab at the pouch to pull it open to see my dd - TOTAL STRANGERS, without any warning whatsoever, like, standing in line at the grocery store. i have taken a step back and said, 'she's preemie, so her immune system is not too strong yet. we prefer to keep her a little protected right now.' my dh on the other hand has growled and barked at people - not literally of course - but he has no problem saying 'back off.' or 'don't touch my baby.'

i am polite but firm and if they want to be offended, well, i'll never see them again, so who cares. conversely, i had a woman for the first time ever ask me the other day, 'do you mind if i touch her hand?' and i thought that was so nice. i just said, 'as long as you haven't been sick recently, sure, go ahead.' my dd doesn't seem to mind strangers though, but if she ever does, i think what the pp's have suggested is all great advice.
I keep a blanket (very lightweight fleece) draped over my carrier when the baby is in it. Sometimes I'll tie it in the back (on my back) so it stays and I can nurse while walking. I'm SHOCKED at how many people try to pull up the blanket to see the baby underneath. I had one guy ask me if I was stealing.
Don't touch the baby!!!
See less See more
1 - 10 of 10 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.