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setting boundaries with sister's newborn


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56 minutes ago, regentrude said:

You may have had babies who were good sleepers, could sleep through noise and commotion, through being touched.

Some of us are not so blessed.

ETA: And for some babies, there is no grey area between sleep and awake. Sleep is when they finally don't cry. Easy to tell.

2dd . . . . she never slept.  she still doesn't sleep.  her college roommates were jealous she'd go to bed after them, and be up before them - and still be bounding around like the energizer bunny!

and if *anyone* so much as looked at her - she'd start screaming.  the ONLY people allowed to touch her were: me, dh, my mother, and a friend whose child I babysat.  that. was. it.!  or she'd scream.

46 minutes ago, Ktgrok said:

I'm guessing that wanting to hold, care for, and dote on infants is hard wired into the species as a survival trait. 

they've found this in young female primates - they have interest in the other babies in the troop.

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I would tell sister to not come over until she was comfortable having her baby around your kids.  It's her right to choose her holds her child, but it is not her right to scold your kids in their own

The baby is 3 weeks old, so your sister is still probably all hormonally wrecked even if it was the most perfect birth ever. I'd try to give her some grace and just go along with whatever she wants. I

Nonsense (in my opinion). No child is going to be damaged by not getting to hold a newborn. 

3 hours ago, Tibbie Dunbar said:

I would speak very frankly (but kindly) to Sis, in the moment next time. If she is telling the toddler and preschooler that they have to leave the room, speak up in a mild tone. "Sis, Billy and Tommy don't have to leave the room." If Sis is shooing and scolding dd6, you intervene, with dd: "Patty, auntie said you may not hold the baby. It's time for you to stop asking." And then say to Sis, "I'm sorry, she is trying to remember." If Sis persists with, "Make her leave the room, she's disturbing the baby!" tell her that you aren't going to do that, the children live here and we will all work on getting along.

 

 

I like this response best to the shushing and noise issue.

Regarding the holding, if there is a close relationship as you say,  I would ask her directly, it seems like you don't want DD6 to hold the baby.  Is there a reason for that we can fix, or is there something I can tell her so she will know when she will be allowed to hold her?  In a few months or whatever? I just want to clear it up so DD6 doesn't keep asking until you are ready.

I find the comments that DD6 is feeling inappropriately "entitled" a little weird.  She is a 6 year old who is super-excited about a new baby very close in her life.  Of course she wants to hold her and touch her.   Yes, she should take no for an answer.  Mom can explain, all moms are different and Auntie doesn't want anyone holding the baby.  I know you are disappointed, but you have to listen to your auntie. 

She is full of love, and yes, I think Auntie is making a mistake by derailing what could be a close relationship by not even wanting her to touch the baby.  Auntie has that right, but there is nothing entitled about a 6yo falling in love with a new little cousin.  She's not going up to strangers and trying to co-op their babies.  This is someone who has been part of her family.  Her behavior seems totally normal to me.  

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51 minutes ago, heartlikealion said:

Re: sickness - I guess I think it’s rude whether or not your hands are clean if you haven’t asked or aren’t super close. I’ve had a waiter touch dd’s feet while she was in an infant carrier in a booth at a restaurant. I didn’t say anything but yeesh some people do not get it. 

 

I get that you feel this way, but honestly I wouldn't even blink over that.  I would 100x rather have someone touch baby's feet than hands.  It doesn't bother me that people feel instinctively drawn to ooh and ahh over babies.  I do expect them to consider germs and cleanliness.  Touching a foot, especially with socks, it pretty harmless to me. 

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38 minutes ago, regentrude said:

Same here. Sure, I'll hold the baby to give mom a break - but it's because I care about my friend, not because I want to touch other people's babies or toddlers.  

 

So I'm not the only one who feels really uncomfortable when people just hand the baby forward while saying "you want to hold her?"  Um, actually, no.?

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1 hour ago, Ktgrok said:

I'm guessing that wanting to hold, care for, and dote on infants is hard wired into the species as a survival trait. 

 

Sure. I think that is particularly why little girls want to hold babies so much. I do believe there is a maternal instinct. But as an adult, I was happy to hold, care for, and dote on my own infants, but I have never felt the need to hold other peoples'.  Maybe I will feel differently if I have grandchildren.  And, I am pretty confident that if I found myself in a situation where a baby needed me to hold and care for him or her, I would do it without a thought. And I am always happy to hold a baby when a mom/dad needs me to. 

ETA: But people offering the baby to me and saying "do you want to hold him/her?" I am just standing there thinking, "no thanks."  I just don't get that. I mean, can't comprehend why people do that.   

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3 minutes ago, goldberry said:

 

So I'm not the only one who feels really uncomfortable when people just hand the baby forward while saying "you want to hold her?"  Um, actually, no.?

I don’t particularly care to hold babies either.  I had a friend I hadn’t seen in years, hand me her sick 10 month old son in a pediatrician’s office one day.   Baby and I locked eyes and I’m pretty sure we both said a silent, ‘WTH is this??’ to each other.  It was very awkward.   

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1 hour ago, Ktgrok said:

I'm guessing that wanting to hold, care for, and dote on infants is hard wired into the species as a survival trait. 

Guess me & mine aren't meant to survive to carry on the species (said jokingly). I think it is genetic in my mom's family to not be thrilled with taking care of other people's babies. My mom worked in a childcare center in her later life and was roundly adored, but she didn't love doing it. She was just good at it. My kids babysit, but they don't love it. When some other teens coo over a new baby, my kids just shrug & do their own thing. We aren't wired this way.

55 minutes ago, heartlikealion said:

I don’t seem to have the urge to hold/touch other people’s kids. I never really have. I was asked to hold a friend’s baby at a baby shower so she could go to her car. I didn’t mind but I wasn’t the type itching to do it, either. 

This is me. Friends * acquaintances pass their kids over to me knowing I can handle them but most don't realize I don't *want* to hold them and I get no joy out of it. In fact, since my m/c, I feel sad when holding someone else's baby. I don't let on, though, since they need a break to deal with one (or three) of their other kids.

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1 hour ago, regentrude said:

According to the OP "the baby was supposed to be sleeping".  What *I* find absurd is people thinking it is fine to wake a sleeping baby just because they want to touch him. As the sleep deprived mom of a non-sleeping baby, I would have gone ballistic if anybody had woken my baby during one of her rare naps just because they wanted to touch her.

I find it rather absurd that people have the compulsion to touch another person's feet and that this urge is considered normal just because it's a baby.

Yeah,  but to me, she said she was supposed to be sleeping, not actually sleeping and I see that differently. Like, New Mom was looking at her watch and going, “Uh, oh. Baby is supposed to be sleeping...” and so then touching her feet is verboten. 

I personally absolutely was not nice about it when my SIL wanted to acually wake up my sleeping baby because *she* wanted to hold him. I had to tell her to back off; I went to a lot of trouble to get his little screaming banshee butt asleep and nobody from The Pope to Santa was waking him up just then. ?

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1 minute ago, Quill said:

Yeah,  but to me, she said she was supposed to be sleeping, not actually sleeping and I see that differently. Like, New Mom was looking at her watch and going, “Uh, oh. Baby is supposed to be sleeping...” and so then touching her feet is verboten. 

I personally absolutely was not nice about it when my SIL wanted to acually wake up my sleeping baby because *she* wanted to hold him. I had to tell her to back off; I went to a lot of trouble to get his little screaming banshee butt asleep and nobody from The Pope to Santa was waking him up just then. ?

 

I see it as mom was trying to get the baby to sleep, or felt that the baby was ready to go to sleep, because of her watch, or because of cues the baby was giving, and didn't want the child, who had already touched the baby's head without permission, to touch the baby at all.  I don't see that as unreasonable.  

I do think that the suggestion above of talking about what to expect, when DD isn't present is helpful.  Then Omishev can talk to her DD about what to expect.  

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OP:  Since you are so close with your sister, could she feel obligated to come and visit you ... even if she doesn't really feel like it?  Starting a visit with an underlying feeling of resentment would make me snappy and then you add in the lack of sleep, the desire for the baby to be asleep at this particular time, new mom hormones and paranoia ... and weeeelllll....

As an alternative to a visit, maybe your families can FaceTime each other?  Then, using the "mute" feature, your children can peek in on the newborn even if the baby is asleep.

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Honestly, if she was snapping at my kids and it was stressful, I'd probably back off on get togethers until baby is a bit more ready to interact with the world or until she is reaching out.  She is still healing and emotions can just be raw 3 weeks in.  Maybe you can go over without kids once a week and help her for a little bit?  

I would just talk to your dd about new mommies being sensitive and baby is small.  I bet she will have a great relationship with this little cousin over time.  In a year when baby is everywhere and making their own messes, your sister will likely be mellower.  Maybe she'll have triplets next?  ?  

I really don't get it.  My kids are the youngest of 9 cousins on DH's side and we played pass the baby at those events assuming everyone was healthy.  The girl cousins loved on our babies.  When baby was very young there was hand washing.   I was never militant about exact nap timing. But we weren't together twice a week either.   On the other hand if she's really trying to get on a schedule, she probably should stay home during the newborn's "nap time".

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The baby's only a month old, and she's a new mom. You need to give her some time. Sooner or later she'll be ready for the baby to have more playtime with the cousins.

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ETA: But people offering the baby to me and saying "do you want to hold him/her?" I am just standing there thinking, "no thanks."  I just don't get that. I mean, can't comprehend why people do that.   

 

 

Their arms hurt and they hope you'll say yes.

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12 minutes ago, Tanaqui said:

<snip>

Their arms hurt and they hope you'll say yes.

LOL.  Then they should say "do you mind holding the baby for a couple of minutes?  My arms hurt."  :-)

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1 hour ago, marbel said:

 

ETA: But people offering the baby to me and saying "do you want to hold him/her?" I am just standing there thinking, "no thanks."  I just don't get that. I mean, can't comprehend why people do that.   


See, I'm the opposite.  I love to hold other people's babies, but I would never presume to ask.  

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3 hours ago, regentrude said:

According to the OP "the baby was supposed to be sleeping".  What *I* find absurd is people thinking it is fine to wake a sleeping baby just because they want to touch him. As the sleep deprived mom of a non-sleeping baby, I would have gone ballistic if anybody had woken my baby during one of her rare naps just because they wanted to touch her.

I find it rather absurd that people have the compulsion to touch another person's feet and that this urge is considered normal just because it's a baby.

Totally this. Most of my babies have been exceedingly hard to get to sleep, and it made my dh and I both crazy how often someone would come up and touch the baby we had just gotten to sleep, or, just as bad, that we were working our tails off trying to get to go to sleep. I think people who have babies that can just be put to sleep in a pack n play in another room probably have no idea what this is like. 

3 hours ago, omishev said:

So maybe some of us have different opinions about what kind of noise/touch babies can sleep through? At 3 weeks there is a lot of gray area between asleep and awake. It was probably my fault for suggesting the feet. DD wasn't allowed to hold her so she was gently stroking her head. Sis didn't like that so I suggested she touch her feet, thinking that would be a safe alternative. I didn't think it would disturb her.

 

3 hours ago, Ktgrok said:

I'm guessing that wanting to hold, care for, and dote on infants is hard wired into the species as a survival trait. 

 I agree, but also feel like some of us are wired with a different survival trait that makes us extra protective of our newborns for whatever reason. I’ve had five babies, and for every single one of them, it makes me want to jump out of my skin when someone else holds my baby. It’s fine with me if it’s my husband, but it really is an overwhelming, visceral feeling. I know that’s not typical, but I also know I’m not the only one. I never had any PPD, though.  Only an overwhelming desire to keep my baby close. 

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New mom gets to decide everything about her baby.  It really does not matter what you let your own children do with their siblings.  Give your sister some space.  As soon as enough time has passed that your sister realizes (probably by some mistake of her own) that her baby is not as fragile as she thinks, she will chill out.  Meanwhile, let her be.  I've never heard that a little girl is entitled to hold someone else's baby.  Pretty sure my kids never held their nieces.

As far as letting the baby sleep, it is very possible your sister is on her very last nerve due to sleep issues.

I had to stay away from my youngest niece for 2 years because of health considerations.  It was sad, but I did what she wished and our relationship is better for it.

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I wonder if sis has trouble being very direct, and feels that she has conveyed through an ample number of hints that she doesn't want 6YO to touch the baby at all at this stage, and doesn't know where to go from here.  She might be waiting for the OP to step in and prevent it, and be frustrated that that is not happening.

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6 hours ago, Quill said:

Yeah, well, I’m a middle-aged woman who is past sugar-coating it, lol! 

The thing bugging me most in the OP was that New Mom doesn’t want the 6yo to touch the baby’s feet. Really? That’s pretty absurd. 

 

She was wanting baby to sleep. Maybe desparately hoping baby would sleep, if only cousin would quit talking to her and touching her. 

4 hours ago, omishev said:

So maybe some of us have different opinions about what kind of noise/touch babies can sleep through? At 3 weeks there is a lot of gray area between asleep and awake. It was probably my fault for suggesting the feet. DD wasn't allowed to hold her so she was gently stroking her head. Sis didn't like that so I suggested she touch her feet, thinking that would be a safe alternative. I didn't think it would disturb her.

 

I don't have an opinion about what kind of noise/touch babies can sleep through in general, I specifically have facts about what kind of noise/touch MY babies could sleep through. It was very hard to get them to sleep, it was very easy to wake them up. So, no, I was not chill with people touching their feet or any part of them if sleep was even a distant possibility. You didn't think it would disturb the baby, but your sister thought, and perhaps knew, differently. Or maybe she was exhausted and just didn't want to take the chance of waking baby further. That is completely legit. 

For the record, I come from a very large extended family and I babysat quite a bit back in the day, so I did not go into motherhood not having any experience with babies. Yes, I know most babies sleep a lot. Mine didn't. I didn't ask for the non-sleeping model, but that's what I got. 

4 hours ago, omishev said:

If you are familiar with Babywise (which I did use, but not THAT strictly), it's always naptime. Newborns "should" only be awake about 45 min max and so feeding, burping and changing takes their entire wake time. Maybe by 6 months she will have a long enough wake time and nurse quickly enough to also have a visit before naptime ?

 

Bwa ha ha ha ha ha ha!! 

 

 

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Forum won't let me edit my other post, weird. 

It's been 3 weeks. I'd have no problem accommodating my sister a good bit longer than that. She just had a baby. I think she's trying to be polite and accommodating on her side. She came over during nap time, knowing your dd is excited and probably figuring that she is old enough to not touch the baby if requested or be too loud. 

This doesn't have to be a thing. Can you (and dd) just be patient with your sis for a few weeks? Give her some grace. See what happens. The baby is three weeks old. It's way too soon to be getting offended and rescinding invites and making it a whole thing. 

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Yeah, well, I’m a middle-aged woman who is past sugar-coating it, lol! 

The thing bugging me most in the OP was that New Mom doesn’t want the 6yo to touch the baby’s feet. Really? That’s pretty absurd. 

 

She was wanting baby to sleep. Maybe desparately hoping baby would sleep, if only cousin would quit talking to her and touching h

Yeah, but I just don’t think this is a very big deal. It’s not that hard to convey that Mama wants baby to go to sleep now. And I say that as a mom who never had those out-like-a-light, sleep-like-a-rock babies. When we were visiting with people and I could see baby needed to go to sleep, I would say so and would be putting the baby to breast. That always cleared a room effectively for me, lol. 

I don’t know. It seems to me that if mom is very concerned that baby needs to go to sleep why is the baby still right in the middle of the goings-on? 

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8 hours ago, regentrude said:

I am puzzled about the title - these are your sister's boundaries, since she has the right to decide who gets to hold her newborn. She is not required to be "chill" and let other children hold her baby. I wonder how your DD developed the expectation that she should be holding her cousin and should ask repeatedly even if she has been told that her aunt does not want her to. 

I sympathize with your sister being worried about sleep, and it would never occur to me that people should wake a sleeping baby just so they can touch it. My baby had colic, I ran on almost no sleep for months, and the minutes the baby actually slept were sacred. 

Sorry if the title doesn't make sense, I didn't want it to be too lengthy.  My sister has never made a blanket statement that DD can't hold the baby. In the hospital it was "when we get home" and once they got home (actually our house, we have not gone to their house) there have been a variety of vague "not right now..." answers so she leaves the door open for hope. I don't think DD has even asked more than once per visit to hold her. We are not going to their house or even asking her to come over, she just comes to my house like she always has. Maybe I just need to ask my sister point blank what her plan is. Does the baby need to be a certain age? Or once the baby is allowed to stay awake for for more than 2 min between feeding and naptime? I would rather have a straight answer so there isn't this cycle of hope and disappointment. I don't even tell DD when my sister is coming over or make any indication that she will be allowed to touch/hold her. 

Let me reiterate that we are not waking the baby up. It does not wake up a NB to touch her. Well, I shouldn't speak for all babies.... it does not wake up THIS NB to touch her. The adults touch her plenty. 

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2 hours ago, kand said:

 

 I agree, but also feel like some of us are wired with a different survival trait that makes us extra protective of our newborns for whatever reason. I’ve had five babies, and for every single one of them, it makes me want to jump out of my skin when someone else holds my baby. It’s fine with me if it’s my husband, but it really is an overwhelming, visceral feeling. I know that’s not typical, but I also know I’m not the only one. I never had any PPD, though.  Only an overwhelming desire to keep my baby close. 

 

I'm this way too. I was inwardly freaking out when my own mother held the new baby. There was no reasoning behind it, it was just a combination of hormones and anxiety. 

It went away around two months, and now I'm the one begging other people to hold the baby so my arms can have a break. She's eleven months old and twenty-five pounds and my arms are SO SORE.

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4 hours ago, marbel said:

 

Sure. I think that is particularly why little girls want to hold babies so much. I do believe there is a maternal instinct. But as an adult, I was happy to hold, care for, and dote on my own infants, but I have never felt the need to hold other peoples'.  Maybe I will feel differently if I have grandchildren.  And, I am pretty confident that if I found myself in a situation where a baby needed me to hold and care for him or her, I would do it without a thought. And I am always happy to hold a baby when a mom/dad needs me to. 

ETA: But people offering the baby to me and saying "do you want to hold him/her?" I am just standing there thinking, "no thanks."  I just don't get that. I mean, can't comprehend why people do that.   

Holding babies does bring joy to a lot of people (probably mostly women- but maybe some men too) When I offer to let someone hold my baby, I am offering to share the joy. To me, the joy of holding an infant is almost indescribable. I never ask to hold someone else's baby unless I am very close to the mom. Very close. When I had my first, there was another mom at church who was always offering to hold him and saying things like "oh, I remember how much I needed someone to hold my baby and give me a break". Um, no. I did not need a break from my baby. If I thought someone would want to hold him because they liked holding babies, I was happy to let them. But I didn't need a break. (Well, with later babies, sometimes I did need to have my hands free to deal with another child). Anyway, I just posted because I think women ask "do you want to hold the baby?" Because they think maybe you do. Just say no thanks if you don't want to. Some people do want to hold the baby, but would never presume to ask. I know this has nothing to do with the OP. 

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3 hours ago, Daria said:


See, I'm the opposite.  I love to hold other people's babies, but I would never presume to ask.  

I never ask either, and it drives me crazy when people ask.  I have seen some young moms reluctantly hand over their baby to some demanding person. This happens at church a lot.

There was a time I asked someone if they wanted me to hold their baby. It was at a wedding and I could see the mom wanted to dance. We are friendly, I've taken care of her kids in the church nursery, so I asked if they wanted me to hold him while they danced. I could see I hadn't overstepped boundaries.  They were so happy to have a few minutes of baby-free fun. So I am not completely against holding babies. ?

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6 hours ago, omishev said:

I just got so much joy out of seeing the joy it brought other people to hold my babies. I thought this was universal. Apparently not.

I liked holding my own, but I was never one to want to hold another person's baby. 

6 hours ago, heartlikealion said:

 

—————-

I don’t seem to have the urge to hold/touch other people’s kids. I never really have. I was asked to hold a friend’s baby at a baby shower so she could go to her car. I didn’t mind but I wasn’t the type itching to do it, either. Not sure I’ve ever really experienced the intense baby fever many women do, either. 

Me either. I will hold your puppy or kitten though. That's probably why I worked in vet medicine instead of human medicine. 

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I've seen a lot of different things over the years with this whole area of holding babies, and the range of people's expectations varies a lot. Some people get really ticked off if their own personal expectation isn't met. There seems to be unwritten rules  or expectation that babies and pregnant lady's bellies are public territory for a lot of people (puppies, too). I guess there's this belief that if something is really cute or appealing, it's alright to touch it. Then they get annoyed when someone tries to stop them. 

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2 hours ago, omishev said:

Sorry if the title doesn't make sense, I didn't want it to be too lengthy.  My sister has never made a blanket statement that DD can't hold the baby. In the hospital it was "when we get home" and once they got home (actually our house, we have not gone to their house) there have been a variety of vague "not right now..." answers so she leaves the door open for hope. I don't think DD has even asked more than once per visit to hold her. We are not going to their house or even asking her to come over, she just comes to my house like she always has. Maybe I just need to ask my sister point blank what her plan is. Does the baby need to be a certain age? Or once the baby is allowed to stay awake for for more than 2 min between feeding and naptime? I would rather have a straight answer so there isn't this cycle of hope and disappointment. I don't even tell DD when my sister is coming over or make any indication that she will be allowed to touch/hold her. 

Let me reiterate that we are not waking the baby up. It does not wake up a NB to touch her. Well, I shouldn't speak for all babies.... it does not wake up THIS NB to touch her. The adults touch her plenty. 

It sounds to me that your sister is reacting differently than you expected her to act, and differently than you have chosen to act with your own children.  I can see how that is a bit surprising to you, but it seems like the biggest problem right now is that you just don't understand what the situation is.  Is she generally OK with adults holding or touching the baby?  Is it just children that she isn't OK with?  If you are close, I would ask her what her feelings are about this, really trying to learn and find out what is behind it.  I know of pediatricians who tell mothers not to let children hold infants.  I know of new mothers that are just stressed out or tired and not realize how they are coming across.  I know of new mothers who are just extremely protective.  Once you learn what the situation is, you might be able to find something that would put her mind to ease, but you may just have to accept that the choice is hers to make and show respect for her parenting decisions as you would like her to show respect for yours, even when they differ.

In the meantime, I would work on finding some ways for you daughter to "help" and feel some connection if she is excited about the baby.   Maybe she can clean the area where the baby will lie down, be a helper and bring the new mother a glass of water, arrange photos in a special baby book, or some other project.

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9 hours ago, hippiemamato3 said:

We  had a very similar situation when our nephew was born. Our DS was 6 at the time and had previously been the apple of his uncle's eye. Suddenly he was too loud, too everything...it really did damage to their relationship, long after we pointed out the problem and the uncle (sort of)  tried to patch things up. I should also say that this DS is not loud, not crazy, and was completely respectful. 

This. 100% this. And just because she's 6 doesn't mean that her feelings aren't valid and worthy of notice. If this was my sister, I'd be telling her that we're taking a break because DD is hurt. And MY child's feelings are important too. 

We had a situation like that too, it was really unfortunate.  I also thought that since the family member had spent to much time around my kids that they would be more relaxed. I was wrong. Very. Very. Wrong. 

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9 hours ago, omishev said:

So maybe some of us have different opinions about what kind of noise/touch babies can sleep through? At 3 weeks there is a lot of gray area between asleep and awake. It was probably my fault for suggesting the feet. DD wasn't allowed to hold her so she was gently stroking her head. Sis didn't like that so I suggested she touch her feet, thinking that would be a safe alternative. I didn't think it would disturb her.

I'd have told dd to go play because the baby was sleeping, and that when the baby woke up she could make faces with her and whatnot. I would *not* have allowed her to touch a sleeping baby anywhere on its body, especially after the baby's mother had said not to touch the baby's head.

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I am with your sister. I never ever let other people's kids hold any of my new tiny babies. AND I didn't let most adults hold them either. I would not be happy with a 6 year old touching the head etc. the baby is NOT A DOLL.

 For my own kids to hold a younger sibling when they were 3 weeks old they would have had to go scrub their hands and be seated while the infant was carefully placed in their lap, with guidance on positioning of their hands to hold the baby. THEY ARE NOT DOLLS

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15 hours ago, Tibbie Dunbar said:

 

Did you know it wouldn't make your baby sick if a person with dirty hands touched her feet? 

Some of this is on parents to be adults. Decide what you care about it, and decide how to respond; don't just go through life having no idea how to address things. DH could have turned to the boy and kindly but firmly said, "Don't touch baby. Thank you." Or you could have traded places, putting yourself between the little boy and dh who was holding baby.

 

one of my babies would stick his whole foot into his mouth -  regularly.

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11 hours ago, omishev said:

Sorry if the title doesn't make sense, I didn't want it to be too lengthy.  My sister has never made a blanket statement that DD can't hold the baby. In the hospital it was "when we get home" and once they got home (actually our house, we have not gone to their house) there have been a variety of vague "not right now..." answers so she leaves the door open for hope. I don't think DD has even asked more than once per visit to hold her. We are not going to their house or even asking her to come over, she just comes to my house like she always has. Maybe I just need to ask my sister point blank what her plan is. Does the baby need to be a certain age? Or once the baby is allowed to stay awake for for more than 2 min between feeding and naptime? I would rather have a straight answer so there isn't this cycle of hope and disappointment. I don't even tell DD when my sister is coming over or make any indication that she will be allowed to touch/hold her. 

Let me reiterate that we are not waking the baby up. It does not wake up a NB to touch her. Well, I shouldn't speak for all babies.... it does not wake up THIS NB to touch her. The adults touch her plenty. 

So that (the bolded) makes me think you sister doesn't have an idea yet of when she will feel comfortable having your daughter hold the baby; all she knows is - it's not now.  So I don't know if you asked her what her plan is, if she could even answer.  And I don't know, but I think when my baby was 3 weeks old if someone had asked me what the plan was for their child to hold him, I'd have felt angry or at least frustrated. Like, why do I need to figure out now at what point I'll let your kid hold my baby?  Even beloved family members. 

I think I would tell the 6-year-old that her aunt is still getting used to the baby and doesn't know yet when she'll feel comfortable letting her hold him. (I think I read that the baby is a boy?) And then sometime when you are alone with your sister (or at least your kids are not around) tell her how excited your daughter still is about the baby, and that whenever she (your sister) is ready to let her (your daughter) hold him, she will be very excited.  In the  meantime, I agree with the suggestion to give the 6-year-old some tasks related to baby care that can keep her involved without having her actually holding the baby.

Edited by marbel
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I didn't let anybody hold my first-born.  Probably not for 3 months.   I was just (insanely, jealously) protective of him.  That eventually wore off and I've been much better with the other kids- better at suppressing my desire to rip my baby out of other people's arms, not actually better at not feeling that way.  

I suggest you prepare dd by managing her expectations before sis arrives.  It is irrelevant whether or not she can safely hold a baby.  

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Just to support OP, it is normal in my family culture for cousins to hold newborns as well. As soon as the cousins met my younger, at 24 hours old, they got to hold her. But - with no prompting on my part my sister had them wash hands, put on a clean shirt, and sit on the couch cross legged (large couch) with a pillow on their lap to lay the baby on. So really, the baby was laying on a pillow, not their arms. And then an adult (my mom or sister, forget who), was RIGHT THERE to make sure the baby was okay. 

They only held her for maybe 15 seconds each, but they were so excited, and it was adorable. 

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OP, I think talking with your sister directly is a good idea--let her know how excited your dd was, how disappointed she is when rejected, and ask when and under what circumstances your sister might be okay with her touching and/or holding the baby. Let her know you will respect her rules, you would just like to be able to help your dd know what to expect and what the rules are so she will not keep facing disappointment.

I don't think it is at all surprising that she is not as chill as you anticipated--it is 100% normal for a new mom to be protective of her baby. I had always considered myself to be a laid back non-worrier--and then I had kids and everything changed. She is feeling protective of her baby just as you are feeling protective of your 6 year old--except hers is amplified by post birth hormones. That protectiveness isn't entirely rational and can take some extreme forms at times, but it is a normal thing for a mom to experience.

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58 minutes ago, HeighHo said:

Kindly saying:  Your sis won't be comfortable until your dd can either follow instructions or pick up on nonverbal cues.   Until then, she will be seen as too impulsive and not possessing the skill of respecting other people's needs.  

Sis wants baby not overstimulated at this age, since she knows the nervous system is still developing.  People need to respect that. Sometimes they forget that newborns hear very well - I had people in my extended family tell me they didnt, when any observation showed they were responding to sounds like car door in the driveway.  The young cousins who had never been taught an indoor voice or a gentle touch were too much, even without the poking, as were the hearing impaired seniors... the young babies would go into sensory overload from all the jarring sensations.  One of mine even rolled over several months before the expected early range of rolling over because he was desperate to get away from the approaching banshee aunt, as he heard her as she was walking up the sidewalk yakking (I rescued him; we had already realized Auntie doesn't understand nonverbal body cues nor can she modulate her touch or voice).  Her philosophy was just let the baby scream it out, he'll get used to me.  That's not how it works with babies who aren't at a certain point neurologically, and it certainly does not work for feeding. It drove auntie insane that she couldn't hold the babies, while her dh could - he's the type babies accept and instantly fall asleep on the shoulder.  He understood babies. Auntie was unable to learn from him.  One of mine agreed only to be picked up by calm men and mom and even at 3 was stressed by a sitter who would roil the atmosphere emotionally.  You've only had four visits. I'd advise chill, keep a calm atmosphere, let mom & baby continue to bond, and when she and baby are ready, mom will invite your dd. Nothing wrong with waiting for an invite.

 

this.   dudeling was hooked up to monitors - absolutely NO outward sign he heard or was reacting to auditory stimuli - but every single time, his heart rate and breathing went nuts and set off his alarms.  they weren't just "slightly raised" - they were VERY raised!  every. single. time.

Edited by gardenmom5
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I am a baby fanatic. I want to hold all the babies.  It’s my job to read and respect moms’ cues though, regardless of what I think about them. 

Im not a fan of small kids holding newborns. My own kids all got their photo ops with their new siblings, but that was about it. Even with my biggest age spans, I preferred waiting until the babies were sturdier. (And they still had their share of minor accidents.) I still get nervous seeing my teens carry babies. It’s not like replacing a friend’s phone if you break it!

There is nothing bad about not wanting little kids to hold babies, but I’m sure it’s way awkward for a mom who knows the other party will be offended by that. Don’t keep putting her in the position of trying to protect your feelings. She’s got enough to deal with. 

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On 8/4/2018 at 10:09 AM, Paige said:

The baby is 3 weeks old, so your sister is still probably all hormonally wrecked even if it was the most perfect birth ever. I'd try to give her some grace and just go along with whatever she wants. If she's still acting like this when the baby is 6months old, then maybe it'd be worth saying something, but right now I'd let it go. 

You might want to ask your sister if she wants some space for a while because it seems like your kids are stressing her out. 

I agree 100 % w/ Paige. Three weeks is young -- my twins weren't entirely "awake" really until four weeks. Was the baby a preemie? Sorry if you've already said.

Alley

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I am one who did not have kids holding my babies.  I wasn't comfortable with it, really didn't see a reason I needed to be.  I might do a photo with the little one sitting on the couch with support holding the baby, but that would be my limit.

I am sorry you and your dd are disappointed, and I completely understand her desire.  I would have wanted to hold the baby at her age, too!  But I think unless and until your sister wants it to happen, it should be off the table.  I would tell mine "I know baby is cute and you'd like to hold him, but Auntie prefers only adults hold him so we aren't going to pester her.  Maybe one day when he is older she will be more comfortable with it."

And honestly if my sister had nudged me because I wouldn't let her 6 year old hold my baby, I would have been a hormonal crankpot, but your sister may be of a gentler nature!

As far as keeping the kids silent whenever baby is around, that's her issue.  Kids are going to make noise.  I would certainly expect them not to yell and startle the baby, but if she wants complete silence, she can't have the baby around other kids.  

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9 hours ago, Melissa in Australia said:

I am with your sister. I never ever let other people's kids hold any of my new tiny babies. AND I didn't let most adults hold them either. I would not be happy with a 6 year old touching the head etc. the baby is NOT A DOLL.

 For my own kids to hold a younger sibling when they were 3 weeks old they would have had to go scrub their hands and be seated while the infant was carefully placed in their lap, with guidance on positioning of their hands to hold the baby. THEY ARE NOT DOLLS

 

Again, this is not a random child or adult, this is a close relative who the mom has been around at least weekly apparently for many years.  There's nothing wrong with putting parameters on it like you describe.  But a 6 year old very close cousin touching a baby's head is not a horrible thing or treating a baby like a doll.

Sorry, I agree with OP.  You (and the auntie) have every right to that behavior, but no, I don't think it's either normal or healthy in the family situation described (close family who know each other well, are around each other often, neurotypical 6 year old, etc.)

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I know the OP doesn’t enjoy dealing with a disappointed 6-year-old, but cutting a new mom from regular family functions because of it seems harsh. At three weeks, she’s exhausted and wants the baby to stay asleep when it’s sleeping. She deserves to have her parenting supported by her family. A kindergartener has no claim to jostle someone’s newborn even if it visits her home. Even if the child is calm with the baby, the situation puts the new mother on edge for some reason and now is not the time to stress her out. Dd’ll get over the disappointment and eventually the new mom will be grateful that the child wants to hang out with her baby. ‘Setting boundaries’ while your sister is post partem with her first child is a BAD idea. The 6-year-old’s behavior issues are not hers to solve OR worth damaging your relationship with your sister. 

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8 minutes ago, KungFuPanda said:

I know the OP doesn’t enjoy dealing with a disappointed 6-year-old, but cutting a new mom from regular family functions because of it seems harsh. At three weeks, she’s exhausted and wants the baby to stay asleep when it’s sleeping. She deserves to have her parenting supported by her family. A kindergartener has no claim to jostle someone’s newborn even if it visits her home. Even if the child is calm with the baby, the situation puts the new mother on edge for some reason and now is not the time to stress her out. Dd’ll get over the disappointment and eventually the new mom will be grateful that the child wants to hang out with her baby. ‘Setting boundaries’ while your sister is post partem with her first child is a BAD idea. The 6-year-old’s behavior issues are not hers to solve OR worth damaging your relationship with your sister. 

 

If she's that frazzled she really needs to be at HER home with family coming to visit HER, not baby. It's a heck of a lot more work to leave the home with baby to seek assistance and support than to allow the help to come to you.

Edited by Sneezyone
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