As a new mom, I didn't let anyone hold my baby. It’s not that I didn’t trust people, I just didn't want to miss a single moment with her. So when people asked if they could hold her I said no, then made up some excuse about flu season or whatever. But I changed my tune after I had my second baby. As a mom of two I quickly learned that there are definitely times when you should let someone hold the baby.
Being a new mom is exhausting, emotionally taxing, and, frankly, a lot harder than anyone usually imagines. So letting someone else hold your baby once in a while doesn’t make you a bad mom; it makes you a smart mom. You have to take care of yourself before you take care of anyone else, and you can't take care of yourself if you're constantly holding another human being.
So when you’re completely exhausted and have been up all night with a baby, who will only sleep in your arms or on your chest, let someone else take over. When you need a shower or want to poop by yourself, hand the baby to someone else. And if your partner has been gone all day, and you just need a break without someone touching you, give the baby to your partner and go do you.
Trust me when I say it's impossible to enjoy every second of motherhood if you don't take little breaks from motherhood, too. So please feel free to let someone else hold your baby for a while, and especially in the following circumstances:
When You're Exhausted
The level of exhaustion I felt in the months following childbirth was ridiculous. As a previously child-free person, I had no idea what "tired" really was. Looking back, I wish I had taken people up on their offers to hold my baby so I could get more rest and have a chance to recover from pregnancy, labor, and delivery.
When You Need To Poop
I’ve made a lot of sacrifices as a mother — some willingly and some by necessity. One of those sacrifices has been, sadly, my solo-time in the bathroom. It took me entirely too long to learn that, yes, it's OK to set my baby down or hand her to someone else instead of holding her while I'm sitting on the toilet.
When Your Partner Has Been MIA All Day Long
I loved maternity leave. I loved being able to spend the whole day snuggling with my baby. I also loved it when my husband walked through the door, and I could hand him our baby over to him and catch a moment to breathe. I needed time for me to be me, and he deserved some baby snuggles, too.
When You Need A Shower
There were times, as a new mom, when I let showering completely fall off my to do list. On the bright side, I was able to determine just how many days my hair could look reasonably good with just dry shampoo holding things together. This life choice also made me appreciate every shower like it was a tropical vacation. But, honestly, I really benefited from asking for help, even and especially when "asking for help meant someone else holding my baby so I could finally take a shower.
When You've Been Up All Night
My youngest loved to be held, and I happily accommodated. If having her in my arms meant she would go the hell back to sleep, I was willing to pace the hallways and stay up half the night. But that accommodation cost me hours upon hours of sleep; sleep I desperately needed. I wish I had let somebody hold her for me, at least for a little while, so I could have gotten more sleep when I was postpartum.
When The Baby Poops
I got to the point when I could see the tell-tale signs of my baby's impending poop. There's no better time to ask your partner or babysitter to hold the baby, than when they are about to go number two.
When You Need A Break
As a new mom, I would end most days feeling so over being touched — even by my baby. I needed a break, even if only for a few minutes. I advise any new mom feeling touched out to ask her partner, mom, or mom friends to hold her baby for a while.
When You're Taking Paid Medication
There’s absolutely no shame in taking the pain medications your doctor prescribed after childbirth, if you need them. Recovering from childbirth is no joke. However, there’s also no shame in letting somebody else hold the baby if you feel too loopy or tired to do so safely, especially while taking those medications. It doesn't make you a bad mom to ask your partner — or a nurse at the hospital — to hold your baby.
When You're Hungry
While many moms totally master the ability to eat while holding their baby, trust me when I say it’s a lot less messy to hand the baby off to someone else while you eat a burrito, lest you drip sour cream on their precious little head. Plus, that way you don't have to share your food.
When You Have To Work
Going back to work after maternity leave was so hard. Equally hard, but necessary, was finding a child care provider I could trust to snuggle my baby while her mama was hard at work. But there's nothing wrong with handing over that little one to someone you trust so you can go back to work.
When A Person Has Been Vaccinated
Yes, please feel free to let other people hold your baby... but only if those people are vaccinated. Your baby needs you to protect them, especially if they aren't old enough to be immunized themselves or if they can't be vaccinated for medical reasons. Don’t feel ashamed to ask people about their vaccination status before you let them hold your little one, and to set boundaries for people asking to hold your baby so you can keep your little one safe.