Walking through the grocery store with my preemie in my ring sling avoiding eye contact. It never fails some lady will walk up and in that baby voice ask, “Aw, how old is he?? He’s so tiny!” They may even try to get in our bubble and touch him. I struggle with this and always begin to over-explain myself, as I back up and create space. Sometimes they’ll even chime in with their story about their 6lb 37-week preemie and how they understand. Because you know 6lbs is close to 3lbs. I know it’s ultimately innocent but…
If you don’t know the mother please do not interrupt her shopping trip to ask trivial questions. Most preemies struggle with weight gain and you pointing out how tiny the baby is, only makes mom worry more. That mom may have just been jumping for joy because baby finally took an extra ounce, or just found out that baby is going to need a feeding tube. You don’t know the babies story or the mothers struggle so please just keep walking.
If you’re not the baby’s mother, then don’t even think about touching that baby without asking first. Not just preemies but babies immune systems, in general, are fragile.
There is absolutely no reason for you to expose the baby to more germs for your own pleasure. This goes for everyone, family, and friends. Yes, even you grandparents, go wash your hands and then ask mom if it’s ok to hold the baby, you have no idea what kind of day they may have had, some days baby just needs to snuggle with mom or nap a little longer before the visiting and pass the baby games start.
Hell, I make my 7-year-old wash his hands after school every day before coming near his brother. Have some courtesy. Something as small as a cold from your, “it’s just allergies” can land that baby in the ICU. Trust me I would know because we were just there for four days.
So, the next time you see a tiny baby, please just admire quietly from afar and let mom get on with her shopping trip.