Monday, November 8, 2010

Seriously, back away from my child!!

I have learned recently that people just do not understand what it's like to have a baby (in my case 2) in the hospital for almost 4 months. I've have Mimi home for a little over a month and I've taken her out to the park and supermarket. We always go before school and work rush-hour, but that doesn't mean we're the only ones in the store. I can't believe how many people are eager to come so near and sometimes touch her! I don't understand it. They see how tiny she is and can pass for a 2 week old newborn, so why would you get so close? I always explain that she's small for her age because she was born 3 months early. You would think that people would back off, but no they move in with even more interest. I don't mind answering questions because many people don't know anyone who had a preemie so early and it promotes awareness. But logically speaking, if you know the child was born 3 months early and was hospitalized, wouldn't you also know that the baby is fragile and you should keep your distance? Some may argue, "Well if the baby is that fragile, then maybe you should stay home". I'm sorry, but just because I have a baby doesn't everyone a free pass to breathe on her. I know babies are cute and bring smiles to everyone's faces, but your a complete stranger with germs and she's an infant who hasn't gotten all her shots yet. Think before you leap, right?

To help with keeping people at a distance I bought a car seat cover that has a mesh net and a solid cover to block the sun, wind, and germy strangers. Today, I went to the post office to mail a package. I took the solid cover off while we were inside and left the mesh cover over her. While I was writing the addresses down I heard "She's so cute!" from behind me. I couldn't believe this lady almost had her nose pressed up against the net to see Mimi. Really, are you kidding me? In explaining that Mimi was a preemie I said "...that's why I have the cover to keep people away from her." She sure did back up then! Next, we went over to the supermarket. This time I left the solid cover over her. Sure enough at check out a lady came up to us and tried to look at Mimi though the little bit of mesh that was left uncovered to allow air into the car seat. You could tell that she wanted me to lift the solid cover so that she could get a better look, but I did no such thing. I said my usual explanation and rolled away before she could get any other ideas. Unbelievable.

I bought the car seat cover to keep Mimi safer at the airport because it's such a crowded place. Now I'm worried that it won't be enough. Do I need to put a sign on the seat too?!?! This is one reason why I'm so happy that the March of Dimes is promoting Prematurity Awareness Month. Making others aware of the challenges babies, preemie and full-term alike, face outside of the womb is very important. We all have to do our part to keep our little ones healthy. So, when you see a car seat, with out without a cover, keep your distance knowing that taking a peek from 5 feet away is helping to keep that baby healthy because you don't know if that baby is a 28 week old preemie who fought to breathe and stay alive like my bundles of joy.


  1. There is only one way to handle people who do not think. I'm certain they mean well, but people don't think. You must simply tell them, "If you don't mind, please keep your distance. We are dealing with a few things. Thanks so much." Your child will still be cute - and safe, even if they don't like it. It's your child!!

  2. As a mom of a 2 year old preemie, I can tell you I finally just had to really put my foot down when it came to him. My friends and family understood, but it's the strangers out there that just don't. Even newborns are fragile in their first few months - they shouldn't be touched a lot either, but preemies more so. I rarely took PArker out the first several months he was home, and when I did, I had a sign on his car seat that looked like a stop sign that said, do not touch or don't get too close or something of that nature. I also always kept the "hood" of his seat up, and a blanket covering him.

    I was not afraid to say, listen, I need you to please back up my. My son is a preemie and has a lowered immune system, I'd be happy to let you have a peek, but from a distance.

    Believe it or not, even if yu said the word preemie and early, people don't get it. It's really kinda dumb...

    Hang in there...I does get easier. Def. stand up for your Mimi, you have to!

    If you ever need to talk, please feel free to shoot me an email or come by my blog...

    Denise :)

  3. I have a whole other take on things. Of course, my child was not a preemie, so my perspective is I'm sure different for that reason, too. I want everyone to touch Lydia, since the day she was born. I took her everywhere during the busiest times. When I know someone is sick, I do not avoid that person. I have never asked anyone to wash their hands around her. The only way to build an immune system is through exposure. A lot of people are into keeping a very sterile environment by pouring bleach on things, using antibacterial stuff, etc. I avoid all of that. The chemicals are far more damaging (usually) than building the antibodies naturally. I like the Healthy Child, Healthy World website. Great resource! They have 5 steps to creating a healthier environment for your child. Here's the link: There's only so much we can control, obviously, but when you cover up your child in public, you also have to remember that you are reducing her opportunity to learn from her environment. She's unable to see people and places that will help her to grow cognitively. Again, I know my ideas aren't the norm (at least not in the U.S.) but it's a different perspective on things :-)

  4. People used to walk up to Josh all of the time when he was a baby. It drove me crazy. He wore glasses at 4 months old and people would treat me like I did something wrong and try to pick him up as if they were protecting him from me. They used to ask what is wrong with him. I used to tell them about 1p to educate them. Eventually, my answer became nothing is wrong with him. What is wrong with you? I do tell people about his disability if they seem sincere. Now that he is older and a little crazy (lol) people tend to keep their distance.

  5. Thanks for following me, I'm already following you.

    I understand what you mean. When I first had my son 14 years ago, he wasn't a preemie, but I still didn't like anyone coming close to my new born. In your case your baby is a lot more fragile, prone to getting sick easily. Whenever I see some one with a new baby or a preemie I always ask permission to come close. Unfortunately not everyone thinks like that. I'm happy that your were able to come up with a solution to your problem, the baby car seat with the mesh cover is a great idea.

  6. Follow-up: So I was at Macy's today with Lydia, and this saleswoman was being too touchy w/her, poking, pinching, squeezing her...I was like "Lydia, say BYE!" I don't get too many crazies, but they are out there unfortunately...

  7. Hi There!
    I'm a mom to a former 28 weeker, now 3.
    My son spent 5 months in the NICU and when he came home we didn't take him out for MONTHS, literally...we only took him out to go to doctor appointments or my parents house..and when we had people over, therapist, thats about it, we had hand sanitizers everywhere. So many people don't get "premature" and just think like you said, its a newborn, and healthy. I guess its one of those things you just to grip your teeth and bare it, since you are taking the baby out...
    Anyways! I am going to follow you on Twitter, hopefully we can talk about our little ones!

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  9. I never had a preemie, but I still completely understand. Fortunately my now 15-month-old has this leave me alone stare that he gives all strangers, which is a good thing because they all want to come touch his curls.

    When my oldest son was little I constantly had to fight people off too, most often because they had to go take a closer look to make sure he was mine, since I was as light as he was dark.

    It will get easier, but its your right to keep those strangers away. I love that sign Deni had. Maybe you should find one of those.