The Scoop: Baby at Church for the First Time

Monday, October 26, 2009

I thought that by now I’d be used to it but… taking the Little Prince to church is still overwhelming. I know God knew what He was doing when He gave us this gift in the Spring, it’s up to me to make through all the adjustments with grace.
We live far away from family so the church family is our family. I chose to put my baby in the church nursery as soon as the doctor gave me the okay at 6 weeks because having him among the hundreds that go to church with us would be more overwhelming. I also sing, so I can’t hold the baby and lead worship in front of such large congregation. I’ve done it in front of a small congregation before, it was actually nice. The top reason why I get overwhelmed is that everyone wants to touch my baby. I hear that this goes away but thus far the interest in baby touching is still pretty high.
During flu season, most new moms are concerned about health and hygiene. I’m not only going to get my flu shot (as soon as it is available) but I am trying my best to make sure that we are not around sick people so we won’t get sick ourselves.
We do believe God is a healer and at the same time we believe that God has given us wisdom to stay away from contamination.
This is what I’ve learned about taking a new baby to church:

Go back to church when you are ready. Most moms are not ready the Sunday after having a baby. The important thing is that you feel prepared for the task.
It's possible to avoid having hundreds os hands touching your brand new baby. If like me you don’t have family to help you care for the baby, here are a few tips to enjoy worship and avoid people being hands on:
a. arrive late and leave early – most people won’t ignore the order of service to come touch your baby;
b. keep your baby in the car seat because most people won’t reach down to touch the baby.
c. I’ve used a sling but someone reached down and kissed my baby in his mouth that way. I was mad but I was told this is the worse thing that could have happened.
d. I have a friend who had her husband put on his baby carrier and this way he was the baby police – my husband plays and sings so we couldn’t use this approach which is highly effective.
Mobile Sanitation Station. I heard that you should walk around with a hand sanitizer so people can use that in case they want to touch the baby. I will probably use that this winter or with the next baby we have.

My experiences have also taught me lots of what not to do towards other moms:
• I don’t touch other babies unless I ask the mother if she’s okay and of course, my hands are clean;
• I never, never, ever touch a woman’s pregnant belly. I might give her a hug but I stay away from the belly. I can’t stand when people do that to me. I find it quite disrespectful actually.
• When there are newborns at our church I usually stay away until the crowds disperse after a few months. I don’t want to add to the pressure in case the mom is feeling overwhelmed as I once was. I try to take a good look at photos online in case we haven’t been to the hospital or home for a visit.

Worshipping is awesome. Dealing with the people is tricky. Most people mean well I’m sure but your preferences and desires as a mom should be respected. After all, you are the one responsible for the well being of this child who’s a gift from God.

Last but not least, this is what Fall looks like around here: