Babies: 6 - 9 Months

Baby cries when grandparents hold

katb2021katb2021 member
edited December 2022 in Babies: 6 - 9 Months
Grandparents came to see the baby only several times since baby was born. Now every time they come and try to hold her, she screams , cries because she does not know who they are. I told my husband to wait till she gets used to them before they hold her. He got upset and told me they r grandparents. I said she does not know that. What am I suppose to let them hold her and have her scream and cry to keep the grandparents and husband happy??? 

Re: Baby cries when grandparents hold

  • I’d suggest having them all do an activity together with your daughter, and if that is still overwhelming have them do it one at a time. 

    Let her sit in you or your husbands lap with grandparents on either side and have one of them read a book to her. 

    My son is seven months old and loves to knock over our block towers in the floor. Have her grandparents just sit/lay in the floor while she plays and talk to her, narrate what she’s doing, or tell a story about who they are (“I’m your grandmother! Your daddy is my baby just like you are his baby! Isn’t that cool?”) stuff like that. 

    They can do diaper changes and feedings if she takes bottles. My son is formula fed so my mom always hijacks feedings when she’s over. 

    My parents see him a lot but my husband’s parents are 800 miles away so we only see them maybe two or three times a year. To get him used to them again we always have them feed him while we are visiting. He loves the little Gerber Puffs star things and his grandmother makes sure to be around during snack time to help him pick them up and stuff. 

    If you feel comfortable with a little screen time using FaceTime to connect is also a good way to get him used to their voices and faces. 

    I made a book with pictures from everyone in our family using a blank board book from Amazon. It has his grandparents, aunts, uncles, and siblings (his siblings are both adults and live in another state so they don’t get to see him much). I glued pictures into the book with each person’s name on the pages and we just talk about the pictures (“see grandma? She has brown hair and a biiiiiiig smile!”) search “blank board book” on Amazon. I got the 8x10 one but they have many sizes. 

    In response to your husband’s initial instinct to let her cry it out with her grandparents, maybe try to explain that having a negative reaction is normal but being forced to stay uncomfortable just reinforces the concept that the person who makes her uncomfortable is bad. She will have a negative reaction each time because she will remember the bad feelings she had last time. There was a study where they showed a boy (little Albert) a rat and he was interested in it. He was happy. Then they made a startling sound every time little Albert saw the rat and it would scare him and make him cry. Eventually he cried just seeing the rat. Pairing the rat and the sound made him think the rat was scary. Pairing her grandparents to crying and being scared will just reinforce the idea that her grandparents are scary. 
  • Thank u so much for your recommendation. That’s what I thought about the crying part. Will try what you recommended. 
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  • It’s called stranger danger and is a sign your baby is developing very normally! These are good boundaries to have! Ours did the same thing with grandpa but he just continued to hold, feed and play with her and after a while she calmed down
  • As an adult survivor of long-term childhood sexual abuse, I do not recommend forcing your daughter to be held by anyone that she clearly does not want. Her crying is a natural instinct which should be preserved.

    While raising my two daughters, I had to figure out how to best protect them from sexual abuse without actually discussing sexual abuse. The one thing that I centered on was that it felt “icky” the first time I was abused. I was too young to understand what was happening or why it felt icky; I just knew it felt wrong. So I taught my daughters, and will also teach my granddaughter whom I’m now raising, to listen to their instincts, and when any touch feels icky, say no (and if it the person continued, they were to SCREAM until it stopped).

    Our children are born with certain instincts for their protection. These needs to be honored. Maybe explaining this to your husband will help him understand why your daughter cries when her grandparents hold her (who are strangers to her) and to be more patient for her to warm up to them. Meanwhile, focus on helping her get to know them as others have suggested. She’ll welcome their holding her in time as she gets to know them.
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