Preparing your heart and home for baby’s arrival is a big deal. Setting up a nursery, buying everything a baby needs, and reading all there is about pregnancy and birth consume your days. When that little person starts growing, you have nine months of just you and baby. You don’t need to share the kicks, the dreams about holding them for the first time, or the sweet moments when they respond to your pokes with a jab or a roll.

Then the baby is born and suddenly, you share him or her with everyone.

For some moms, there is the wonderful first cuddle, seconds after her baby is born. Others wait hours or days before getting to hold their babies for the first time. Many mamas don’t get to hold their babies for monthsand my heart aches for them. I know how much I have struggled with the fact that my baby didn’t get that first, straight-away cuddle on mama’s chest. I am still working on embracing what our first few days together looked like.

So if a new mama doesn’t hand over her baby, please don’t be offended.

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Three days after our son was born and just before we were discharged from the NICU, both sets of out-of-town grandparents arrived at our house. I was filled with joy, proud, and tired. Seeing everyone soak up the wonder of holding their first grandchild was beautiful, so sharing cuddles was a blessing. In those first weeks, eight sets of loving arms (including my own) desperately wanted to hold this tiny baby.

If a new mama doesn’t hand over her baby, please don’t be offended.

My husband’s parents from abroad had six weeks with us. What a blessing to have so much help and support, and that they could spend quality time with their first grandchild. But there were times my mother-in-law held out her hands for a cuddle, and I felt my arms clutching tighter around my son. I wasn’t quite ready to hand him over. Six months later, I now feel so guilty about not giving him to her straight away, and for knowing she saw that unintended tightening of my grasp. 

If a new mama doesn’t hand over her baby, please don’t be offended.

I am so grateful for the grace my mother-in-law showed me. She didn’t get upset (if she did, she never showed it). She just continued loving, caring for, and supporting this new first-time mama who was trying to figure out how to raise a secure, happy baby. When I didn’t hand him over because I knew he needed to be close, she just baked something for afternoon tea instead. When I was worried he would spit up after a feed, she just chatted to him while he sat in my arms. And when he desperately needed a nap on me, she would make tea and watch a movie with me.

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If a new mama doesn’t hand over her baby, please don’t be offended.

There were so many friends at church who wanted to hold our little bundle, and my husband got the greatest pleasure out of sharing him around (proud dad moments!). And then there was mealways holding him tightly or even strapping him in his carrier to “sleep”. I needed to hold him, and at the time I had no idea why. I now understand I was not OK with how his birth went and struggled to come to terms with not being able to be there for him right away. Instinctively, I just knew we both needed to be as close to each other as possible.

If a new mama doesn’t hand over her baby, please don’t be offended.

I have yet to reach the point of needing to hand my baby over so I can have a break. I try to soak in every moment of his littleness, dependence, and cuddliness.

You see, I already can’t remember the way he felt in my arms when he was a newborn.

I already struggle to remember what he smells like when he is not with me.

I already know life with him is going to fly by in an instant. The first six months certainly has.

RELATED: Lord, Please Don’t Let Me Forget

If a new mama doesn’t hand over her baby . . . 

Thank you for understanding. Maybe she just senses he needs her. Maybe she is worried because there are coughs going around, and she desperately wants to protect him. Maybe she feels fragile about his traumatic birth and needs to be near him that day. There are a million reasons a new mama may hold her baby tight.  

Please don’t be offended.

She loves that you adore her little person. She appreciates your willingness to be the arms that give her a break when she needs it. She will soon depend on you to be someone who will teach her baby they can be away from mum and still feel safe.

But for now, she may just need to hold her baby close.  

Thank you for not being offended when a new mama doesn’t hand over her baby.  

This book is a must-read for moms looking to thrive in the chaos of motherhood. Don’t have time to sit and read? Listen to it here, on Audible.

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Belindi Joubert

I am a first-time mum, learning more about God's love for us while staying at home with my little boy Henri. I am passionate about raising a kind little boy, who will grow into a fiercely loving, Kingdom-minded man like his dad.