I have a 7 month old daughter, and there are instances that a relative or a friend will ask to borrow our baby or carry our baby for a while.

There are times that I would like to refuse because of the following reasons:

  1. If I saw that he/she or anyone close to the borrower (like their kids, that will most likely or will attemp to touch or kiss our baby) that is having cough or colds or any disease that can easily be transferred to our daughter.

  2. If he/she would like to bring our daughter outside our house which we may not be able to look after properly. I dont want to look rude tailing them cause they might have the impression that I'm being too suspicious or I don't trust them.

  3. Any other reasons that I just want to refuse for the safety of my daughter.

Here are some edits:

So not to confuse the readers that it should be in Parenting SE:

My actual concern here is not to make my kid safe but how do I respond to the borrower politely without giving them the impression I'm acting rude.

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    When you say borrow your baby for a while, for how long? A couple of hours, half a day? Commented Nov 4, 2017 at 10:25
  • @oldpadawan I'd be surprised if this hasn't already been discussed on parenting SE (haven't checked) but it also related to exposing kids to common colds different environments etc., which is way off IPS, I think. Commented Nov 4, 2017 at 10:28
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    @StephenG I was thinking to post it in Parenting SE but I guess my concern here is how to deal with another person so that I can approach them politely. Or I misunderstood Parenting SE cause I was thinking if I'll post it there it's more on a parenting concern than interpersonal concern. Commented Nov 4, 2017 at 12:01
  • @Tycho'sNose actually there's no specific time. Most of the time statement will be like 'Let me borrow your baby for a while..', or 'Can I carry your baby for a while'. I understand that it's fun to carry and play with kids, that is why I think they would ask to. And I guess it's rude to respond to them: "For how long?". Commented Nov 4, 2017 at 12:12
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    @StephenG We don't close or migrate questions unless they are actually off topic here. This most definitely isn't.
    – Catija
    Commented Nov 4, 2017 at 15:21

3 Answers 3


For some reason, people saying "no" always seem to think that they need a reason. Hint: You don't.

"Thanks for offering; I'm fine." "I appreciate your offer but not right now." Or, for someone really irresponsible: "I'm afraid that's not possible".

If you're worried about colds: expose the kid to colds. Their immune system needs the work. Seriously - read up on the Hygiene Hypothesis. Colds, although an irritant, are harmless. Now, if you're talking about infectious diseases, that's a whole different issue. If your child is immunocompromised (which I don't read here) then please ignore this with my apologies.

On the other hand, I'd like to suggest that new parents are overly worried about their children - I know we were. If you're legitimately worried about the safety of your daughter (person offering is irresponsible, they want to do something dangerous, etc) then your concern is valid. If you're worried that they might drop the kid, then show them how to hold the kid. Allow people to hold the baby - it will help your friends/relatives to share in the joy of your parenthood. Being overprotective, IMHO, sets the kids up for a lifetime of dependency and that is definitely not a healthy thing for her.

Enjoy parenthood! It's a wonderful ride and you'll learn things you never thought possible.

  • Thanks for the tip. I'm not really or may be slightly overprotective.But I just want to know here how to deal politely to someone where in a scenario that I must really refuse and not to offend them, specially that they're a relative or a close friend. Commented Nov 4, 2017 at 12:04
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    YW. Please don't take it as saying "you need to..." It's more anecdotal and a blanket "relax, have fun, you'll do better than you think" that I would tell any new parent. Parenthood is by far the hardest yet most rewarding thing I've ever done and I wouldn't trade it for anything. Now quit listening to the advice of strangers, trust yourself, and enjoy your daughter. <grin> Commented Nov 4, 2017 at 13:15
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    "if you're talking about infectious diseases, that's a whole different issue." ? Colds are infectious diseases. I wouldn't want to expose my kids unnecessarily to colds. The hygiene hypothesis is huge in its scope, including things like parasites and gut flora. Play on the floor, touch the dog, etc., sure. But colds are a PITA for everyone, and the baby will get plenty of them on her own. Commented Nov 4, 2017 at 14:52
  • Although a cold is by definition a disease and is infectious, I think that common usage doesn't see it as such and the ID specialist I worked with (years ago) really didn't do much with the common cold. For the purposes of this discussion, I meant an infectious disease as something serious, such as influenza, measles, or other more dangerous illnesses. Commented Nov 4, 2017 at 20:27
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    Their immune system not simply needs the work. It actually is learning about the pathogens in it's surroundings. It identifies pathogens and keeps a memory of the surface of it. Then it fights the pathogen, with a general attack, and often it kills it before an infection develops. But when the pathogen comes by next time, years later, it finds the pathogen in the image library - and can quickly see from the image how to fight it best. (Fascinating!) Commented Jul 12, 2018 at 19:23

To know how to say no it helps to know why people want to "borrow" a 7 month old. There are three reasons I can think of: they love the baby and want to spend time with her, they want to do you a favour and lessen your workload a little, or they want to show off to other friends and family how they are trusted caregivers.

For the first two, you can meet these needs without your baby leaving your house. Next time someone says "when can we take care of Baby next?" give them a big smile and say "well actually, this Saturday we have a ton of chores to do here and it would be amazing if you could come over and care for Baby to free us up to do that. Thankyou! Does Saturday afternoon work for you?" This has the advantages of both letting them do what they want, and giving you a chance to observe them so you can see if they know what they're doing. If the person pushes and says no, I want to take Baby away for the afternoon (or longer!) you can say that you aren't really up for packing up all her stuff, maybe arranging for expressed milk, pureed food, toys, clothes, diapers, change pad, highchair, crib, car seat, ... - sure, lots of parents manage all this stuff but clearly you're not ready to do so yet.

Do you think no-one would enjoy looking after your baby at your house? I go over to see my grand-daughter, who is 4 months old, once or twice a week, and that enables her parents to catch up on laundry and dishes, sort out a room that needs a good tidy, or fix things around their house. I also go out shopping with my daughter and the baby, and shopping is always easier with a second adult. I really enjoy seeing the baby so often and having her know who I am. I play with her, read to her, and yes, I get a chance to chat to my daughter and son-in-law too, which is an added bonus. And yes, twice so far she's been left with me, which is nice too, but it's been because they asked me if I would, not because I asked to borrow her.

For the third one, you don't need to meet that need, but if you would like to work towards that, observing their caregiving could put you into a position to be able to agree to that eventually.

Perhaps there's another reason. When you know what it is, you'll know how to say no gracefully and firmly, as well as perhaps how to suggest something else that might meet their needs.

  • Great answer! I particularly like the idea of modifying the request so it helps the parents - a nice win-win if it works.
    – sleske
    Commented Jul 12, 2018 at 9:55

Make up some indirect reason on the spur of the moment and politely refuse. When it happens a few times people will understand.

Example: If she's playing and someone wants to pick her up, you can say that she was very upset a while back when you yourself wanted to pick her in your arms.

Example: Just pick her up and go away to another room, say that you two need some private time for some reason.

These might make you look anti social or over protective but it's your baby, do whatever you feel is best. But be consistent in your "tripartite" dealings so that some don't feel they were discriminated against!

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