Of course, it is always your right to decide when and how others touch you. If you prefer them not to, your demeanor and body language can provide a strong message. Even the clothes you wear can have an impact. Loose, flowing clothes are less likely to advertise your growing belly, while tight shirts that expose your lower abdomen will be more inviting. You or your partner can let family and friends know early on whether you prefer not to be touched; this could help you avoid having to repeat yourself later on. If a stranger inquires whether it is okay to feel your belly, a simple “no, thank you” is an appropriate response.
Communicating your wishes to others is a good skill to develop during your pregnancy. After your delivery, you are likely to receive many requests to hold your newborn. Some new parents love enlisting the support of others and readily pass around their new baby to family and friends. Others parents are more cautious, preferring to minimize contact with others during the first weeks of life. Certainly this will cut down on your baby’s exposure to germs and potential infections. It would be good for you and your partner (and your pediatrician) to decide together what your policy will be during the first weeks of your newborn’s life.
Our parenting advice is given as suggestions only. We recommend you also consult your healthcare provider, and urge you to contact them immediately if your question is urgent or about a medical condition.