Dear Urban Diplomat: how do I keep well-meaning neighbours from touching my newborn baby?
Dear Urban Diplomat,
My husband and I live in a condo and just welcomed our first baby, a girl. Maybe she’s just irresistibly cute, but every time we load her into the stroller and bring her in the elevator, someone grabs her hands or strokes her cheeks. It’s really bad when newborns get sick. How can we pre-empt these well-meaning strangers without seeming like germaphobic nutters?
—Babe Alert, Liberty Village
Given a few seconds’ warning, you might be able to blurt out something diplomatic and effective to ward off contact (my go-to has always been “She’s got a nasty cold”). But usually it all happens too fast for even a “Hey! No!” You could convince yourself the exposure will supercharge your baby’s immunity. But I think your best option is to shroud her behind a cover—plastic in winter, mesh in summer—that slips over the stroller. That’ll allow strangers to engage the baby with their eyes while keeping your wee one insulated from excess pawing.
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