One mum was left feeling “upset” after a stranger touched her one-year-old’s face in a cafe.
The woman, who has two small children, said she was cutting up food for her one-year-old daughter when the elderly man approached.
After picking up a toy that her daughter had dropped, he “stroked and pinched her cheek”, before walking away.
Unhappy with his actions, the mum-of-two then approached the man and told him that she was upset he “felt it appropriate to touch my baby’s face.”
The man apologised but following the incident, the woman took to Mumsnet to describe it – and asked if she’d acted unreasonably.
Describing the incident, she wrote: “In a cafe with my two small children earlier today, my daughter has just turned one.
“As I was cutting up some food for her, an elderly man suddenly appeared at the side of her pram.
“He picked up a toy that I wasn’t aware she had dropped and then reached out and stroked and pinched her cheek.
“He reached out so fast that I had no time to react to stop him. I have a real dislike of people touching strangers babies.
“When my son was a baby I was stopped on a zebra crossing by a woman demanding to see him in his sling, and a woman in a cafe asked me if she could hold him.
“I said no and she very loudly badmouthed me to her friends at the next table – which I just thought was bonkers. Who lets a total stranger in a cafe just hold their child?
“Back to today – I approached the man and told him that I was upset that he felt it appropriate to touch my baby’s face.
“For context, today was the first day we’ve been to an indoor cafe since I was in the early stages of pregnancy with my daughter. I was polite but made my upset known and he apologised.
“Is this a generational thing? I would never touch a baby without asking the parent/cater for permission. Curious to know your thoughts on this. I don’t think I was unreasonable telling this man he was in the wrong.”
In a follow-up comment, the woman said she wasn’t worried about germs, adding: “My daughter plays around on the floor at home all day, puts everything in her mouth and yes, has eaten dirt and sand. I was more bothered by the touch itself.”
People were divided on the topic, as one wrote: “You were absolutely horrible, that poor man. He sounds very kind and you belittled him and told him off. You should be ashamed tbh.
“You don’t have a baby, you have a toddler, who I presume is most certainly crawling and probably walking, meaning he touches things anyway.
“My baby (7mths) absolutely delights in other people, smiling, waving and ‘chatting’ to them. She often has her chubby little cheeks stroked or her hair ruffled or handheld. Glad she brings so much happiness to people.”
Another said: “One day you’ll be old and out of step – you’ll want people to be kind to you. You weren’t kind. Reflect on that and the sort of society and values you want your precious child to live in.”
A third added: “You aren’t being unreasonable. A couple of random elderly people have touched my baby’s hand when saying hello. I know that they’re being nice but since my baby loves sucking on her fingers and since there is such an emphasis on handfasting I really wish they wouldn’t.”
“I really wouldn’t like it at all. I don’t like uninvited physical contact myself so wouldn’t want it for my child.” opined another.