*Written by Rev. Allison Drake, Minister to Children and Youth, East Dallas Christian Church
As a church, we are so excited about all God has in store for us, especially the babies joining our family. It is important to love on and make sure the parents feel welcome and wanted. As such, it’s important to realize that parenting has changed since many of us raised babies. Below are some tips to help us all honor and respect our new parents while also making sure they know they are loved.
Five Tips for Welcoming Babies and Their Families
If you are sick or think you might be sick, please do not hold or touch the baby. Babies are still building their immune systems and even the littlest cold can be really hard for a baby (and the already sleep-deprived parents!).
Respect the boundaries set up by the parents. Ask before you try to hold the baby and listen if the parent says not right now. The baby may have just fallen asleep, be about to spit up, or cry when handed to strangers.
Babies should always be passed back to the parent, not to another person. It is the parent’s right to decide who holds the baby. Further, there is nothing scarier than looking for the person you thought had your baby and not finding the baby.
Be supportive if the baby is fussy. Some parents will choose to keep their baby in worship with them while others will choose the nursery and still others will opt to step out if the baby becomes fussy. All three options are good choices. Let the parent know they are doing a good job and that you support and love them.
Many times, both parents are working and thus keeping (or at least trying to keep) the baby on a schedule is a life-saver. For a portion of the baby’s life, some parents may miss church or not stay for a whole event because its nap time, feeding time, or other such activity. Find ways to let them know they are missed and loved. Do they need a meal? A short card? Don’t stop inviting them to activities, but be understanding if they can’t make it.