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27th Mar 2023

Mum won’t let grandparents change baby’s nappy because of ‘consent and privacy’


A UK mum has sparked a debate on the issue of ‘consent parenting’ after revealing on a parenting forum that she doesn’t want people other than her husband and herself to change her son’s nappy.

The new mum took to Mumsnet to explain that she wants to ‘protect’ her six-month-old baby’s privacy and was furious when her mother-in-law changed his nappy when he was crying.

She wrote:

“I’m very keen on consent and protecting my baby’s privacy and prefer that only myself and my partner are the ones to change [my son’s] nappy.

“Obviously I understand if we’re not available due to nursery eventually or if someone else is babysitting then I’m happy for someone else to do it, however, this has not yet been the case.

“A while ago my mother-in-law was over and my baby started crying and rather than just give him back decided to take it upon herself to change him. I was standing right there.

“He continued crying throughout the change and she gave him back straight after but it annoyed me as it wasn’t her place to change him. I didn’t say anything at the time as I was trying to be nice and friendly but starting to find her more overbearing and I’m getting close to drawing a line.”

‘Babies don’t need consent’

Many people felt the mum was being too extreme.

“If you don’t trust grandparents to change baby’s nappy they shouldn’t be seeing baby. If you do, no issue,” one person wrote, adding:

“Babies don’t need consent no matter how keen you are on it.”

Another one said:

“So nursery workers or babysitters can change your child but their grandparents can’t?”

A third person chimed in:

“I suspect this is more about your feelings towards your mother-in-law than anything to do with privacy and consent (consent being a ridiculous concept for a small baby who has no capacity to give informed consent at that age).”

However, some parents tried to see things from the new mum’s perspective.

“Your mother-in-law should not have assumed that it was ok to change your baby’s nappy,” one person wrote.

“She should have said something along the lines of ‘is it ok to go ahead and change him’ or ‘would you like me to change him for you’ – particularly the first time.”

@brittanybaxter_x I said what I said… #gentleparenting #consent #fyp ♬ original sound – Brittany

What is consent parenting?

According to the Daily Mail, consent parenting is an approach that aims to teach infants, toddlers, and children about body safety, boundaries, and consent. Proponents claim it educates children about appropriate and inappropriate touch, helping to prevent abuse.

Over the past couple of years, some parents have started taking to social media to explain how they have started asking their infant babies permission before giving them cuddles, kisses, or changing their nappies.

However, critics claim parents are teaching the lessons too early and that it is their right and responsibility as a parent to make decisions about their child’s body.