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Dad Called Out After Refusing To Let Sister-in-Law Hold New Baby To Prove A Point To Wife

Father holding baby.
Olena Domanytska/Getty Images

There are few better feelings than bringing your newborn baby home from the hospital.

Of course, bringing home a baby also comes with a sizable amount of anxiety.

Sleepless nights, feeding schedules, and for most parents, worrying about their newborn’s health and safety every waking moment.

With this in mind, some parents are understandably particular about who they allow to hold their baby.

Redditor FairIsFair1 was shocked when his wife refused to allow an important member of their family to hold their newborn child.

As a result, when his wife was going to allow another family member to hold the child a few days later, the original poster (OP) flatly refused, citing his wife’s own rules.

When the tables were turned on her, the OP’s wife was not the least bit pleased.

Wondering if he had made a mistake, the OP took to the subReddit “Am I The A**hole” (AITA), where he asked fellow Redditors:

“AITA for not letting my sister in law hold our baby?”

The OP shared how when his wife implemented rules as to who was allowed to hold their baby, he felt it it had to be “fair’s fair”.

“My wife and I just brought home our beautiful baby.”

“When we got home, I wanted my older son to hold the baby (he is fourteen), but my wife said no.”

“She said she wasn’t comfortable with anyone but us holding the baby yet.”

“I wasn’t happy about this, but I respect that, as a mom, she’s anxious about how vulnerable our baby is.”

“So I let it go.”

“Yesterday her sister came over and wanted to hold the baby.”

“I said no, that my wife and I aren’t comfortable with anyone but us holding him yet.”

“My wife then said it was fine, that her sister was a special case.”

“I said no, that I wasn’t comfortable with it.”

“Her sister was offended and left.”

“My wife is angry with me and says I was an a**hole to her sister.”

“I think I am just being consistent.”

“Was I an a**hole to my sister in law?”

Fellow Redditors weighed in on where they believed the OP fell in this particular situation, by declaring:

  • NTA – Not The A**hole
  • YTA – You’re The A**hole
  • NAH – No A**holes Here
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here

The Reddit community unanimously agreed that the OP was not the a**hole for refusing to allow his sister-in-law to hold his baby.

Everyone agreed that the OP was absolutely right to force his wife’s own rules on her, with many pointing out how illogical her rules were, as if anyone should be allowed to hold the baby, it should be their older brother.

“By that logic she is an a**hole to your (underage) son.”

“NTA , but ask your son if he has ever had any weird situations with her.”- SpecialistHoney6478


“What was the reasoning given that her sister was ‘ a special case,’ and your son, who needs to bond with his new sibling, is not?”- dart1126

“So, baby’s sibling can’t hold the baby, but auntie can?”

“That’s messed up.”


“You need to find out what’s going through your wife’s head, though.”- ThrowAwayJudge810


“Your wife doesn’t get it both ways.”- Witty_Comfortable777


“Your wife can’t make one rule for some and not for the others.”- Formal_Cap_1324


“Thank you for standing up for your son.”

“He is 14, not a toddler.”

“The day prior she was not comfortable, but now it’s fine for her sister?”- oaksandpines1776

“NTA but dude, you need to really pay attention to what’s going on between your wife and your son.”

“This looks like a big red flag to me.”- Readsumthing


“If wife has a particular issue with the son she should come out and say it.”

“Otherwise, OP is just maintaining the stated ground rules for engaging with baby.”-ABeerAndABook


“But your your wife and you need to have a serious talk about this.”

“And your son is not a toddler. He could’ve held his baby brother, but no he is not a special case but your SIL is?”

“Kinda sounds like your wife is an AH.”- rainbowrry


“Her family is OK, but your son isn’t?”

“She made the rule. She has to accept it.”- NoFact1542


“If your own son – who is clearly old enough to hold a baby – can’t hold her then too damn bad.”

“Her sister is not a special case.”- SlideItIn100


“Your son should be the first to hold your new baby after you and the mom.”

“She can’t just decide ‘her’ family is a special case.”

“It’s a red flag in my eyes.”

“Her family is good enough, but yours is not?”

“I’m currently pregnant and told everyone that our 12 yr old son is going to be the first to hold our daughter after my husband and I. Everyone understood and agreed.”

“I think you need to have a conversation with your wife and ask her why she believes her sister is a special case but your son is not.”

“But make sure you don’t come across as accusing, and wait until she is calmed down enough to have the conversation.”- Warped-minded


“If anyone should be a ‘special case,’ it would be your son, the baby’s big brother.”

“Sit down with your wife and make a list of everyone you two are comfortable with holding the baby.”

“You each get to pick an equal number of people.”- perfectpomelo3


“And this makes me so sad to read – even sadder to read people actually defending your wife, as if there’s any legitimate reason to keep a teenager who WANTS to hold their new baby sibling and bond with them from doing so.”

‘The gross excuses here are just that: gross.”

“It was the encouragement to bond with their little half-siblings that has led my older niblings to not even think of their little siblings as ‘halfs’, just their little sisters and brothers.”

“And the youngest of them was not even in the double digits when the first younger half-sibling was born.”

“She was still allowed to hold her, as long as she was sitting down and careful.”

“There is NO good reason for a mother who does not have PPD/PPA (and clearly she doesn’t if she’s not nervous about others holding her child) to keep an older sibling (who, shocker, happens to be her stepchild) from bonding with their new sibling.”

“It’s disgusting and hateful, period, and you are NTA for pointing it out to her.”- Sorry_I_Guess


“You made a baby with someone who doesn’t love your son.”

“Good luck.”- No_Scientist7086

“NTA: Your 14-year-old son is more important than her sister.”

“Your son is the half-sibling – again, more important than an aunt.”

“You defend him and keep doing so.”

“He is the next person to hold that child.”

“Also are you sure how she is treating your son when you are not there?”

“Poor boy, it’s going to get so much worse now she has her own kid.”

“Take him out and ask him to tell you the truth.”

“She doesn’t get to say he can’t hold both of your baby.”

“It’s your child too, and you must let your eldest feel special and bond – even if it’s holding her whilst sitting down for one minute and you supporting the baby’s head.”

“She can’t unilaterally make absurd decisions.”

“There is no reason he can’t hold her unless he is abusive, likely to hurt her, is ill and contagious.”- Big__Bang


“He’s 4 years from being a legal adult.”

“I brought my youngest home when my oldest was 4, almost 5.”


“I get, as a new mom, being overprotective and paranoid.”

“But this, this isn’t that.”

“How else does she treat your son differently?”

“Is this out of nowhere, or are there other instances where your son was treated differently from other family or friends even?”

“If it’s one of, most likely, pregnancy/PP stress and hormones.”

‘If it’s not one-off, then you need a conversation and counseling.”

“I am not hating on mom.”

“I didn’t want my kids out of my sight for the first six months of their life.”

“I get it.”

“But there’s no real difference or justification here.”

“This is plain hypocrisy.”

“And the fact none of this was discussed before the baby came.”- Affectionate-Can-279

“His son is 14.”

“Why is the wife’s sister a special case but not his son?”

“OP comments that the son is his kid, so I’m assuming that’s the wife’s step son?”-Embarrassed_Advice59

“NTA but your wife has some weird rules.”

“Unless your 14yo son has some disability that would prevent him from holding the baby, he should be allowed that bonding time with it.”

“Toddlers are often allowed to hold new siblings, albeit with some parental supervision and assistance so a 14yo is certainly capable.”

“If your wife can make a weird rule about who can hold the baby, then so can OP.”

“A SIL doesn’t get a free pass if a 14yo doesn’t.”- Ducky818

One can unfortunately detect that the OP’s wife doesn’t seem to have a good relationship with his son.

Even so, barring some extraordinary circumstances, refusing to let him hold his infant sibling is not going to improve their relationship.

One can only hope this isn’t the beginning of things becoming even more fraught.

Written by John Curtis

A novelist, picture book writer and native New Yorker, John is a graduate of Syracuse University and the children's media graduate program at Centennial College. When not staring at his computer monitor, you'll most likely find John sipping tea watching British comedies, or in the kitchen, taking a stab at the technical challenge on the most recent episode of 'The Great British Baking Show'.