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New Mom Called Out By In-Laws For Refusing To Let Fiancé’s Autistic Brother Hold Newborn

Young couple holding a baby.
Anchiy/Getty Images

There is no greater joy on earth than bringing a child into the world.

Bringing that child home from the hospital, however, isn’t always smooth sailing.

In addition to constant crying, feeding, and diaper changing, there is worrying about the baby’s safety every waking moment.

As babies are vulnerable to just about everything in their first three months.

Redditor Ok_Substance_3119 recently welcomed her first child, who arrived after a long and difficult delivery.

While she was excited to introduce her new baby to her in-laws, the original poster (OP) was not comfortable with her brother-in-law (BIL) holding her new baby, and wasn’t afraid to say so.

As one might expect, the OP’s BIL did not appreciate this, and made no effort to hide his displeasure.

Wondering if she was being unreasonable, the OP took to the subReddit “Am I The A**hole” (AITA), where she asked fellow Redditors:

“AITA for not letting my autistic BIL hold my newborn?”

The OP explained why she didn’t feel comfortable with her BIL holding her newborn baby:

“My fiance (24 M[ale]) and I (19 F[emale]) had our first baby last week.”

“He was born healthy but giving birth was very traumatic and hard on me mentally/physically.”

“I had an emergency c-section after being in labor for three days.”

“I still feel extremely foggy and out of touch with reality.”

“I only wanted my fiancé’s parents present to meet the baby in the hospital.”

“The rest were welcome to Facetime us, but they would have to wait to see our son after we’d gone home and had time to adjust to having a newborn.”

“I’m not close with my family because I left home at 18 to escape their abuse.”

“Almost none of them are allowed contact with my child because of the way they treated me and my siblings.”

“My fiancés family are a very close-knit group, and all of them have been very kind and welcoming to me up until this point.”

“I wouldn’t be marrying in if they weren’t.’

“The only one I’ve had issues with is my fiancé’s brother (30 M) who has autism.”

“He makes a lot of offhand comments and jabs that get passed off as ‘dark humor’.”

“When my in-laws got there, they brought my fiancé’s older brother who they care for and let live with them.”

“He’s diagnosed with autism but does not have any severe disabilities.”

“I wasn’t happy that they’d brought him against my wishes, but I didn’t say anything after everything I’d gone through.”

“My fiancé’s brother was adamant about holding our son.”

“He was loud, had an attitude, and smelled terrible.”

“His clothes were dirty and his hair was covered in grease.”

“It was like he hadn’t showered in weeks.”

“Again, I didn’t comment on his hygiene, but I tried to preface that I didn’t want anyone holding the baby right now except my in-laws.”

“I was as kind as possible.”

“My in-laws told me that he didn’t mean any harm and that he could wash his hands.”

“I told them no again, and my fiancé backed me up when they didn’t calm down.”

“My FIL law took his son home and my MIL stayed and apologized, but my fiancé’s brother is apparently ‘deeply hurt’ and texted my fiancé to tell him not to marry me because I’m ‘driving them apart’ and “a b*tch who wants to keep him from his nephew’.”

“I’d like to preface that my fiancé himself has confirmed that his brother was not always this limited, and was fairly normal until high school when he seemed to start to play up his diagnosis for sympathy.”

“He hasn’t worked a day in his life and lives off of his parents.”

“He does not shower or even bother to apply deodorant before leaving the house.”

“He would literally live in the same clothes for months if not for his mom doing his laundry.”

“I have no ill-will for people with autism or disabilities (my youngest brother had down syndrome and cared for him as a identified child).”

“My issue is solely with my brother 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 let her BIL hold her newborn baby.

Everyone agreed that the OP had every right to refuse to let her BIL hold her newborn, with many agreeing that the fact that he was autistic was all but irrelevant, as his uncleanliness was a serious risk to her child’s health, and regardless, all mothers have the final say in who can and cannot hold their baby.

“NTA, babies get sick easily.”

“Hygiene is important when someone wants to hold or even be around a newborn.”

“You did the right thing.”

“Especially since you are also healing from a major procedure.”- BeautifulPhantom1


“His autism is virtually irrelevant here.”

“His hygiene would be inappropriate to hold a new born with even if he wasn’t on the spectrum.”

“I do think it’s concerning here that he sees the child as his nephew and not your son.”

“Maybe I’m inventing the tone of text in my head, but that sounds far too possessive of a child that’s not his in any capacity.”- Bureaucratic_Dick


“You don’t have to have a ‘good’ reason.”

“Newborn mom’s set all the rules.”

“It’s about managing your hormones and anxiety after the delivery.”

“It doesn’t matter if he were a doctor that was clean as a whistle.”

“You don’t want him to hold the baby, he doesn’t hold the baby.”- MessyDragon75


“Your baby your rules, good to see your Fiancé backing you up.”- Successful_Bath1200

“Let’s talk about your last paragraph.”

“This isn’t actually uncommon.”

“Lots of autistic kids just seem a little kooky when they’re small, but start to show bigger issues around high school.”

“Puberty is an issue, and the increased demands on high school kids are an issue.”

“As ever, all autistic people are different, but it wouldn’t be terribly unusual for your fiancé’s brother’s apparent difficulties to increase around high school age.”

“That said, not wanting a dirty stinky person to hold your baby is reasonable.”

“Tell your in-laws that if their son wants to hold your baby, he needs to be freshly showered, and wearing clean clothes.”

“NTA.”- _mmiggs_

“NTA in the end autism, hygiene, demeanour etc have zero baring on this.”

“You said ONLY parents in-law were welcome to come and hold the baby, not parents in law and BIL.”

“I don’t care if he’s got a degree in exemplary hygiene and a sub speciality in child care, you set the rules, they tried to ignore them, you didn’t let them.”

“The rest is moot.”- Sweet_Vanilla46


“For not letting him hold your kid.”

“Even if you were overprotective, you are entitled to be as a fresh mother.”

“Doubly so if his hygiene is bad, babies are fragile against infections.”- Individual_Complex_6


“Babies get sick really easily and i wouldn’t want someone dirty/smelly to touch my vulnerable child.”

“He’s old enough to know how a shower and deodorant works ao if he doesn’t want to be excluded he knows what to do.”- lucina06


“Talk to your fiancé about what the long term plans are for your BIL, make sure the expectation isn’t to live with you guys if he is being this aggressive with you now.”- l3ex_G

“NTA and he can wash and start treating you respectfully or kick rocks.”

“Lack of social awareness makes people miss cues or do things that aren’t appropriate to a particular situation.”

“It doesn’t make them nasty.”- SaraAmis


“You were the one who went through the birthing process so you get to decide.”

“I’m glad your in-laws and fiancé are sticking up for you.”

“Your BIL doubling down and calling you nasty names only reinforces that he shouldn’t have access to your baby.”- 11treetrunk


“Under any circumstances.”

“Autism ignored and even hygiene ignored, you don’t need a reason.”

“If you don’t want someone holding your baby then they aren’t allowed to hold the baby.”

“With exceptions to the father.”- DeadlySoren

“I haven’t let my husband’s similar sister hold any of my newborns…”

“I see her as unsafe.”

“It is your job to protect your baby.”

“Your in-laws don’t want to accept how seriously a newborn could be hurt by their child.”-ferndoll6677

It’s common courtesy to wash your hands before holding a newborn infant, even if your hands aren’t the slightest bit dirty.

So not allowing someone who clearly hasn’t bathed or showered in days to hold a baby is, in fact, the responsible thing to do.

One can only hope that the OP’s in-laws will make sure this doesn’t continue to be an issue.

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'.