Sunday, July 25, 2010

babies in church?

We've had a few experiences now with taking Daniel to church. The first time we went, Jaymz wore Daniel in the Didymos and things didn't go very well. They ended up leaving part-way through the service and I ended up crying. We talked a lot about it to try to figure out what went wrong and how we could try again with better results. The second time, I wore Daniel in the Babyhawk and it went much more smoothly: I took him out of the service to nurse in the narthex once, but for the most part Daniel slept.

It seemed that the difference was that Daniel was responding to Jaymz's stress about the situation the first time, and since I was more confident and non-anxious the second time, he was calmer. Our differing levels of comfort with having Daniel in church seemed to be due to how we each perceive the people around us to be feeling about the situation. I have always thought that if a baby isn't crying a lot, any little noises they make are totally fine. I know some people believe babies and young children don't belong in a worship service, but then I wonder, how do they learn how to be in worship if they're not involved from a young age? And what does it say about us if we aren't welcoming to the youngest among us?

How do you feel about babies in church? What's your comfort level about the (non-crying) sounds they may make during worship? Do you think mothers should breastfeed in the seat/pew in the sanctuary, if baby is hungry? Or is there a designated space where she is expected to go? (The first Sunday we were told about a room with a live feed of the service, but the usher didn't know exactly where it was, so I never did find it. Nice.)

We're going to church again today with my in-laws. Hopefully it works as well as last week did!

1 comment:

  1. We just had a parent at our church complain that her kids got shushed in our worship service 2 weeks ago, and she felt terrible. We claim to be welcoming and affirming, but shushing is neither of those. Everybody has a different level of tolerance for noise in worship - for some the sounds of children are joyful - for others it is nothing but disruption. Typically the parents themselves are most sensitive to the noise, afraid to offend others. But every church should have a plan for kids, some positive alternative to suggest to the parents (may I help you find the nursery? Here's a coloring book. Does your child want to play with mine?)

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