Can someone with Tourette’s hold a baby?

If you have a newborn, you may be hesitant to allow a friend or family member with tics to hold your baby.

As a sufferer myself, I have certainly felt stressed with the responsibility. I fully understand that parents would have some concerns about this.

In short, it is perfectly fine to allow most people with tic disorders to hold a baby. Only in extreme cases (a very low percentage) would the sufferer feel their tics are too severe to be able to do so.

People with Tourette Syndrome and other tic disorders are just as compassionate and loving as anyone else, and know when tics are coming.

Often sufferers raise families of their own with little to no problems.


Topics covered:

  • What tics are
  • How they can vary from person to person
  • My experience with TS and holding a baby
  • When it would be advisable for someone with tics to not hold a baby

Motor Tics are the only problem here

Tics are separated into two categories- Motor and Vocal.

Motor tics are movement based, Vocal tics are words and sounds.

If you would like to read more about the differences from my perspective, you can do so here.

It is important to know that only 10% of those with Tourette Syndrome swear, it is not as common as society would have you believe.

So unless vocal tics are of concern, they will bring no harm to your child.

Tics come in a variety of ways

What are the motor tics? Is it a shoulder shrug? Maybe a cough. Maybe it’s to punch a wall.

Each situation is different, and it is important to speak to the person and get a feel for what those tics are.

Although tics are described as ‘involuntary’, tics usually come with an internal pressure or itch to do the tic. This is the involuntary bit. Doing the tic is pretty voluntary, in my experience at least.

Saying that, if a person has a tic involving throwing large objects, this would of course be a cause for concern. In this case, it may be wise to refrain from that person holding the baby if the urge to do so is intense.

Because Tourette and tic disorders don’t correlate with immorality, the sufferer is probably going to be very open with what he or she feels, and won’t try to mislead you.

Those with tics know their limits

People with Tourette Syndrome know their bodies very well, and know when a situation poses a danger to them.

I recently posted about a surgeon that had Tourette Syndrome, and his ability to perform surgeries.

It was as if he could switch the urge to tic off at certain times.

For a lot of sufferers, concentrating on something specific can reduce tics significantly. This is also the case for some professional athletes and even pilots.

Holding a baby will no doubt be a time when concentration is needed, and could well see the sufferers tics reduce. This has been the case for me over the years, especially when holing a baby.

Even if the urge to tic is there, they do not come out at random. The sufferer chooses to do the tic to relieve the internal pressure, and can hold that urge in for some time. A bit like holding in a breath.

If in doubt, take extra precautions

It is wise to take extra safety precautions anywhere with a baby.

One example could be to make sure the person holding the baby is sitting down.

The more relaxed the sufferer is, the less their tics will cause a problem. Stress has been closely linked with an increase in tics.

a mother holds her baby sitting down

Every person with TS experiences tics differently however. For this reason, every individual will have a different way of knowing how to be comfortable and reduce the risk of tics causing any issues.

Be open with each other

Tics can appear to be fueled by anger or bad manners. But this is usually far from who the person with tics is as a person.

In conversation, talk about the tics and how they manifest. Ask if they would like to hold the baby, and how tics would be when they do. They will have an idea of what to expect from past experiences.

Sufferers are only human, and they are more upset about their tics than anyone.

Living with tics is stressful. A precious moment such as holding a new born baby as a parent, sibling, cousin, whatever it is, could be one of the rare joys in life we truly get to cherish.

I am sure it will be a wonderful experience for all, and one that is full of love and hopefully, free of tics.

a baby being held in someones arms

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