They're the only people, including my in-laws I allow to hold him without specifically asking my husband and I.
I dislike it when anyone who walks up to me and assume they can just get his attention and try to hold him. As if his approval of them is enough for them to take him away. No.
I do not appreciate people giving kisses without checking with me, giving him hugs without checking with me and just straight up take him off his high chair and walk away. Who do you think you are? I don't know if you've been sick, I don't know if you are wearing make up or perfume that'll irritate his skin, and most importantly I don't know where you'll walk off to and I don't like not know where my baby went in case something happened!
Usually if people ask me if they could and my answer is no based on one of the few variations of reasons listed above, I will politely say "it's okay" or "he needs to feed soon" or "he is shy or sleepy right now". I'm not a monster to downright say it that I don't want to.
My mom will say that I was being mean because people just wants to play with my son. I'm sorry but I didn't have my son for the sole purpose for people to play with. Again, I'm his mom and I have every right to protect him from unnecessary harm.
Sometimes my grandma wants to hold him. She's 87 years young. She's still pretty strong for her age and can walk further and longer than any teenager I know right now. However, her mind is not as well as it used to be, as it happens. I like that she gets happier playing with my son, I don't mind her holding him but I'd prefer it if either my parents or I were there to keep an eye on them. I don't want them wandering somewhere and she forgot how to return.
I do not think it is unreasonable a request to say no to strangers. It is okay to say no. I don't want any children to grow up, thinking they are not allowed to say no to strangers. That is where a lot of problems end up arising. They need to know when to feel comfortable and trusting before they run up and hug you. (Yes, I know statistically child abuse cases happens with people you know more than strangers, but a step at a time, okay?)
For now, it is my job to teach them when is it okay to go with someone. If you see them coughing or having the flu, you don't have to feel obliged to hug them. If an old lady in the nursing home asks for a kiss, also not an obligation. If a stranger asks you to walk with him, say no.
So so what if you're rude for a moment? It is better than the thousands of regret when your child has contracted a virus that his little immune system cannot fight, or goes missing and you're helpless in finding him.
I am not asking to have my son placed in solitary confinement, but just that caution is exercised and common courtesy be practiced. I will not force myself unless the mother invites me to or that I have their permission to. Know that I went through hell and back to have my son and I know that other mothers have to.