How to Hold a Newborn Baby

Figuring out the right way to hold your newborn is crucial for proper newborn care. Yet, there are a few different positions you ought to try and steps to go through; after all, the baby has to like how you’re holding it and always be as comfortable as possible.

The Gentle & Easy Steps to Follow

#1 Remember that Proper Hygiene Is Indispensable

Given that babies are still developing, their immune systems are not as strong as ours. We can usually combat various germs and never get sick because of them. Infants, on the other hand, cannot fight as valiantly.

So, what’s the solution? Before picking up the baby, day or night, you ought to wash your hands first. Lather them up well and use plenty of water to get the soap residue off. Furthermore, if you’re having guests over, ask them to do the same thing if they want to approach the baby. In fact, you may want to keep some hand sanitizer within reach just in case.

#2 Breathe and Get Comfortable

Fathers, in particular, are a bit freaked out when it comes to holding babies. Most of the time, they think infants can break!

However, that fear is irrational and may prevent you from ever bonding with your child. If you’re scared of “breaking” the baby, you just have to get comfortable, both mentally and physically.

If you have a pet, you can try practicing a bit. Then, when the time comes, find a spot where you feel physically comfortable and work on your confidence. If you are afraid of holding the baby while standing up, hold it only while sitting down at first. Over time, both of you will relax and get used to each other’s company.

#3 Pick How You Want to Hold the Baby

The basic steps to holding a baby properly are:

  • Pick the baby up by placing one hand under its bottom and the other one under the head
  • Lift the baby up to your chest.

From there, you can hold the baby in four different ways:

Shoulder Hold

  • While the baby’s body is parallel to yours, place its head on your shoulder.
  • Make sure the baby can breathe — it should be able to look behind you.
  • Keep one hand on the neck and the other on the bottom.

One of the nicest things about this hold is that it’s perfect for skin-on-skin bonding. It lets the baby hear your heartbeat!

Belly Hold

  • Place the baby on your forearm belly down, with its head nestled softly toward your elbow
  • Keep its feet separated by allowing each to fall on either side of your hand
  • Keep the baby at an angle while holding it like this.

As one of the best positions for gassy babies, you can also stroke the infant’s neck to get it to burp.

Lap Hold

  • While sitting down, place the baby onto your lap, making sure its head is where your knees are.
  • Place your forearms under the baby for support, and use both hands to position its head correctly.
  • To secure your position, tuck the little one’s feet into your waist.

Cradle Hold

  • Lift the baby up by placing one hand under the neck and the other under its bottom.
  • Then, switch hands a bit. Slide the hand that was under the neck all the way to the baby’s bottom, lifting the head with your elbow at the same time. The infant should now lie on your forearm and have enough neck support.
  • Keep the other arm on the baby’s back, cupping its bottom for extra support.

#4 Pay Attention to the Neck

Until the fourth month of age, the baby won’t be able to support its own head. It doesn’t have the muscle control holding up a neck straight and long requires. Besides, its head is the biggest part of the body, and the muscles are just not strong enough to support it yet.

What does this mean for you as a parent? Well, you always have to keep an eye on the neck. Rest your hand on it at all times, closely monitoring the fontanelles, and provide the support the head needs to stay in the right position.

Additional Tips on Holding Babies

  • Change positions and rock or sway with the baby if it’s not happy with how you’re holding it. Check in often to see if it’s comfortable.
  • Keep the baby’s head turned out so that it can breathe.
  • Never resort to shaking the baby, for whatever reason, as that could have fatal consequences.
  • If you need your hands to be free, opt for baby carriers.
  • When bonding skin-to-skin, cover the baby with a blanket.
  • Use a support pillow when breastfeeding or holding the baby for extended periods of time.
  • Use both arms to hold the baby while on stairs, no matter if you’re going up or down.
  • Cooking while holding the baby is not recommended, as it could get seriously injured (you would have to use heat, as well as things like knives, to cook something). Avoid holding the baby while someone’s cooking as well.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, there’s nothing scary about holding a baby — just make sure you’re always supporting its neck and that both you and the infant are comfortable. Soon enough, you’ll be able to pick the baby up and place it in a hold in a matter of seconds!

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