Babies are so small and seem so fragile. But they will feel safer and more relaxed if you hold them with confidence. First pay attention to baby’s mood before holding them. If the baby is fussy or crying, you might try another position to see if that makes them more comfortable. You can also try a gentle and slow rocking. Take note that baby’s head should always be turned out to allow them to breathe. Here is a guide on ‘how to hold your newborn infant’.
Clean your hands: Always make sure your hands are clean before you pick up your baby. Baby’s immune system is still developing, so any germs you carry may make them sick.
Make yourself comfortable: Comfort is one of the most important things about holding your baby. Not only do you want to feel physically comfortable, but you also want to feel confident in your hold.
Provide support to newborn: While holding a newborn, it is very important to always have a hand to support the head and neck. A baby’s head is the heaviest part of their body at birth. Always pay special attention to baby’s fontanelles, which are the soft spots on the top of their head. Newborns lack the critical neck muscle control to keep their heads supported on their own.
Choose your position: When you go to lift your baby, place one hand under their head and another under their bottom. From there, raise their body to your chest level. As long as you’re supporting baby’s head and neck, the position is up to you. There are a variety of holds your baby might enjoy. Some of these positions are even great for breast-feeding or burping the baby. Following are the different positions:
With baby’s body parallel with your own, lift their head to shoulder height.
Rest their head on your chest and shoulder so they can look out behind you.
Keep one hand on their head and neck, and your other supporting baby’s bottom.
This position may also allow baby to hear your heartbeat.
Lay your baby, stomach down, across your forearm with the head up toward your elbow.
Their feet should land on either side of your hand, angled closer to the ground so the baby is at a slight angle.
This position is helpful if baby is gassy and needs to be burped. Gently stroke baby’s back to work out the gas.
With your baby horizontal at your chest level, slide your hand from their bottom up to support their neck.
Gently nudge baby’s head into the crook of your elbow.
While still cradling their head, move your hand from the supporting arm to their bottom.
Your free arm will be able to do other things or provide extra support
Sit in a chair with your feet firmly on the ground and place your baby in your lap. Their head should be at your knees, face up.
Lift their head up with both of your hands for support and your forearms under their body. Baby’s feet should be tucked in at your waist.