Figuring out how to hold an infant can be a very daunting task, especially when you don’t want to disturb them or end up hurting them. It is natural to feel nervous, and there is a constant fear that the little one might just slip from your hold. While the apprehensions are understandable, you can work on making your hold safe and comfortable for the baby.
Tips to Safely Hold Your Newborn Baby
First Things First, Prepping for to Hold Your Infant
- Wash your hands before you take or pick up the baby. Their immune system is still developing, and your unclean hands can pass on the infections to them. Use mild soap and warm water to rinse your hands. Also, keep a bottle of sanitizer handy so that guests who come to visit the baby will use it.
- Make yourself comfortable. It is not just the physical comfort but also the confidence about your hold. You may feel scared at first, but with time you will adjust.
- Offer support: Newborns have little neck muscle control. Therefore, you need to support the head and neck. Also, make sure not to press the soft spots on the head (called the fontanelles). The support is critical until your baby reaches three months when they develop good control over the head and neck muscles.
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How Should You Pick Up a Baby?
To hold a baby, you should pick them up first. Place one hand under the head and another beneath the bottom/lower back. Now raise the body to your chest region. You can hold the baby in this position as long as you are comfortable holding the baby’s neck and head. However, some infants may find this uncomfortable so you should experiment and find out what suits them best.
The Different Baby Holding Positions you can try
You can try out several positions to see what would suit the baby, such as:
The Shoulder Hold
This is one of the most natural holds for your newborn. With the baby’s body parallel to yours, lift her to your shoulder height. Rest the head on your shoulder so that they can look behind you. Support the head and neck with one hand, and the bottom with another hand.
This position allows your baby to hear your heartbeat.
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The Cradle Hold
Cradling is quite simple, natural and is a very comfortable position for your baby to fall asleep in. With your baby parallel to your chest level, slide your hand from the bottom up to support the head and neck. Gently place your baby’s head into the crook of your elbow. Now move your hand from the neck to the bottom and hips. Bring your baby close to you, and you can quickly bring them to sleep.
The Hip Hold
You can hold your baby’s hips once they gain complete control over their head and neck muscles. So, try this position after your baby crosses three months. Face your baby outward and make her sit on your hip bones. You should wrap your arm around her waist. Your baby will be able to look at things around them comfortably.
The Football Hold
This hold suits for feeding your baby, and you can use it either while standing or sitting. Support your baby’s neck and head with your hand, and the rest of her back with your same forearm. Adjust the baby’s head and neck with the other hand. Make the baby curl towards your body side, with the legs extended behind. Draw your baby closer to your chest. Use the other free hand to provide extra support to the head or feed the baby.
The Lap Hold
This is a hold you can use while bottle feeding the baby, and can be used while in a sitting position. Place your feet firmly on the ground level when sitting, and take your baby onto your lap. The baby’s head should be near your knees with face upwards. Place both of your hands beneath the head for support, and your forearms all along the body. Let the feet tuck in at your waist region.
The Chair Hold
Here, they will sit on your hand as if they are sitting on a chair. Let the baby lean back and rest on your chest so that the head has proper support. Place one hand across her chest to prevent her from leaning on the sides. Place your other hand under the bottom. Give them good support.
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Now, How do I Hold My Baby while Breastfeeding as Well as after it?
When feeding a baby, keep the head raised from the lap or a crib (either in a football hold or a lap hold as mentioned above). After the feeding, keep them upright and pat them until they burp. Resist activities such as jiggling, playing or bouncing with your little one right after the feed. It may lead to vomiting and potential screaming.
How do I Hold a Crying Baby?
There is a position called The Hold which helps calm down your baby and makes them less fussy, but helps you out too:
- First, pick up the crying baby and fold the arms gently across their chest.
- Secure the arms by holding them with your hand. This hand will also support their chin.
- Now support the baby’s bottom with your other hand. Use the fleshy part of your hand but not the fingers for a comfortable hold.
- Keep the baby at a 45-degree angle and move them gently. You can slightly swing them up and down but avoid jerky movements.
- This technique is suitable for babies below three months. After that, they become too heavy to hold in this position.
How to Hold your Newborn while Bathing?
Bath time is fun time! Here is how to hold a baby while bathing, to prevent accidents like drowning or swallowing water:
- While you lower your baby into the bathtub, hold them with one hand beneath their bottom.
- Use the other hand to support the back and shoulders.
- Once they are settled in the bath, you can use the hand which was supporting them bottom to wash the body.
- With the other hand hold them firmly and keep the head above the water level.
- You can use a bath support to free your hands. A bath cradle also provides support while bathing a baby. If the child is old enough to sit, you can try using a bath seat.
How to Hold a Baby the Right Way
- Pay attention to the little one’s mood while holding them. If they are crying or is fussy and irritated, change their position to make them more comfortable.
- The baby’s head should always be free so that they can turn around to breathe.
- Make sure you are at skin-to-skin contact when you hold the baby. It is an excellent way to keep them warm and improves bonding.
- If you are nervous or too scared to hold the baby, you can choose a sitting position. This position also suits you if you do not have enough strength to carry the baby’s weight.
- Do not hold the baby while cooking or carrying something hot. Also stay off from knives, heat, and flames.
- If you are holding the baby for longer periods, try taking the help of an infant support pillow. It also helps while breastfeeding.
- Do not show any negative emotions, such as frustration, when you are holding the baby, as you might shake them. It can have serious repercussions.
- If you want to wake them up, touch their cheeks or tickle the feet gently.
- Use both the hands to hold the baby while you are climbing and getting off the stairs for extra safety.