Mother and Baby

How To Hold Your Baby

Section: Baby care

Never held a newborn before? We’ll show you how to be a natural and be ready for those early day cuddles

1. Perfect for bonding

Movement and touch are vital for your newborn’s development and holding your baby promotes your bond. It’s a great way for her to become familiar with your smell and voice.

2. Check for buttons

Before you pick her up, be aware of anything like zips or buttons on your top – they could graze your newborn or pose a choking hazard. For extra closeness, try skin-to-skin contact.

3. Support her wobbly head

Rest your baby against your chest, with one arm along her back and the other under her bottom. Her neck muscles are weak, so support her head with your shoulder, chest or hand.

4. Gently rub her back

If your baby’s suffering from wind or colic (excess crying), rubbing her back can provide relief. Be careful that her head doesn’t fall forward – if her chin is on her chest, it could obstruct her breathing.

5. The comfort hold

If holding your baby against your chest doesn’t settle her, hold her across your body with her head in the crook or your arm. 

6. … Or along your arm

A good position for winding is to lie your baby with her chest on your open palm. With your other hand, rub or pat her back to help her bring up any trapped air.

7. Swaddling = security

After the close protection of your womb, some new babies can get a bit agitated by all the sudden freedom to move their arms and legs. Try swaddling (wrapping her up in a blanket) to help make her feel more secure.

8. Soothe with your heartbeat

Hold your baby close so she can hear your heartbeat. It’ll calm her as she’s reminded of being in the womb.

9. Keep her close with a carrier

Having your baby next to your body helps her feel safe, while leaving your hands free. An inward-facing carrier (holding her across your body or upright) allows her to look at your face. When she’s older, turning her outwards will increase her interest in her surroundings. 

10. Find her personal preference

Your newborn may look fragile but it’s fine to experiment with different ways of holding her. Some babies love being rocked from side to side as they lie down on your forearm, head in your palm, others prefer to be upright. Try out a few positions to see which your newborn prefers.

  • Author: Alex Davies Alex Davies
  • Job Title: Features Writer

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