How to Hold a Newborn Baby

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Have you ever seen someone holding a baby and think “Uh Oh! Please support that baby’s head!”. Do you say something?

Well, I sure do! It’s a bit different than hemming and hawing over whether you tell someone she has a run in her stocking!

There is definitely an important foundation behind the "support the baby’s head" belief.

Newborn babies have large heads in proportion to the rest of their body. This coupled with neck muscles that are not yet strong enough to support the head; means the head must always be supported. 

So, how does one properly hold a baby?

Allow the back of the baby’s head to rest inside the inner part of the elbow, with the length of the body resting on the forearm. The outer hip and upper legs should rest gently within your hand. The baby’s inside arm should rest over his chest/abdomen. 

Another way to hold a young baby is – gently and carefully – having the baby’s tummy facing your upper chest (beneath your shoulder) using the same side hand to hold the baby’s body, and the opposite side hand to support the baby’s head from the back.

It feels natural to a baby to be held, snugly, when in the arms of an adult caretaker. Use caution when letting school age siblings hold a baby; have the sibling sit on a chair with and adult in close proximity to make sure the baby remains safe. 

Speaking of holding a baby and safety, diaper changes are a common time for babies to accidentally fall – because adult caretakers may reach for a diaper and the baby may (surprise!) fall.

We were all little babies once, enjoy this special time and hold on, the best is yet to come! 

XOXO Dr. Jen 

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