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How to properly hold a newborn

How to… pick up and hold a newborn

New parents and relatives often express fear about holding their brand-new bundle of joy. After all, newborns appear so delicate and fragile.
Woman holding newborn

It’s not difficult to put the new baby safely in your arms; just follow these guidelines from Blythe Lipman, baby and toddler expert. Pick up the baby -- she won’t break. Really!

Step 1: Proper support

Always make sure the baby’s neck is properly supported. The baby's neck muscles will not be strong enough to hold up his head on his own for a number of weeks.

Step 2: Swaddled baby

Put one hand under the baby’s neck and the other hand under her bottom. Place her in the crook of your arm, once again making sure her head is properly supported.

Step 3: Upright baby

If you want to put the baby on your shoulder for burping or soothing, gently place him on your shoulder, keeping a hand behind his head so he won’t flip backward.

Step 4: Unswaddled pickup

This is done essentially the same as for a swaddled baby, but be aware of her loose limbs for balance. To move to upright position, place her on your shoulder, being careful to support the neck.

Step 5: Alternative holds

Once your baby is a little bigger and his neck is a little stronger, you can turn him around and place him against your torso. Put one hand across his chest and support his little behind with the other. This way he can look out and see the world!

Babies love to be cuddled and need human touch as much as they need nourishment. Be careful to support baby’s head and neck, but don’t be afraid to cradle your precious new arrival.

More newborn tips

Baby tips for new moms
Newborn head control
Breastfeeding help

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