Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to hold your newborn infant.
Step 1: Wash 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. While lathering with soap and warm water works well, consider keeping hand sanitizer around for guests who also want to cuddle your little one. Clean your hands each time before holding your baby.
Step 2: Get 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. Seasoned fathers at the blog “Dads Adventures” suggest that it takes around five minutes to get comfortable with the idea of holding your newborn.
It’s OK to feel a bit freaked out at first. Give it time, and remember to breathe!
Step 3: Provide support
When holding a newborn, it’s very important to always have a hand to support the head and neck. After all, your baby’s head is the heaviest part of their body at birth. 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. This milestone isn’t usually reached until closer to the fourth month of life.
Step 4: Choose your position
Holding starts with picking baby up. 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 you and your baby might enjoy. Some of these positions are also great for breast-feeding or burping. Experiment by trying different ones to see what feels the best to both of you.