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Holding a Baby

  1. Wash your hands
  2. Get comfortable
  3. Provide support - When holding a new born, 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. New born babies lack the critical neck muscle control to keep their heads supported on their own.
  4. Choose your position

Cradle hold
The cradle hold is one of the easiest and best ways to hold your new born for the first several weeks of life:

  1. With your baby horizontal at your chest level, slide your hand from their bottom up to support their neck.
  2. Gently nudge baby’s head into the crook of your elbow.
  3. While still cradling their head, move your hand from the supporting arm to their bottom.
  4. Your free arm will be able to do other things or provide extra support.

Shoulder hold

  1. With baby’s body parallel with your own, lift their head to shoulder height.
  2. Rest their head on your chest and shoulder so they can look out behind you.
  3. Keep one hand on their head and neck, and your other supporting baby’s bottom. This position may also allow baby to hear your heartbeat.

Belly hold

  1. Lay your baby, stomach down, across your forearm with the head up toward your elbow.
  2. Their feet should land on either side of your hand, angled closer to the ground so the baby is at a slight angle.
  3. This position is helpful if baby is gassy and needs to be burped. Gently stroke baby’s back to work out the gas.

Lap hold

  1. Sit in a chair with your feet firmly on the ground and place your baby in your lap. Their head should be at your knees, face up.
  2. Lift their head up with both of your hands for support and your forearms under their body. Baby’s feet should be tucked in at your waist.

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