You may be shocked at how fragile your newborn looks particularly if you have little or no experience of holding a baby. You won’t necessarily know how to do it instinctively but it will help your confidence if you know you know the correct way of holding and handling your precious little newborn. Here’s how:
The first cuddle
Emotions are high and your baby will need reassuring. I recommend being propped up in a bed (usually a hospital one) and placing your newborn on your chest (on his tummy), particularly if you plan to breastfeed. There is nothing like skin to skin between mother and baby. I wouldn’t worry too much about the ‘how’s’ as there will be a midwife to help you, however, if skin to skin is important to you, ensure it is in your birth plan and you or your partner have told the midwife this.
Picking baby up
Your newborns head is large and heavy when compared to the rest of his body, his neck muscles aren’t strong enough to support the weight of it. When picking your baby up, slide one hand under his head and the other under his bottom, you can then manoeuvre him into the position you want. The most popular way of holding a baby is either cradling or placing him on your shoulder.
If you have picked your newborn up as stated above and you want to cradle, you will want your newborns head to rest in the arm that is supporting his head. To do this, bring your little one close to your chest, slide the hand that is holding his bottom up to support his head (so your arm is under his back), at the same time, slowly move the hand that was supporting his head around his body to his bottom, his head should now be resting on your arm and your other hand can be free. This position is perfect for eye contact, talking and sleeping.
On your shoulder
Your baby’s head can rest on your shoulder but it will need supporting if you are walking around or going up and down stairs etc. one hand will always need to be under his bottom supporting his weight. This position is great for closeness as your newborn may be able to feel your heartbeat and is also good for winding (burping).
Passing baby around Everyone will want to have a cuddle with your newborn and some will be more experienced than others, the safest way to pass a newborn to someone else is to have them sitting down with their arms in the cradle position, you then pick your baby up as stated above and gently place him into the other persons arms. This is particularly good for children or elderly people want a turn!
Try to handle your newborn confidently, this will help to reassure him and make him feel safe and secure. This is fundamental to having a content happy baby. Remember, never shake your baby, never throw (in play or otherwise) or drop him and always support his head. If you do that, you won’t go far wrong. I hope you found this post helpful.