For newbie parents, holding their baby for the first time can be intimidating. It’s understandable if you get nervous — they’re so small and fragile that the thought of carrying them in your arms feels like you’re going to break something precious.
To help you feel more at ease, here are some suggestions how to safely (and gently!) hold your little one. But first, a few reminders:
Wash your hands. Make sure your hands are clean and sanitized before you hold the baby. Her immune system is still developing at this stage and infections can easily be transferred through dirty hands. This rule is for everyone, including family and friends, who will visit the baby (they can hold, but discourage kissing!).
Be confident. Your baby will be able to tell if you’re feeling nervous when you’re holding her. Make sure you’re in a comfortable position when handling your newborn.
Support your baby. For the first three months, the most crucial thing is to support baby’s head and neck. Don’t press on the soft spots on her head (called fontanelles). After this stage, your baby will be able to develop better control of her head and neck muscles so that you can hold her without fear.
Safely pick up baby. Place one hand under the head and your other hand at the bottom. Raise baby to your chest.
Some babies love being held in certain positions. Try these methods to see what she likes!
1. Shoulder hold
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This position will feel the most natural to new parents (just look at Camille Prats’ husband, John Yambao) and it will also allow baby to start exploring her surroundings as she looks behind you.
How to do it: Hold your baby’s body parallel to yours then lift her to your shoulder. Rest her head on your shoulder and gently support her head and neck using one hand. Let your other hand rest on the bottom.
After three months, if your baby can control his head and neck, you can move to holding him steady at the hips (look at Iya Villania holding baby Primo with confidence!). He’ll have a better view of his surroundings this way.
How to do it: Face baby outward and have him sit on your hip bones. Wrap one arm around his waist and place your hand on the bottom for more support.
6. Chair hold
Your baby will love to be in this position (Japoy Lizardo’s Baby Jace certainly looks comfy) especially if he wants to see what’s going on around him. It’s like he’s sitting on a chair, but he’s getting body warmth from mom and dad! But be warned, don’t hold your baby this way if he’s three months.
How to do it: Have your baby lean back and rest his head on your chest for proper support. Secure one hand across her chest so he won’t lean on the sides. Place your other hand under her bottom to keep her stable.
7. Lap hold
This hold is a great way to hold the baby (look at Joe Magno’s smilewhilecarrying baby Brooklyn!) when you’re seated or if you’re feeding the baby with a bottle.
How to do it: Take your baby and lay her down on your lap, making sure that your feet are placed firmly on the ground. If your baby is below three months, place both of your hands beneath her head for support with your forearms tucking her on the sides. Tuck her feet in by your waist.
Keep in mind that your baby’s head should always be free, so he can breathe properly. You should also check his mood. If he’s fussy or crying, he might not be comfortable so change her position. Keep trying different holds that will make both of you comfortable — you’ll eventually learn what he likes best!