Knowing how to hold a baby is an essential part of all parenting (at least I hope it is). There are few things better in this world than the feeling of holding your baby for the first time, and every time after that.
While learning how to hold a baby might be a nerve-wracking experience, it doesn't have to make you want to pass out. There are many ways to hold a baby and plenty of chances to get it right. Don't worry, you'll be fine!
Baby Is Coming: Don't Panic!
You look across the room, and you know what is about to happen. The nurse is bringing your baby over, and it's time for you to hold him.
Your nerves by this point have probably caused you to break out in a sweat, and everything has suddenly gone blurry.
Of course, that is a serious exaggeration. If you're prepared to hold your baby, you'll have nothing to worry about!
Wash your mitts
Babies don't have a strong immune system yet, so it's important to go in after sanitizing your hands and arms as much as possible.
If you're sick, wear a mask over your face when you hold your baby for the first time. Make sure you lather up and wash your hands with hot water before the baby comes.
Get warm and cozy
The last thing you want is to feel uncomfortable when you're holding your baby for the first time. They say learning how to hold a baby is instinctual, but it's not when your arms have fallen asleep.
You never know when a newborn will fall asleep, so make sure you have a comfortable place to rest your arms and if possible. Try to have some pillows around to prop you up when you get tired.
Don’t forget to ensure that your baby is wearing something comfortable as well because an uncomfortable baby can be fussy and hard to hold.
Time to Hold Your Baby
The time has finally come. You're going to get to hold your beautiful baby for the first time. How do you feel?
Are you nervous? Anxious? Excited? You might feel all of these emotions. To help ease your worries, make sure you have the essential baby holding positions down. That will help you keep him comfortable and safe in your arms.
Best positions to hold the baby
Below are some of the best positions for someone who is learning how to hold a baby. Experiment with each of these, and eventually, you'll find the one that you're comfortable using and that your baby loves.
The cradle hold is the most common and easiest way to hold a newborn when they are first born. You'll place their head in the joint of your arm with their rear supported by the hand of that arm.
If you need to, you can use your empty hand to support their head a little more when necessary. This position keeps your baby close to you, and it works well for those first breastfeeding sessions as well.
I cannot tell you how many times my younger son fell asleep and drooled all over my shoulder. If you hold your baby on your shoulder, expect to carry a few cloths around the house with you at all times.
You'll hold your baby upright and rest their head on your shoulder, so they are looking behind you. Use your hand to support their rear and one behind their head in case they try to move around.
This position works great for burping and gas pains, especially with premature babies. You'll lay your baby stomach-down on your forearm with their head around the joint of your arm.
Their feet should hang slightly or be supported the hand you're using to hold. You can use your other hand to support their head, rub their back, or stroke them for comfort.
This position holds a special place in my heart. My son was a colic baby, so he was always fussy. We had to do whatever we could to get him to sleep (and for our sanity).
Getting him all cozy in some comfy pajamas and laying him down in my lap was the best way to get him to sleep.
For this one, you'll lay your baby down with his head around your knees and his feet down around your belly. This position also works well for bottle feeding.
How to Hold a Baby: Bonus Tips
Now that you fully understand how to hold a baby, you can get creative with some tips from one parent to another.
Be sure to always support your babies neck. They don't have the strength to hold their head up, so it's important that you pay special attention to this area.
If you're nervous about holding your baby, stay seated when holding them. You'll always have extra support this way.
Don't allow anything to press up against your baby's fontanel (soft spot). This area of your baby's head is sensitive, so be extra careful with this.
Know when to put your baby down. If you feel exhausted, frustrated, or upset, put your baby down in their crib and take a few deep breaths. It happens to the best of us, and you might need a minute.
Only Tears of Joy
Every parent will always tell you the same thing. "You can never be fully ready to have a baby," and that is the truth. While you'll never really be ready, you can prepare yourself by researching and studying like you are now.
Be sure to drop us a comment and let us know if you have tips or tricks to help other new parents learn how to hold a baby!
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