Tori Kropp, RN / Baby Care Basics


They're tiny. They're vulnerable. But not as delicate as they seem. These simple pointers will help you learn to hold your infant with confidence.

– To avoid startling a newborn, always lift her slowly. If she's awake, make your presence known through eye contact or a cheerful greeting.

– You can ease the transition from mattress to your arms by placing your hands under her back and leaving them there for several moments before you try to lift her.

– When you're ready to pick her up, lean in as close as possible to reduce the time your baby spends traveling through the air.

– Until she can hold her head up on her own, you'll need to support it by cradling her neck with your hand or arm. Beyond that, it's a matter of experimenting until you find the position that your baby enjoys. Some want to be snuggled up close, others are only happy when they're able to face the world.

Below are three common holds you can try:

The cradle hold: Let baby rest his head in the crook of you arm. Use your free hand to support his bottom and back.

Tummy hold: Balance your baby face down on one arm, using the crook of your arm to support his neck. His chest and abdomen should rest on your forearm. For additional support, place your free hand between your baby's legs and under your other arm. This position – sometimes called the colic hold -- can be particularly soothing to a baby with a gassy tummy.

Burping Hold: Use one hand to support your baby's neck while holding it against your shoulder. Use your free hand to support your baby's bottom.

– When laying your newborn back down again, keep your hands underneath him for a few moments before making a break. This will make the transition from arms to mattress less disturbing.