Helping friends and family hold baby correctly
After the first few days and weeks of being a parent, holding your baby can feel as natural as taking those first steps out of bed in the morning (and chances are, you’ve got some serious muscles to show for it). But sooner or later, given the cuddliness of your new miniature-sized family member, you’re sure to be asked that inevitable question: “Can I hold her?” It’s hard to predict how your baby will respond to being held by someone new, as reactions can range from hunky-dory to downright fussy. Still, before making any newborn transactions, you can increase the odds of a smooth hand-off by offering her soon-to-be holder some sage advice.
- Keep it clean
your baby's immune system is as itty-bitty as the rest of her, which means that it's not quite ready to take on even some of the most routine threats. Take a moment before passing her into a new pair of hands to make sure those hands have been washed till they're germ-free, and that the person they're attached to hasn't been fighting off a cold, or something more serious.
- Mind the head.
Sometimes an admiring holder can be so taken by your baby’s cuteness that they’ll overlook the importance of protecting her developing neck muscles. When you pass your baby to the new holder, show them how to support her head with one hand while supporting her bottom with the other.
- Take it slow.
Any abrupt change of movement will almost certainly startle your baby. Ideally, it’s best to let someone new hold her for the first time while sitting. This makes the switch less noticeable for her.
- Rest on the chest.
One of the safest newborn-holding techniques involves allowing your baby to relax her head against your chest. Hearing the holder’s heartbeat and feeling so close can naturally comfort the newborn. Just be sure to remind your baby’s holder to ensure that your baby’s head is facing sideways while resting in this position so that her breathing isn’t obstructed.
- Try a little tender rocking.
In the event that your baby begins to whimper or cry, a gentle rocking motion of a few inches side-to-side or up-and-down can be a comforting remedy. Try encouraging your baby’s new holder to give this time-tested technique a shot if your baby starts to get vocal.
- Relax. You’ve got this.
Let’s face it: holding somebody else’s newborn can be both joyous and nerve-wracking! And because newborns are so physically sensitive, it won’t help matters if your baby’s holder begins tensing up. Giving the new holder confidence-boosting feedback on how they’re holding your newborn will make for a cucumber-cool cuddling session.
- “How should I hold the baby when I feed him?” West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources Department. WIC. Web.
- “How to hold and handle your newborn: in pictures.” RaisingChildren. Raising Children Network, July 28 2016. Web.
- “What’s the best way to hold a newborn baby?” NHS Choices. Gov.UK, March 20 2014. Web.
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