Even the biggest baby is small for a grown man, so his fears about dropping or hurting his child may result in him leaving all the baby duties to his partner until his child walks and talks. We want to help fathers get involved from day one, so here’s what you need to know when it comes to handling your newborn baby.
The head is the heaviest part of a baby’s body and they are born with very little neck control – their necks are floppy. If not supported, they can spasm very painfully and your baby can be in distress. Born with the startle or Moro reflex your little one will react if feeling uncomfortable; however, at three months they develop substantial control over their head and neck muscles. It is daunting to hold your baby for the first time, but if you follow these tips, it should be a breeze.
“The rule of thumb is to always support a baby’s neck.”
The right hold
- Keep your hands clean as your baby’s immunity post birth is incredibly weak.
- Newborn babies have very little neck-muscle control and are unable to balance their neck on their own.
- Hold your baby in the cradle position with the head supported.
- Take care not to press the soft spots on the head.
- At all times, remember to support your baby’s neck first. Glide your hand under your baby’s head and support the neck when you are picking them up while your fingers support their head.
- Make sure that you open your fingers wide to give firm support. Use the other hand to slide under their bottom from between the two legs. Both hands are supporting your little one so you can lift them up.
- Make sure they are snug against your chest as you stand upright and place them in the cradle position.
- Always keep your baby’s head higher than their bottom. If you want to change from cradle position, place your baby’s head on your shoulders and support their bottom with your hands.
- If taking the baby on your shoulder, keep supporting their neck and head with the palm of your hand so that the baby’s neck does not move in a jarring way.
- Hold your baby close to your chest such that their face rests on your chest. Support them with your hands from the bottom and keep your other hand firmly on their neck and head.
- When you want to switch hands, make sure you keep one of your hands under your baby’s head every time.
- Once you and your baby are comfortable in a particular position, make the most of that time and enjoy bonding with your baby – talking, singing and just absolutely adoring your cherub.
- Get naked! Your little baby craves your smell and the feel of your skin. Hold them close on your chest to help calm them and get them to sleep.
- Remove any objects from your body that could scratch the baby, like your watch and other jewellery.
- Ensure that your baby feels calm and secure by talking to them in calm, soothing tones and make shushing sounds, mimicking the sound of the womb.
Take a deep breath, be calm and savour every second with your little cherub. The rule of thumb is to always support a baby’s neck. If you do, there is no reason to feel anxious or stressed.