When you’re a new parent or a new uncle or a new friend of a friend’s baby, picking up and holding a baby can feel like an intimidating and high-stakes task.While it’s natural to feel nervous about holding a baby, it’s important to stay calm and confident. Remember that babies won’t remember and that if you screw up (unless you drop the kid), you’ll likely get a second chance. Still, it’s a human life and so it makes both practical and moral sense to have a basic notion of baby holding best practices. Fortunately, babies don’t weigh very much so it isn’t terribly difficult to support their little baby bodies without throwing out your back.
How to Hold A Baby
- Pick up babies with one hand under their head and the other under their bottom.
- Bring your baby close to your chest and let their headrest there for support.
- Make sure not to press the soft, undeveloped spots on their head, which are called fontanelles.
- If you’re holding a baby for a prolonged period of time, hold him or her at your side so their legs hug your back and front. Use your bicep rather than the hand, wrist, or forearm to bear the weight. Face your palm up. If you can’t hold the baby at your side, keep it as close to your spine or midline as possible and using your biggest muscles.
- Move their head to your shoulder, using your hand to support their neck and head.
- Consciously switch sides when carrying a baby on the hip to make sure that your body is balanced.
- Distribute the weight of the baby as much as possible in order to keep a body in good alignment and balance.
- Don’t worry too much if their head flops side to side, it may be slightly uncomfortable for a baby, but the risk of major damage is actually minimal. Do worry about a baby’s head flopping forward, which can cause major issues as a result of restricted airways.
- If you’re going to be holding a baby a lot, do some exercise. A short, simple core exercise routine for 15 minutes every-other-day will help protect from injuries and increase strength.