How to Hold a Baby Tips
Whether you are a first-time parent, an experienced caregiver, or simply visiting friends or family who have a baby, you will be faced with the question of whether you want to hold the infant? At this point, you may feel blind panic or just a little concern because you are out of practice.
Even those of us who have a lot of experience can feel nervous when thinking about how to hold a baby. This is largely because we all fear the moment we pick up a baby and they begin to cry. If an infant cries we will be faced with a barrage of question from the parents, including checking whether you knew how to hold a baby.
1. Preparing to Hold the Baby
Whether you already know how to hold a baby or not, you should make sure you fit into the guidelines set out by the parents of the infant to make sure they are safe and well throughout your time holding the infant. Among the steps many parents now insist upon are:
- Wash your hands or sanitize
- Do not stand when holding the baby
- Think about whether you are feeling sick or unwell
- All children should be accompanied and supervised by an adult
The issue of washing your hands should be the first one addressed with all adults understanding a baby is yet to form their immune system completely.
If you have had children yourself you understand the desire for a parent to protect their newborn at all costs, even if that means upsetting some visitors by asking them to wash their hands.
One tip many parents use is the keep a pump bottle of sanitizer on hand for unexpected guests to use when they wish to hold your baby. If you are looking to protect your baby from an infection you should ask whether a visitor has been sick rather than whether they know how to hold a baby. Sick babies don’t like to sleep, so try to avoid spreading germs or you may have some parents upset with you.
2. Deciding How to Hold the Baby
There are many different ways to hold a baby with the majority of adults looking to complete the simple to master the cradle hold which is often the simplest and most comfortable for the majority of people. There are many different ways you can show you know how to hold a baby, including the shoulder hold, hip hold, and the belly hold. Choosing how to hold a baby should be done with the aid of the parents to make sure you are not upsetting them with the way you choose to pick up their infant.
The cradle hold
The cradle hold is one of the easiest for you to use to show you know how to hold a baby as this is the most natural for most parents. A baby can’t hold his/her head up yet, so it’s your job to do so.
A newborn baby needs their head, spine, and hips to be supported by the holder. To achieve this the holder will place the head of the baby in the crook of their elbow and wrap their arm around the infant to provide this much-needed support.
This position is one of the most impressive as it allows the holder to wrap their free arm around the dominant holding arm to keep the baby close to their body and safe from falling. The cradle hold has become a popular one as the majority of new mothers use this option to breastfeed their child. The comfort provided for the baby is another reason this hold has become so popular as the infant can be supported easily and feels the warmth of the body of the holder.
The belly hold
You may know how to hold a baby but the belly hold is one which can look rather uncomfortable for the onlooker. The basis of this hold is the need for a baby to be burped when they have gas and needs to be placed on their belly to make sure the air moves out of their body.
Learning how to hold a baby when they are filled with gas is easy when you know how to complete the belly hold. Similarly, you may want to familiarize yourself with how to burp a baby. While you’re at it, prepare yourself for baby spit up.
The belly hold begins with the baby placed over the forearm of the holder and the fingers used to support the head. The second arm is usually placed over the back of the baby to provide extra security and support.
Most parents choose to sit down when using this hold as it is not the most secure and they can bounce their legs to aid in relieving gas. The belly hold is not usually used for sleeping as the majority of experts agree there is an added danger of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome when babies sleep on their chest because of a lack of air being taken in.
The shoulder hold
Babies of all ages love to be held and sleep in this position which brings them a large amount of comfort based on the fact they can hear your heart beating. This reminds babies of life inside the womb.
The basic hold is based on the baby being leaned against your chest with their head resting on your shoulder. It is vital you lift baby high enough to have their nose and mouth in the open to let them breathe easily.
Your arm on the same side as you are holding the baby is usually used to provide support for the infant by being wrapped around their bottom. The second hand can be placed on the back of the infant for added support.
The hip hold
A hip hold is an option often chosen by those who know how to hold a baby of all ages.
The amount of support needed for the hip hold is minimal and means this is a good option for older babies who have the ability to support their own head and shoulders.
Using the hip hold is easy and can be done standing to allow you to move around with ease. Firstly, place your baby with their bottom on your hip bone and wrap your arm around them to provide them with some support.
3. Protect the Soft Spots
Firstly, a newborn baby does not have the ability to support their own head or shoulders as this is the heaviest area on their body. Whether you are experienced and know how to hold a baby or are holding an infant for the first time you should always support the head and neck with your hand or arm.
Always look to protect the fontanelles, which are two soft spots on the head where the skull has not completely formed. These are found at the front and rear of the head and are often pressed when a nervous holder does not know how to hold a baby. These soft spots will harden over time as the skull forms completely over these areas and makes it easy for the baby to be held safely.
4. Don’t Multitask When Holding a Baby
Another consideration you should not underestimate is how to protect your baby from the everyday issues caused by life. Multitasking when holding your baby is never a good option as your focus will shift away from holding your baby in a secure way. If you know how to hold a baby you understand your focus should be completely on the infant and not on other tasks. Cooking can be a particularly dangerous act to undertake when holding a baby as hot liquids and food can splash your child and cause injuries.
There are a few considerations to keep in mind when you are looking to learn how to hold a baby safely.
No matter how old your child is you should always be sure you know how to safely hold a baby of their age. Keeping them safe in your arms is one of the easiest things you can do for the comfort of your child.