Handling Your New Born Baby
Moments after your baby is born, she will be put in your arms to hold. No one needs to tell you what to do; it will be instinctive to hold her close to you, touch her, stroke her and look at her in wonder and amazement! You may lie together in the delivery room, holding her quite some time as you start to get to know each other; this skin to skin contact will be soothing and calming for both of you. Recent research indicates that having lengthy close physical contact with your baby in the first hour after birth strengthens the bonding process and improves your mothering skills, helping you become more confident and intuitive.
Handling your newborn baby
looking at your newborn and marveling at how tiny and vulnerable she is may make you worry about holding her and hurting her. Don’t be nervous. It will come naturally to you to be gentle with your baby and to avoid making sudden noises or movements that may startle her. Remember, newborn babies are mush stronger than they look.
Supporting the head
Until your baby is about four weeks old she will very little control of her head. You may have noticed how big her head is in comparison with the rest of her body – it makes up 25 per cent of her total body weight. As her neck muscles are very weak you need to help support her head whenever you are holding, lifting or crying her around. She will need her head supported for the first three months.
Picking up your baby
Your newborn will spend most of her time lying flat on her back when you are not holding her. Tiny babies don’t wriggle or move very much so they are easier to pick up. When you pick your baby up from lying down, make sure that all your movements are gentle and smooth.
Back Support method
This is probably the method you should try first and is the easiest way to pick up your baby when she is lying down. This is also the method that gives your baby the most support so it is particularly good for very young babies.
1- Slide your other hand underneath your baby's head with the base of your hand supporting her neck and your fingers cupping her head.
2- Slide your other hand underneath her bottom and lower back.
3- Gently but confidently, lift her towards you, to hold her in one of the different carrying methods (See on Page 9-10).
Under the arm method
This is particularly useful when picking up your baby from a car seat or other sitting position, although you can use it to pick up a baby who is lying down, too. It is the easiest way to pick up an older baby.
Put your hands underneath your baby’s arms with your thumbs on her chest and your fingers stretched up to support the back of her head.
Lift her up gently and bring her towards you to hold her in a carrying position.
Carrying your baby
There are many different ways to carry your baby and you will need to experiment to find the most comfortable position for you and the most enjoyable for your baby. Sometimes she will want to be comfortable and held close to you; sometimes she will want to face out and look at the world around her; other times she will want to be rocked. Here are some different positions you can try:
1- Cradle carry position: this is a nice position for looking at your baby. Place her head in the crook of your arm while your hand supports her under her bottom. Her spine will rest against your forearm. Use your other arm to give additional support across her body, cradling her head in your hand. As you become more confident at handling your baby, you will be able to hold her in this position with just one hand.
2- Upright position: This is a good way to carry your baby when she is a sleep. Hold her with her head to one side against your shoulder and her body close to you. Use one arm to support her underneath her bottom and the other arm to hold her head and back. The slight pressure on her tummy may help if she is windy.
3- Over the shoulder position: this is similar to the upright position and is equally good for relieving windy tummies. However, instead of holding her head against your shoulder, raise her up a little so that her tummy is against your shoulder and her head and neck are resting over it. Support her bottom with one hand and her head with the other.
4- Tummy position: this position seems to comfort a lot of babies. Again it can help bring up wind and can also be used to help relieve colic. Hold your baby so that she is lying with her tummy along your forearm, and her head in the crook of your arm. Her head should face away from you. Place your baby other arm between her legs to hold her securely.
5- Outward-facing position: your baby will like this position, particularly when she is feeling sociable or board. Hold her so that she faces outwards and can see what is going on around her. Make a seat under her bottom with one hand and put your other arm across her chest.