How to Hold a Newborn Baby – Positions And Tips

6 min read

Written by Editorial Team

Editorial Team

How to Hold a Newborn Baby

For new mothers, the question, ‘how to hold a newborn baby?’ is a weighty one. Newborns can’t move their necks. So, in all the holding positions you will have to support their head and neck. In this article, you’re going to find out five completely safe baby-holding positions.

Do you know shaking a baby and throwing them in the air is dangerous? It can seriously injure your darling. Thus, pick up your little one with care, and don’t let the soft spots on their head touch any hard objects. Moreover, keep a baby cradle handy whenever someone else is holding your precious one. Read on to find out more about holding a baby.

In This Article

How Should You Pick up a Baby?

Gently place your hand below your baby’s head and support their buttocks with your other hand. Slowly lift your baby and hold them close to your chest. Give utmost care and support to your baby’s head whenever you hold or pick them up.
Why is it important to hold the newborn properly?

Your newborn is too small to have even a tiny bit of control over their neck muscles. And the head is a heavy part of their body. So raising them or holding them without supporting their head may give them some severe injuries.

What Are The Different Baby Holding Positions?

Before you pick up your baby, support their head and neck – this rule applies to all positions.

If you are not sure how to hold a newborn baby safely, refer to the guide below. Here we list various safe baby holding positions.

1. Hold Baby on Lap

Hold Baby on Lap

Keep your legs steady and take your baby onto your lap. Make sure that their head is close to your knee and their face looks above. Use both of your hands to support their head while your forearms are behind their back.

2. Hold Baby on Chair

Hold Baby on Chair

Babies who are always curious to gaze at the things that are going on in the front will like this position. This way of holding is also called ‘Hello World Hold’. Place one hand under your baby’s buttocks and the other one on their chest. Let their body and head lean onto your chest so they can see what’s happening in front of them (also your front).

3. Hip Hold

Hip hold

It’s important to note that Hip hold is advisable only when the baby crosses the three-month milestone. By then, they would be able to support their head with their neck muscles.

Put your baby around one of your hip bones with their stomach facing you. Hold your baby by grabbing their waist with your arm.

4. Shoulder Hold

Shoulder Hold

This position lets your baby hear your heartbeat. Pick up your newborn while ensuring that their body lifts in a straight and parallel position to your body. Tenderly put their head on your shoulder. Wrap one hand to support their neck and head while the other hand should be under their bum.

5. Face-to-Face Hold

Face-to-Face Hold

Interaction and bonding can be done in this position. Take care of their head and neck area by providing support with your stable hands. Now, maintain this support as you raise them a bit below your chest level. Your baby’s face should be towards you.

Common Mistakes You Should Avoid While Holding a Newborn

Holding a baby is simple but people still make these common mistakes which you must avoid to ensure your baby’s safety.

1. Focus Only on Your Baby; Don’t Multitask

Handling multiple tasks while holding a newborn is not safe. For instance, if you’re holding your baby while cooking or when your one hand is grabbing hot drinks, you may cause harm to them. Multitasking may make you stumble upon something, or even worse, you may accidentally drop your baby. Thus, pay your unwavering attention to your baby alone.

2. Don’t Make the Grave Mistake of Shaking Your Baby

Babies can be a source of frustration for the mother, especially when they seem to be crying non-stop. This is the time to exercise control over yourself. It is not a good practice to shake the baby to calm the baby in such a situation. Do this instead. Let your baby rest on their baby cradle if their crying makes you frustrated. Take a few minutes to calm down and return to your darling in a fresh mood. Now, you may pick them up.

Shaking a baby causes its brain to move around inside its skull. And this back and forth movement of the brain becomes the reason for swelling, bruising and bleeding.

3. Make Sure That the Others Are Also Holding Your Baby With Care

Your family members and friends may also want to pick up your baby. However, you have to make sure that they sit down before holding your little one. To be on the safe side, place the baby cradle near to the person who’s holding your baby.

4. Don’t Press the Two Soft Spots on Their Head While Holding

On an infant’s head, the anterior fontanelle above and the posterior fontanelle on the back are very soft regions. The posterior fontanelle will close within one or two months after birth. However, you will have to be careful with the soft area on the top as it’s not going to close until your baby is around two years old. While you hold your baby, these delicate areas in their head should not get pressed.

A few more tips on how to hold a newborn baby so that they don’t face any harm.

  • Make hand sanitizing a ritual for yourself and everyone who wishes to hold your baby.
  • Always support your infant’s neck and head if you want to pick them up or hold them. Ask everyone to do it also.
  • Never let anyone jiggle your baby on their knee, nor allow any person to play with them by throwing them in the air.

[Read : What Are The Soft Spots On My Baby’s Head?]

Tips For Holding a Baby in The Right Way

Tips For Holding a Baby in The Right Way

The following are the best tips that will keep your little one safe as you hold them.

1. Sanitize

Whenever you wish to pick up your baby, remember that their immunity to fight germs is very low. Thus, maintain proper hygiene before skin-to-skin contact.

2. Relax

Understandably, you want maximum safety as you hold your baby because they’re too delicate at this stage. However, you may accidentally drop the baby if you get too anxious or nervous. First, relax, and keep in mind that you’re going to do this loving act every day. So, get comfortable with it.

[Read : Dropping A Baby Accidents]

3. Support Their Head and Neck

As mentioned before, always support their head and neck muscles before you pick your little one. Moreover, ensure that the soft spots on their head don’t bump into anything.

Now you know how to hold a newborn baby. However, you should also take care of your back – straighten up your spine while holding or picking up your baby. After all, your precious one needs lots of rides with you holding them up.


1. How to Hold Your Baby After Breastfeeding?

After breastfeeding is done, hold your baby in the shoulder hold position. Newborns take in some air while they’re sucking. So, they should be burped after breastfeeding. While you’re holding them, gently pat their back.

2. How to Hold Your Newborn While Bathing?

Let your newborn rest their head on one hand and their bum on another. Place them in a baby bathtub. Continue to support their head once you keep them in the bathtub. Their head and the maximum portion above their waist should not dip into the water.

3. How to Hold a Crying Baby?

Shoulder hold and face-to-face hold are the best positions for calming a crying baby. Sway them very slowly in this position. In the face-to-face hold position, you can also make faces or smile at them.

Read Also: Bonding With Your Baby – Why is it Important?

Editorial Team,

With a rich experience in pregnancy and parenting, our team of experts create insightful, well-curated, and easy-to-read content for our to-be-parents and parents at all stages of parenting.Read more.

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