Any first time parents will tell you what a daunting thought it is to hold a baby for the first time. Add to that the tiny neck and the pressure of holding it in the right way is another big tension. You will get a lot of tips and instructions on how to hold a newborn the right way, even before the baby is handed over to you for the first time. It is obvious that your nerves will do the talking then, but at the same time it is important that you keep calm and go with the flow.
Newborn babies have very floppy necks because their muscles have not developed properly and also because it is the heaviest part of the body. The muscles will start developing within the coming few weeks, but till then you will have to give its neck the best support so that:
It is very essential to learn how to hold a newborn properly so that the baby is comfortable and any chances of injury are ruled out. However, that does not imply that you do not even touch your baby’s head. The membrane covering your baby’s skull is pretty strong to support the head.
Newborns have very little neck muscle control, and thus it becomes very important to support the head and the neck carefully. At least for the initial few months, you will need to be very careful when holding your baby by providing support at the head and the neck. However, you need not fret as all babies are extremely resilient and elastic – and are born with the startle or Moro reflex. Anything that will make your baby uncomfortable, will be responded with throwing off arms and legs in the air, and crying. By the time your baby is 3 months old, he will develop a fairly good control over his head and neck muscles, and this phase of clumsiness will end.
It is very important to your newborn’s head and neck while you pick him up. Newborn babies have very little neck-muscle control and are unable to balance their neck on their own. When picking your baby up, first slides one hand under her head for support, taking care not to press the soft spots on the head, and slide in the other hand under the baby’s hip. You will feel that the baby from head to toe is in your grip, and once you feel confident enough, you can pick the baby lifting him up and bringing him close to your chest.
The bottom line is, no matter in whichever position you hold your baby, remember, his muscles are still underdeveloped so it is your job to support him throughout his developmental phase especially his head and neck area.
Some folklore says that women on their periods must not hold newborn babies as it can cause some health problems to the baby. Most often, it is said that a baby held by a woman who is menstruating will get constipated. Now this holds no relevance in the scientific world whatsoever, and at the best can be attributed to hygiene practices that used to run in the country ages ago. Your best bet if such an advice comes your way – a hearty laugh!
The most common mistake new parents do is that they think it would not really hurt the baby if they do not support the neck a few times. This is wrong and parents need to ensure that they support the baby’s neck every time they pick him up. It is the worst thing they can do because your baby needs your support each and every time. Second thing is, parents become too conscious and too nervous. Not being calm and composed may lead your baby to be uncomfortable in your hold and sometimes in fatal positions. This should not happen. If you are anxious and nervous you will not hold the baby properly.
Yes, your baby is delicate but he won’t break! So, keep yourself calm, hold your baby in the right positions and enjoy the new bond of unconditional love.
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