The Basics of Carrying your Newborn

Carrying your newborn for the first time may be a bit daunting

During pregnancy, your womb provides a safe, snug and cosy environment for your precious little baby.

So it’s no wonder that from the moment your little one is born, he wants to be held closely as much as possible. This skin-to-skin contact is essential to warm your baby and to help him regulate his breathing, as well as to soothe him.

Carrying and holding such a fragile little baby may be a bit daunting for first-time parents, but if you spend some time each day to just hold your baby close and get to know him, you may start to feel more confident.

It’s actually really important to learn how to carry your newborn properly as babies are born with rounded backs, so their spines will have to straighten out over the next few months. If you carry your baby the right way you will be doing a lot to help the process along.

Remember to let other people, such as your partner, carry your newborn often!

Here are some great tips about learning how to carry your baby.

Getting used to carrying your baby

  • Before you lift your baby, be sure to talk to him so that he is aware of your presence – you do not want to startle him.
  • Carefully support his little neck and head when you pick him up, and make sure his head remains supported the entire time, even when you lay him back down.
  • If your baby is lying face down, gently slip one arm under his chin and neck, and the other around his thighs. Now you can turn him around while maintaining support throughout.
  • Now that you have picked up your baby, you can carry him around. The most common way to carry a newborn is to tuck him close to your heart and let his head rest on your shoulder. Be sure to support his neck with one hand, while your other hand is firmly underneath his bum.

Different ways to carry your baby

There is more than one way to carry your baby, and as he gets older, he will need less spinal support.

Once your baby is about 6 months old, you can start with one-handed holds, or carry him around in a sling, pouch or baby seat.

It is actually important to hold your baby in different ways to prevent what’s known as ‘plagiocephaly’.

This is a condition where your baby develops ‘flat spots’ on his head – quite literally – if he remains in one position for too long (KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital).

Soon, you’ll find a carrying position that’s just perfect for both you and baby!

Here are some different positions to hold your baby:

Rock-a-bye baby

Hold your baby in the crook of either arm, slightly inclined. Steady him with the lower part of your arm and your hand. Use your free arm to give him a bit of extra support where needed. This snug and secure hold allows an infant to curl up in a comforting fetal position. 

Colic cinch

Lie your baby facedown along your forearm, the side of his head in your hand, his arms (and legs) straddling your arm like an airplane. Put your other hand on his back. You can also try moving your arm up and down to give him a tummy massage. 

Hello world

Support your baby's back against your chest by placing one arm under his bottom and the other across his chest. This hold is good for babies who like to see what's going on around them.