Become an expert in holding your baby!

Luis has never had a baby in his arms. A newborn baby seems so fragile that he is nervous and afraid. However, in a couple of months he will become a dad and it will be necessary for him to learn how to hold his baby.

If, like Luis, you are a new mother or father who is experiencing nervousness because you do not know anything about parenting, we have news that will reassure you: it is very difficult for people to drop a baby from their arms. This is assured by Azucena García Pacheco, an expert in baby care at the Prenatal Care Center: I am a Child Carer.

Stop imagining crazy things that won’t happen and start practicing holding your baby. Using a doll or a rolled-up blanket is a good idea to get started, practice makes perfect!

Step by step

To receive and hold a newborn baby, it is very important to do so safely and firmly. You should always hold the head and neck together, as well as the upper back with your hand. At this age they still cannot do it on their own. Head control will be achieved after three months of age.

There are different ways to carry a baby, but the most common is to carry it against the chest. The childcare worker García Pacheco explains it like this:

  • Identify which is your dominant arm, left or right because you are going to support most of the baby’s weight on it.
  • Place his neck on your arm.
  • Support the body with the other hand and arm.
  • Hold the head and neck with one hand and the body with the other hand.
  • Let the baby rest its head on your arm to give it stability.
  • Avoid sudden movements.

A baby needs to be held

There is a myth that if you carry a baby, it will get used to it. However, a newborn needs your arms for relief. Don’t be afraid to hold it! “If a child cries and calms down when you hug him, it is because he needs comfort and feel protected”, emphasizes García Pacheco.

The child development specialist points out that there is a lot of misinformation about it, and not holding a baby when it cries is “emotional negligence“. As adults, we are not only in charge of meeting the baby’s physical and feeding needs, but also the affective and emotional ones. “If you hold a baby and it calms down and stops crying, you shouldn’t hesitate to do it, do it for love and respect”, she says.

“Holding a newborn in the fetal or ‘belly hold’ position with its back rounded and knees dangling will give it peace of mind. This posture reminds it of the womb and will cry less”.

Azucena García Pacheco, expert in baby care.

The baby carrier can be your new best friend

For centuries, mainly women have lifted and carried their young close to them in shawls to keep their hands free. The use of a shawl or baby carrier satisfies the child’s need to feel safe and calm, while leaving the wearer’s hands free.

According to the Spanish Association of Pediatrics, in all cultures, both babies and young children have been baby-carried, so that adults can perform daily tasks or move more quickly, while still caring for them.

Baby-carrying allows a kid to adopt ergonomic postures that are in accordance with its anatomy, that do not hurt it and that favor its physical and emotional development. You just have to be aware that the shawl or the baby carrier does not rub against its skin, concludes the expert.

If a child cries and calms down when you hug him, it is because he needs you and needs to feel protected by someone who loves him.

Translated by: Ligia M. Oliver Manrique de Lara

Spanish version: Here

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