Holding your newborn baby is both exciting and scary.
The First Time
When you are handed your newborn baby for the first time your heart races as you tentatively reach out to encompass the tiniest person you have ever seen! It is so exciting! Immediately you are cautioning yourself to be very careful, to support the head, and to somehow manage all of those floppy parts in unison to make holding more comfortable for both of you. You are grateful when the nurse swaddles your baby in a blanket. With everything contained you can now relax and enjoy your new baby.
Perhaps This Will Help
There is an easy and delightful trick that will help you learn to hold your newborn with confidence. Try holding your baby without a blanket!
To make this time together more enjoyable for your baby, make sure your hands are warm, and the room is warm too. For your peace of mind, make sure you are seated in the middle of a bed so there’s no chance of dropping your baby.
Start by unwrapping your newborn, placing your baby in a sitting position in your lap, then using both hands to support your baby’s body, neck, and head. As your baby uses arms and legs to try to maintain balance, your gentle support will help your baby gain control. You will learn together during this symphony of checks and balances.
Although you will find it delightful to discover your newborn this way, try it for just a few minutes at a time because your baby, like you, will be working hard to gain control and coordination. Learning to manage all of those newborn baby parts is work … for both of you
I hope you enjoy these special, tender moments learning about your newborn.
For you and yours,
D. Fravert, RN
Video: If you would like to see how this little trick actually works, and build your confidence before you start, you’ll see how 3 week old Vanessa responds to being held this way in “Holding Your Newborn” in Newborn Baby Manual. I think you will like it.
Perhaps you have already noticed … your baby is smart!
Even your newborn gets this praise. Babies, from Day 1 of life, are smart. They are born with a way of “talking” to us that doesn’t necessarily involve crying. Many of us think of crying as the only way babies have to let us know what they need, but that’s not true.
Actually, your baby is born with a set of body-language cues that let you know, way before the crying starts, what your baby needs. Let’s take a look at hunger. When your baby is hungry you need to know, right? It’s good for ensuring the survival of the human race.
So, Mother Nature gave your baby a few cues to let you know. At first, your baby may use the body-language cue known as rooting. Rooting is a combination of sucking on fingers or fists, flailing hands, and turning the head as if looking for something. These body gestures alone are reliable signals to let you know your baby is hungry.
An earlier post “How Do I Know If My Baby Is Hungry?” offers a video demonstration of rooting.