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This skin-on-skin contact goes a long way towards making your baby feel safe and cared.

How do you hold a newborn, and why does it matter?

How do you hold a newborn, and why does it matter?

In this blog:

Why holding your newborn properly is important

Must-do activities before holding your newborn

3 comfortable positions to hold your newborn for maximum benefit

Holding mistakes to avoid



The birth of your baby is an exciting and incredibly special time in your life. As you navigate this exciting journey, one of the most important skills you’ll learn is how to hold your precious bundle of joy. It may seem like a simple task, but mastering the art of holding a newborn is crucial for their safety, comfort, and development.

In this blog, we’ll explore the best practices on how do you hold a newborn and why it matters, including the proper techniques and positions to ensure their comfort and safety.

Why is holding a newborn properly important?

The first time you hold your newborn baby - their tiny body nestled in your arms –  in that moment, you become their protector, their comforter, their world.

Holding your newborn correctly is not just about ensuring their physical safety, although that is paramount, but also laying the foundation for a strong parent-child bonding. How you hold a newborn has a profound impact on their well-being as you’re sending across a powerful message that says, “I am here for you. I will always keep you safe.”

Proper techniques on how do you hold a newborn

Newborn holding requires gentle and careful handling to ensure their safety and comfort. Here are some general steps you must keep in mind when it comes to how to hold a newborn:

1. Wash your hands: Before picking up a newborn, wash your hands thoroughly or sanitize to reduce the risk of spreading germs.

2. Support the head: Newborns have weak neck muscles and cannot support their heads, so always ensure you support their head and neck when picking them up or holding them.

3. Cradle their head: Place one hand under the baby’s head and neck, with your forearm supporting their back and bottom. Use your other hand to support their bottom.

4. Keep them close: Hold the baby close to your chest to provide a sense of security and warmth. This skin-on-skin contact goes a long way towards making your baby feel safe and cared.

5. Check for comfort: Ensure the baby’s head is not flopping backward or forward, and they are not in any discomfort.

Mistakes to avoid when holding a newborn

Now that you know how to get started, you must also know what not to do when holding a newborn. Avoiding these mistakes is necessary for the child's well-being and ensuring proper growth and development. 

1. Incorrect positioning: Avoid holding your baby in positions that could restrict their breathing or put pressure on their abdomen. Make sure their face is visible, and  airways are clear.

2. Shaking or jostling: Never shake or jostle your newborn, as this can cause serious harm and even lead to shaken baby syndrome.  If you need to wake a sleeping baby, gently stroke their cheek or gently tickle their feet.

3. Ignoring cues: Pay attention to your baby's cues and signals. Ignoring their cries or signs of discomfort can lead to increased stress and anxiety.

4. Ignoring your own comfort: Holding a newborn for extended periods can be tiring. Make sure you're in a comfortable position to avoid strain or discomfort.

5. Not asking for help: If you're unsure about how to hold your newborn safely, don't hesitate to ask for help from a healthcare provider or experienced caregiver.

Avoiding these common mistakes while holding your newborn can help ensure their safety, comfort, and well-being. By being attentive, gentle, and informed, you can create a nurturing environment that fosters bonding and promotes a positive start to your parenting journey.

How do you hold a newborn (3 Positions and benefits explained)

Now that you are prepped with the basic guidelines on how to hold a newborn let’s discuss some ways that align with the montessori approach to follow the child and their cues that can help you hold your little bub:

1. Cradle Hold: This is one of the most common ways to hold a newborn. Hold your baby’s head in the crook of your arm with their body resting on your forearm. Use your other hand to support their bottom.

This hold allows for easy eye contact between you and your baby, which is important for bonding and communication.For breastfeeding mothers, the cradle hold can be a comfortable and effective position for nursing. It allows for easy access to the breast and promotes a good latch.

2. Football Hold: Also known as the “clutch hold,” this is a beneficial way to hold a newborn, particularly for breastfeeding mothers. For this hold, tuck your baby's body under your arm like a football, with their head cradled in your hand and their body along your forearm.

This hold supports your baby’s head and neck and is more comfortable for breastfeeding as it helps reduce pressure on the breast, which may be helpful for mothers who experience nipple pain or discomfort while breastfeeding. Babies with reflux or who spit up frequently may benefit from the football hold, as it keeps them in a more upright position, which can help reduce symptoms of reflux.

3. Upright Hold: The upright hold allows your baby to be held in a natural and comfortable position against your chest. Hold your baby against your chest, with their head resting on your shoulder. Use one hand to support their bottom and the other to support their head and neck. This position can be soothing for newborns and may help them feel secure.

Holding your baby upright after feeding can help facilitate burping, which can reduce discomfort from gas and spit-up. Some parents find that the upright position can help relieve symptoms of colic in their babies. The gentle pressure on the baby's tummy can help move trapped gas and ease discomfort.

A fun tip: In the upright position, your baby has a better view of their surroundings. This can be stimulating and engaging for them, especially as they begin to explore the world around them.


No matter how you hold a newborn, always ensure that your baby's head and neck are supported and that their airways are clear.

Trust your instincts, follow your baby’s lead, and cherish these early moments of discovery and connection. Paying attention to your baby's cues, responding with love and care, and enjoying these precious moments of closeness can help strengthen your relationship and create lasting memories.

You can also check our Montessori toys for newborns here. These toys are designed to stimulate development in your little bubs.



Q: How do I know if I’m holding my newborn correctly?

Make sure to always support your baby’s head and neck, as they cannot do this themselves. Your baby’s body should be positioned comfortably and securely against your chest or arm, with their face visible and airways clear.

Q: How long should I hold my newborn each day?

It’s important to hold your newborn when they need comfort and bonding. This can vary from baby to baby, so follow your baby’s cues and hold them as often as they seem to enjoy and benefit from it.

Q: Can I spoil my newborn by holding them too much?

No, you cannot spoil a newborn by holding them too much. In fact, holding your baby close helps them feel safe, secure, and loved, which is essential for their emotional and physical development.

Q: Are there any positions I should avoid when holding my newborn?

Avoid any positions that could put strain on your baby’s neck or back, such as holding them under the arms without supporting their head. Always ensure your baby’s head and neck are well supported and that they are comfortable and secure in your arms.

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