How to hold a newborn

Top tips on holding a baby with proper head support and confidence

In Newborn

2-minutes read

At a glance

When holding a baby always support their head and neck

Babies like to be held snuggly – but gently


Let your baby get used to others holding them – it'll help you in the long run

It’s not unusual for babies to cry when others hold them – so don't worry too much

Holding a baby for the first time can feel awkward. But like most things, practice makes perfect.

  • Put your hand under their head and neck. Until their neck muscles are stronger support their head and neck at all times
  • Use your other arm and hand under their body
  • You can now lift your baby up. If you prefer, support their head and neck in the crook of your arm. Babies like the feeling of being held snuggly so grip them firmly but gently
  • Alternatively, lift your baby under their arms, using your fingers to support the neck
  • When carrying your baby, either cradle them in your arms or rest them against your shoulder, with their head turned to one side and your hand at their back
  • When you’re ready, let others pick up and hold the baby. This helps your baby get used to other people. Remember, it’s quite normal for babies to cry when someone else holds them
  • Demonstrate how to hold your baby properly then slowly and gently transfer baby from your arms to another person’s. Talk to your baby the entire time to soothe any tears – don’t be afraid to take your baby back into your arms if the crying continues

“I used a muslin that smelled of mum to help our son to feel comfortable with someone else holding him”


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Important advice to mothers

The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months of life. SMA® Nutrition fully supports this and continued breastfeeding, along with the introduction of complementary foods as advised by your healthcare professional.