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How to hold your newborn baby

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Holding your newborn baby
It seems like one of the most instinctive parts of motherhood, but if you've ever wondered how to hold your baby correctly, you're not alone.

There are a number of schools of thought on the right and wrong way to support your fragile newborn, and it can be difficult to wade your way through the advice to the answer that works for you - especially if you're a first time mum.

Chontel Duncan, a 27-year-old personal trainer from Australia, found herself under fire for a picture she shared while holding her newborn baby on her popular Instagram account.

To my snappers the crop from this mornings walk is from @lornajaneactive its a new one so should still be available. It's not a maternity crop but the straps can be unclipped so you can slide your arm out easily. It's a support crop so ð‘ð½ perfect for larger jugs ð» Today little Miah is 13 days old & my c-section incision is healing nicely. It's larger then a normal one due to the doctors struggling to get Miah out at the time of my operation where my core held him in very tightly. Scar, stretch marks, wider hips, heavy "not so perky" jugs WHO CARES I have a baby & though I was very lucky to not have many of those I did receive a large scar which I am very proud of âºï¸ Today is visiting day!!!!! #lornajane

A post shared by Training EBOOK coming soon (@chontelduncan) on


Commenting on the picture, her followers were quick to criticise the way she was holding her baby, saying: 'You really shouldn't hold a new born baby that way! He's in pain! Poor baby' and 'You should never let baby be in that position!'

Reposting this due to the number of dumb dumbs ripping on my first image... Sorry but I'm not going to be nice about what I think about your belittling attempts to educate me on the safety or better yet my intentions as a new mum. Anyways... It's easier to repost then to tag everyone considering the comments are over the thousand. As explained earlier Miah lifted his head up an for that second that he did so, I just happened to have caught it on camera, before he then laid his head back down on my chest. New borns can lift their own heads up its not me standing there with his head flicked back shooting away... So have faith people and if you honestly don't like my page just CLICK UNFOLLOW!!!!! As I've always said, any negative comments will be deleted and I will block you!

A post shared by Training EBOOK coming soon (@chontelduncan) on


She later hit back, saying that she just captured the moment when baby Miah lifted his head up, and she was completely aware of the safe way to hold her son.

'As explained earlier Miah lifted his head up an for that second that he did so, I just happened to have caught it on camera, before he then laid his head back down on my chest. New borns can lift their own heads up its not me standing there with his head flicked back shooting away...'

Top tips for holding a newborn baby


  • If you're feeling nervous about holding your little one, try being seated whilst you get them comfortable and try out different positions.
  • Remember a new born baby is used to the support and steadiness of a womb, so try and move slowly and fluidly to avoid making them nervous.
  • Make sure you support their head every time you pick them up or move them as their neck is weak and very delicate at this time.
  • When picking your little one up out of their cot, place both hands underneath their armpits and use your fingers to support the back of their head.
  • Another easy and fool proof way of picking up your little one is placing one hand underneath their head and one underneath their bum, using your forearm to support the spine.
  • Pay attention to your baby's mood whilst you're holding them, if they seem fussy or uncomfortable you may need to change position.

Expert advice


We asked Lisa Clegg, a qualified maternity nurse, parenting expert and author of The Blissful Baby Expert, how we should be holding newborns babies as they grow up. Here's what she had to say:

'A newborn baby's head is the heaviest part of its body and to begin with they don't have much control over it, so it's important you support it and take the weight.

There are various ways to hold and cradle your baby and with practise it does get easier, as you gain more confidence in handling your little one.

The cradle hold is the easiest to master, which sees you holding your baby close to your body with their head in the crook of your arm supporting it.

Newborns also like to be supported up on your shoulder or lying snuggled on your chest with their face turned to the side.

As they move out of the newborn stage and become more interested and aware of their surroundings they may like you to carry them facing outwards. By that stage they will have good head and neck control, and won't need you to support their head. You can even do this with one hand by holding your arm across and down their body and support them under their bottom.

Continued below...


As they begin to learn to sit up, then many parents find carrying their baby round perched on one hip is easiest, leaving you free to have the other hand to do anything else.'

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