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How to Handle a Newborn

That wiggly little bundle of joy you just brought home gives you lots of reasons to feel ecstatic, but handling a newborn for the first time is often scary.

His little body seems so delicate and squirmy. Since he needs you to meet all of his basic needs, you’ll spend a great deal of time handling your baby each day.

While your baby does need lots of support — especially for his head, neck and trunk — you shouldn’t worry about breaking him as long as you follow basic newborn handling tips.


Things You’ll Need

  • Changing table
  • Infant bathtub

6 Steps to Handle a Newborn

Handle a Newborn


1. Wash your hands regularly when handling your newborn to protect her delicate immune system.

KidsHealth suggests asking everyone who holds or touches your baby to wash up first.


2. Slide a hand underneath your infant’s head and neck before picking him up.

Use your other hand to support his lower body under his bottom. Lift him carefully, being sure not to bump his head against the crib or other objects nearby.


3. Support your newborn’s head and neck with the crook of your arm while holding her, whether you stand or sit down.

Use your other arm or your lap to support the rest of her weight. Keep her head slightly raised. If you hold her in an upright position, support her head against your shoulder, using your hand for additional support and positioning if needed.


4. Use smooth, gentle movements when handling your newborn.

Avoid jerking or shaking motions that could cause injury to his developing brain. When comforting your newborn, use a slow, rhythmic swaying or rocking motion.


5. Change your newborn’s clothing and diapers with her body on a flat, sturdy surface, such as her changing table.

Stay near her the entire time so she doesn’t roll or wiggle off the surface. Use your hand to support her neck while lifting her head to change her clothes. Hold her ankles and lift up on her legs gently to raise her bottom for diaper changes and lower-body clothing changes.


6. Bathe your newborn in a special baby bathtub or in a sink for better control.

Hold his body with one hand the entire time so he doesn’t move around too much.


Tips & Warnings
A newborn care class helps you feel comfortable handling a newborn.


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