How to hold a baby

Antenatal Education: How to hold a new-born baby. 

I am passionate about helping women and their families have a positive birth and early parenting experience. By learning more about the body and the choices we have, I hope to empower people to follow their intuition with confidence for positive experience for all.

In my new blog series, Antenatal Education, I will be sharing the knowledge, tips and tricks I have acquired over 15 years working with midwives, in an easy to digest format. I will address some of the burning questions many mums-to-be ask in my pregnancy and baby yoga classes.

I hope you find this series useful and if you have any questions or topics you would like me to cover, please drop me an email.

How to hold a new-born baby

You may find this hard to believe, but this is often one if the most common questions I get from new mums to be.

Once your baby arrives you hold them, you gaze at them and take them in. But this baby, your baby may be the first baby you have held ever. There are many different ways to hold and soothe a baby, and it’s good to know they don’t all like being held in a cradle position on their backs. What one baby may like, yours may not, so it’s good to have a few options and ideas up your sleeve.

In this blog, I will show you 3 safe holds for new-born and older babies that look after your body as you move and keep your baby happy and safe.

Firstly, I want to give you confidence that you know your baby better than anyone else. You and your smell bring comfort to baby too. I know you may not feel that straight away but in time, as you get to know your baby day-by-day, you will understand what they like and what they want. By reducing the noise around us, and yes, sometimes the volume of visitors in those early days, we can take the time to get to know our baby and build our confidence. So give yourself a break and know that you are doing great.

As you spend time with your baby keep paying attention to how they respond to small changes or moves, their mood while you’re holding them or playing with them. If they cry or become fussy and irritated, then change position and try a different hold.

Here are some of my top tips to getting off to a great start

  • Wash your hands before you or anyone picks your baby up to help protect your baby’s immune system on the first few weeks
  • Most importantly, always support baby’s head with your hands, body or arms until they are strong enough to control their head themselves
  • Look after you, because you are just as important! Make sure you are careful with your body and move in a safe way. Try not to overexert yourself, lift using your legs and not your back, and don’t bend over too much.

Three holds to try with baby

  1. Up right hold

Bring baby to one side of your chest supporting their bottom and their shoulders. With small babies that don’t have their head control yet, make sure they are low enough to turn their head to one side and rest it against your body. This is a good position to use to wind baby – being in a long straight upright position helps to release the wind.

Safety hold

  1. Safety hold (suitable once they can hold their own head)

This is one of my favourite positions I always come back to. It is also a safe hold for you to use while you move and change the position of your body, from sitting to standing. In this position, baby is well supported and close to your body. You can safely change your position being mindful of your body.

  1. Tiger in the tree

Your baby is used to being upside down and on their side in your uterus.

So, a great hold for calming baby, or for windy or colicky babies, is the tiger in the tree hold. This hold puts pressure on baby’s tummy while helping them feel relaxed. The pressure of your arm or hand gives a massage to their stomach.


They also feel the closeness and warmth of your body and babies love to be close to you or whoever is holding them.

With little babies, put them on their side with their head supported against your arm. Older babies can be on their bellies with there head clear or on your arm.

However, you hold your baby, talk to them, tell them what your doing, they love to hear your voice.

Watch this video I made for you, to show you how to move from one hold to another in a safe, smooth way.

Look out for my next blog on how to play with your baby.