1. Newborns
  2. Health & daily care
  3. Holding newborns

How to hold and handle your newborn: in pictures

0-3 months

How to pick up a baby

Take care with your newborn’s head, especially around the fontanelles, which are the soft spots on the top of his head. Always support your newborn’s head.

When picking up your baby, slide one hand under his head, with your other hand under his bottom. Protect your back by bending your knees as you lower your arms. 

Once you’ve got a good hold, scoop up your baby and bring him close to your chest as you straighten your legs again.

How to hold a baby and cradle a baby

Make sure your baby’s head is resting on your chest. Slide your hand up from her bottom to support her neck.

Gently move your baby’s head to the crook of your arm, still supporting her neck. Place your other hand under her bottom.

Using the cradle hold lets you look at and talk to your newborn.

Shoulder hold and safety tips

Rest your baby on your chest and shoulder, supporting his head and neck with your hand. Place your other hand under his bottom. This way baby can hear your heartbeat and see over your shoulder.

To keep your baby safe, never hold hot drinks or cook while you’re holding him. Always hold him securely when going up or down steps.

You might like to help children and older people if they want to hold your baby. Have them sit down, then gently place your baby in their cradled arms.

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Raising Children Network is supported by the Australian Government. Member organisations are the Parenting Research Centre and the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute with The Royal Children’s Hospital Centre for Community Child Health.

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