How To Hold A Baby

How To Hold A Baby

From keeping your hands clean to supporting the head and neck, there’s a lot to think about when handling a newborn.

While they are tiny and delicate, handling a newborn isn’t as scary as it seems once you get the hang of it.

The most important thing to remember is to support their head and neck. Whether they are resting on your chest or cradled in your arms, maintain the extra support. Eventually, your baby will be able to support their head and neck, so holding them will become an easier task.

Around 3 months of age, babies gain enough strength to hold their heads at least partially upright, and by about 6 months, they should have full control.

Of course, with babies, things can vary as they each have their own normal. Some babies may develop faster, and others slower. 

Understanding developmental milestones can help you ensure your baby is developing on track while ensuring you provide them with the right support.

Here are our best tips for handling newborns because we know that every detail matters when it comes to babies.

What is the correct way to hold a newborn?

Newborn babies are delicate yet durable. When holding them, though, it’s important to support their head and neck since they can’t hold them up on their own yet. Keep one hand under or behind their head and neck and the other hand supporting their bottom. Even when they are rested against your body, you will need to support them with your hands. As you pick up and hold a baby, don’t forget about your own body, too. Maintain good posture and bend your knees to protect your back when picking them up and putting them down. For new parents, it can be intimidating to hold your tiny little baby, but with time, you should become more confident. Be aware and mindful of movements to ensure you don’t put yourself or your baby in a potentially dangerous situation. 

Is it OK to pick a baby up by the armpits?

Newborn handling 101 – avoid picking a newborn baby up by the armpits. For one, they need support for their head and neck. Second, you risk injuring their arms or shoulders. Once babies develop the strength to support their head and neck and control it on their own, you can pick them up by the armpits, but do so with caution. While babies are tough, you should still be as gentle and careful as possible when handling them. 

Can I hold my 2-month-old upright?

The number one rule when holding a newborn (0-3 months) is to keep their head and neck supported. With proper support, you can hold your 2-month-old upright. You may want to use your body for additional support. For example, resting their head against your shoulder as you hold them in a seated position pressed against your body. Do what feels best as long as it’s safe for your baby. If you have any questions, always ask your pediatrician. 

How do I pick up my 4-month-old?

As your baby gets older, it will be easier to handle them, but they still deserve just as much care and attention. Between 4 and 7 months, most babies are able to support their head and neck, and some can even sit up on their own. When it comes to picking up your 4-month-old, you can slip your hands under their arms and gently lift. If you prefer to scoop them as if they were a little newborn all over again - that is fine, too. Find what’s comfortable, safe, and makes your baby happy. 

Is holding a baby in a sitting position bad?

A baby’s spine is not fully developed yet, so they should not be in a sitting position for extended periods. When holding a newborn, support their head and neck. As they get older, they will be able to support their head and neck, giving you more ways to safely carry them. To promote good posture and support for your baby, consider using a baby carrier. 

When can you carry a baby on your hip?

The freedom to switch up holding positions with your baby makes life easier, but don’t jump the gun. While some babies develop faster than others, most babies aren’t ready to be carried on the hip until around 6 months. Once your baby demonstrates head and neck control, you can start carrying them on your hip. With proper support, such as a hip seat carrier and your hands, you may be able to carry them on your hip sooner. Even newborns can start to feel heavy quickly. Some carriers are safe for newborns and can help alleviate some of the strain that comes with holding them for extended periods. It’s equally important to take care of your body as it is to take care of theirs. 

What not to do when holding a baby?

When handling a newborn, there are a few no-nos. When it comes to holding and carrying a newborn baby, the following should be avoided.

  • Bouncing a newborn: Even if your newborn is fussy, avoid harsh movements such as bouncing. Movements such as bouncing can make things worse and can put them in dangerous positions. A rocking position with the baby’s head and neck supported should be used instead.
  • Lifting under the arms: Newborns can’t support their head and neck and have tiny bodies that are still developing. Don’t lift a newborn under the arms or armpit. Rather, pick them up with one hand under their head and neck and the other under their bottom. 
  • Proper hand-off position: When handing over a newborn to someone else, do so with caution. Have the recipient come close and give the baby proper support before releasing. Avoid handing the baby to another person in an upright position with your hands under their arms. This leaves their head and neck unsupported. It also makes it hard for the recipient to grab them while giving them the support they need. 

    What is the most important rule when holding a baby?

    Rules change depending on how old and developed the baby is. Until your baby can support their head and neck, the number one rule is to support the head and neck. Keeping your baby safe is always a top priority – even when they’re not a baby anymore. 


    Keeping your baby happy and safe is a top priority for any parent. With much of a baby’s time spent in their parents’ arms, it’s important to ensure you provide the support they need while also being kind to your own body.

    We encourage parents to find products that offer support, which can be delivered in various ways.

    From supportive baby carriers to bouncers that keep your baby busy to weighted sleep solutions that help your baby sleep better, there is an overwhelming amount of options on the market.

    Read reviews, pay attention to the details, and ask questions. At Dreamland, we deliver a collection of sleep solutions, including our Dream Weighted Sleep Swaddle, Dream Sound Machine, and breathable Bamboo Pajamas with Dream Cuffs.

    We know how important the details are, so we focus on them with every product we make. Our mom-created products are designed with safety, quality, and functionality at the forefront. 

    Help your baby (and you) get the sleep you both deserve. Shop Dreamland today!

    Shop Dreamland Baby Sleep Sacks & Swaddles

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