How to hold your baby safely

Holding your baby might seem natural, easy, and does not require guidance and advice. But the truth is that many moms feel they need to know more about the best baby-holding positions. Read this article to find out more about the safest ways to hold your baby, and what to avoid when holding your baby.

Nicole El Sayegh
Published on:Jul 28th 2022 |Updated on:Apr 10th 2024
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Safety tips hold your baby

- Newborn babies usually can’t hold their heads up due to the looseness in their neck, which is normal since the baby’s neurodevelopment is still in progress. Therefore, the most important thing when holding a newborn is to support their neck and bottom.

- It is essential also not to press on the top of the baby’s head. This area is very fragile, and it remains soft for the first few months of a baby’s life.

- When picking up an infant from their crib, we must place one hand under their neck, and the other on their bottom. An infant must never be picked up from his arms, before three months of age, as it may cause serious harm. 

Safe positions to hold your baby

- Shoulder hold

This is one of the preferred holding positions for moms. In this position, the baby’s head must be supported on the shoulder, while supporting the back of the neck with one hand, while the other hand is on the bottom.


- Cradle hold

This is the position mom holds her baby while rocking him or her to sleep. When holding the baby in this position, we must rest his head on the elbow crease, and support the baby’s bottom with one hand. When putting the baby to sleep, we must gently slide that hand from under the baby, so that we won’t wake him up and not cause any discomfort.


- Belly hold

This position is used by mothers when the baby is colicky. This position is very comforting to babies even if they don’t feel gassy. In this position, the baby’s head is placed on the mother’s arm, while the baby is laid on his belly. Usually, moms gently rub the back of their babies while in this position for more comfort.


- Face-to-face hold

This is an excellent position to interact with your baby. This holding position enhances the baby’s emotional development as it facilitates eye contact and closes verbal contact. When you hold your baby in this position support their head with one hand, and their bottom with the other, while the baby’s hips are against your belly.


- Hip hold

This is an excellent holding position for babies after three months of age. The baby is positioned on the mother's hip, while she supports his back allowing him to explore his surroundings.


- The chair hold

The baby sits on the mother’s hand as if she is sitting on a chair.

The baby is leaning back and resting on your chest (his back is on her chest) so that his head has proper support.

One hand is placed across the baby’s chest to prevent him from leaning on the sides.


- Lap hold

A very comfortable holding position for a baby, where he is positioned on the lap of his mother while freely exploring his surroundings.


Baby carriers

Baby carriers and slings are very useful and practical when shopping or traveling with a baby. But I don’t recommend relying on them all the time to carry the baby. They limit the baby’s mobility and interaction with his surroundings. They also limit muscle development and mobility and prohibit the needed skin-to-skin interaction that is paramount for the baby’s growth and development.

Check out How to stimulate the baby’s motor skills



Nicole El SayeghPsychomotor Therapist & Certified Trainer

Experienced Therapist & Certified Trainer with hands-on experience and a history of working in the educational field, the SEN industry, and the Early Years Consultancy. Practicing for almost 14 years with a trilingual approach in the Middle East region. Currently, based in Dubai and working as a therapist and trainer at Wonderful Minds for Rehabilitation & Training Center, located in Abu Dhabi. Holding dual master’s degrees in Education focused on School management & another Master's in Psychomotor Therapy from the Saint Joseph University of Beirut. Specialized in Family Guidance, Montessori Education (0-6 years), and Professional Training. Involved in educational program development, project design, and management, with a wide experience in Early Years Institution Management. Skilled in Early Childhood Education, Early Intervention, Curriculum Development, SEN program design, learning disabilities (assessment and therapy), training, and Public Speaking.

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