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  Newborn - Handling
I so want my newborn to feel safe and happy, but he is small and helpless. What can I do to help him?

The most reassuring thing for a newborn is your gentle and loving presence. Studies have shown that babies are soothed by the familiar sound of their mother’s heart beat and that they can distinguish her from other people in a short space of time after birth. Cuddling and touching your baby is as important to him as food, as this contact is very calming for him. The contact with the baby also has benefits for the mom in making her more confident and even assisting in the let-down reflex for breastfeeding. If you can occasionally lie with your undressed baby against your bare skin, this is wonderfully nurturing – just make sure to cover both of you with a warm blanket.

Newborns should be handled gently. The newborn startle reflexes are designed to protect him from danger, but they are very distressing for him. Avoid sudden movements and perhaps touch him gently before you pick him up so that the movement isn’t unexpected. A gentle conversation as you move him is also helpful.

For the first eight weeks or so you will need to support his little head, until his muscle tone is adequately developed for him to hold his own head up. When lifting him, always support the head with one hand before transferring it into your elbow or onto your shoulder. Putting him down is also a two hand job, with one hand under his head and the other under his bottom. Slide out the bottom hand first and then use it to lift his head slightly and remove the other hand.

Your newborn will grow so fast that you will be amazed. That is why it is vital to treasure those early days. Enjoy the company of your baby and make him the main focus of your day. The emphasis of our culture on results and tangible rewards can make it hard for many moms to enjoy their babies as they have nothing to show at the end of the day. Being a mom requires a totally different mind set. Enjoy every moment of these precious days – you will never regret that you did this!

The father of the baby will also be intimidated by the tiny newborn. Encourage him to also hold and touch the baby as much as possible – both of you will quickly grow in confidence and be rewarded by the calmness of your baby.

See also:

Newborn - Appearance

Newborn - Bloodshot eyes

Newborn - Circumcision

Newborn - Colour of eyes

Newborn - Confusing day and night

Newborn - Early outings with baby

Newborn - Going home from hospital

Newborn - Jaundice

Newborn - Cradle Cap

Newborn - Heat Rash

Newborn - Red Rash On Upper Body

Newborn - Spots

Newborn - Reflexes

Newborn - Sticky eyes

Newborn - Swaddling

Newborn - Timing of feeds

Newborn - Vernix

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