5 Safe Ways on how to hold a newborn upright

how to hold a newborn upright Blog Post

As you embark on this marvelous journey of parenthood, mastering the art of holding your baby becomes an essential skill, especially when it comes to cradling them in an upright position. Join me on this captivating blog post where we unravel the significance of holding your newborn upright, uncover the secret techniques on how to hold a newborn upright, and discover precious tips to keep your baby snug, secure, and content. 

The Importance of Proper Newborn Handling

Newborns are fragile and require delicate handling, especially when it comes to supporting their head and neck. Their rapidly growing brains are protected by soft spots, known as fontanels, which need to be treated with care. It’s essential to learn the proper techniques for holding a newborn upright, as improper handling can lead to discomfort, injury, or even long-term damage.

Subscribe to my blog for Parenting tips that will make you feel like a pro, and get access to exclusive free Printables that will keep your little ones busy and happy! 

Soft Spots and Head Support

As mentioned earlier, newborns have two soft spots on their head: the posterior fontanel at the back and the anterior fontanel on top. These spots are where the bones of the skull haven’t yet fused completely, allowing for the baby’s brain to grow and develop. The posterior fontanel typically closes within a couple of months, while the anterior fontanel can take up to two years to fully close.

When holding a newborn, it’s crucial to support their head and neck gently, without putting pressure on these soft spots. Failing to do so can lead to injury or discomfort for the baby.

Upright Positioning After Feeding

Holding a newborn upright after feeding is essential for their digestion, comfort, and overall health. Keeping your baby in an upright position for about 30 minutes after feeding can help prevent spit-up and aid in the digestion process. Moreover, this position is necessary for burping your baby, which can help release any trapped air and soothe their stomach.

5 Safe Ways on How to hold a newborn upright

Now that we’ve discussed the importance of proper newborn handling, let’s delve into the correct techniques for holding a newborn upright. These methods ensure the safety, comfort, and wellbeing of both the baby and the parent.

how to hold a newborn upright
5 ways to hold a newborn

The Football Hold

One safe and secure way to hold a newborn is the football hold. To do this, place your baby’s back on your forearm, with their head nestled in the crook of your arm. Angle the baby so their stomach is turned towards yours. This position is comfortable for the baby and provides a secure hold, especially while sitting down.

Cradle Hold

Place one hand under your baby’s bottom and the other hand supporting their head and neck. Gently bring your baby’s body close to your chest while ensuring their head is supported. Your baby’s chin should rest comfortably on your shoulder or chest.

The Shoulder Hold

The shoulder hold is another method that’s perfect for holding a newborn upright after feeding. Place your baby’s head near your shoulder, with their stomach facing your chest. Use one arm to support their bottom, and the other hand to support the back of their head and neck. This position allows for easy burping and provides comfort for your baby as they digest their food.

The Hip Hold

As your baby grows and gains more head and neck control, you can transition to the hip hold. To do this, support your baby’s bottom with one hand, while the other hand rests on their back for added support. Ensure their head and neck are aligned with their body, and their legs are wrapped around your waist. This position allows for easy interaction with your baby while providing a secure hold.

Chest-to-Chest Hold

Lay your baby’s chest against your chest, facing you. Use one hand to support their bottom and the other hand to cradle their head and neck. Ensure your baby’s face is visible and not pressed against your body.

How Not to Hold a Newborn Baby

Understanding how not to hold a newborn baby is just as important as learning the correct techniques. Here are some common mistakes and misconceptions to avoid when handling your newborn.

  • Lifting a Baby by Their Arms – Never lift a newborn baby by their arms, as this can cause injury to their delicate shoulders and joints. Instead, always use both hands to support their head, neck, and bottom when picking them up.
  • Holding a Newborn Without Head Support – Failing to support a newborn’s head and neck can lead to injury or discomfort. Always ensure that you are gently cradling the baby’s head when holding them upright.
  • Pressing on Soft Spots – While it’s okay to touch your baby’s soft spots gently, never apply pressure or press down on these areas. Doing so can cause injury to the baby’s developing brain.

Tips for Holding a Newborn Upright

  • Supporting the Head and Neck – Always ensure that your baby’s head and neck are well-supported, especially when they are unable to do so themselves. Use your hand or arm to cradle their head gently and prevent any sudden movements.
  • Maintaining a Gentle and Secure Grip – Hold your baby with a gentle yet secure grip to create a sense of safety. Avoid gripping too tightly, as it may cause discomfort or hinder their breathing.
  • Monitoring the Baby’s Comfort and Cues – Pay attention to your baby’s body language and signals. If your baby seems uncomfortable or shows signs of distress, adjust your hold or try a different technique.
how to hold a newborn upright
how to hold a newborn upright

Common Mistakes to Avoid

To ensure the safety and well-being of your newborn, be mindful of these common mistakes:

Excessive Force or Pressure – Avoid applying excessive force or pressure while holding your baby upright, as it can be harmful. Gentle support is sufficient to keep them comfortable and secure.

Poor Positioning of the Baby’s Body – Incorrect positioning may strain your baby’s neck or spine. Ensure their body is aligned and well-supported during upright holds.

Neglecting to Burp the Baby – Remember to burp your baby after feeding to release any trapped air and prevent discomfort.

Safety Precautions While Holding a Newborn Upright

  • Being Cautious of Falls and Slips – Always be aware of your surroundings and hold your baby securely to prevent accidental falls or slips.
  • Avoiding Exposure to Allergens or Harmful Substances – Keep your baby away from potential allergens or harmful substances that may cause irritation or respiratory issues.
  • Preventing Overstimulation – Pay attention to your baby’s cues and avoid overstimulating them while holding them upright.

Handling Common Challenges

  • Dealing with Spit-Ups or Reflux – If your baby experiences frequent spit-ups or reflux, try smaller, more frequent feedings and keep them upright for a longer duration after feeding.
  • Calming a Fussy Baby While Holding Upright – Sing softly, talk soothingly, or gently sway while holding your baby upright to help calm them.
  • Seeking Professional Advice – If you’re concerned about persistent issues or if your baby constantly seems uncomfortable, consult your pediatrician or a healthcare professional for guidance.

Hygiene and Safety Precautions When Handling a Newborn

Maintaining proper hygiene is essential when handling a newborn baby, as their immune system is still developing. Here are some safety precautions to follow when holding your baby.

  • Wash Your Hands – Always wash your hands thoroughly before touching your baby, especially during the first two months of life. This helps prevent the spread of germs and diseases that can be harmful to your baby’s developing immune system.
  • Keep the Umbilical Stump Clean and Dry – After the umbilical cord is cut, a small clump of tissue remains attached to your baby’s belly button. This stump should be kept clean and dry to prevent infection. Avoid covering it with a bandage or diaper, and clean it gently with water and fragrance-free, dye-free soap if it becomes soiled.
  • Monitor for Signs of Infection – If you notice any redness, swelling, or discharge around your baby’s umbilical stump, it could be a sign of infection. Seek medical attention promptly to ensure your baby’s health and wellbeing.

People Also Ask

What is the best position to hold a newborn?

The best position to hold a newborn is upright with their head supported. This can be achieved by using techniques like the cradle hold, shoulder hold, or chest-to-chest hold.

How do you pick up a baby upright?

To pick up a baby upright, first, ensure your hands are clean and dry. Place one hand under the baby’s bottom for support, while the other hand gently supports their head and neck. Lift the baby slowly and smoothly, keeping their body close to your chest.

How long do you hold a baby upright?

It is generally recommended to hold a baby upright for about 10-15 minutes after feeding to aid digestion and prevent reflux. However, every baby is unique, and you should observe their comfort cues and adjust the duration accordingly.

What is the most important rule when holding a baby?

The most important rule when holding a baby is to always support their head and neck. Newborns have weak neck muscles, and proper support is crucial to prevent any potential injuries.


As a new parent, it’s natural to feel nervous or apprehensive about holding your newborn baby. However, with practice, patience, and attention to proper techniques, you’ll soon build confidence in your ability to care for your little one. Remember to always support their head and neck, use gentle movements, and follow the hygiene precautions outlined above to ensure your baby’s safety and comfort.

In conclusion, understanding how not to hold a newborn baby and learning the proper techniques for holding them upright are essential skills for new parents. By following the tips and guidelines provided in this comprehensive guide, you can confidently care for your newborn and ensure their safety, comfort, and overall wellbeing. Happy parenting!

I would stay connected and keep you updated with parenting tips, pregnancy guides, creative ideas, easy crafts, and Free Printables. Subscribe to Colossalumbrella to get new ideas delivered to your inbox. Follow me on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and Instagram.

5 Safe Ways on how to hold a newborn upright
Share on Social Media

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Scroll to top