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Narrator: Tim is about to become a first-time dad.
He's meeting with midwife Kate Aseron to learn five positions for holding a baby.
Tim: I'm a little concerned that I'm going to hurt the baby.
Midwife Kate Aseron: That's a concern a lot of people have. But babies aren't nearly as fragile as people seem to think they are. They're pretty sturdy.
Narrator: That said, whenever newborns are picked up or held, they need extra support under the head and neck, as well as under their bottom or the small of their back.
Five-week-old Anya, whom Kate helped deliver, will assist with the demonstration.
Midwife: We're going to show you some ways today to support a newborn and hold them in a safe manner that's comfortable for them and supports the head and neck.
Narrator: Kate will start with the cradle hold, a very natural and easy position to learn.
Midwife: You want to just make sure the back of the head and the neck and the spine are all supported by wide-open hands. And her bottom is supported by my other hand. So if you just want to try to take her, you can slide your hand under her head first. Great. Grab her bottom. Just support her the whole way. Pull her in close to your body and you should be able to ease this hand down under her.
Midwife: There, so her head is always supported. And you could let go with this hand if you needed that hand free for something.
This is a great position for standing, feeding, you can sit.
At some point you are going to want to switch to the other arm. Even a light baby gets heavy after some time on one arm. So the way you do that is to take this hand. Keep your hand on her bottom open wide and rotate her around until she is on the other arm.
Midwife: And then, same as we did before, slide that hand down along her bottom until she is supported all on that arm.
Narrator: If you're staying in this position for a while, you can lean your elbow on an armrest or a pillow for support.
To avoid neck and back strain, remember to lean back when possible.
Tim will try another popular position next: the snuggle hold.
Midwife: You just want to rotate her in so she is just tummy-to-tummy with you. You can shift her that way. And put this arm like that. Great!
So once you have her rotated, you want to turn her up and move her up toward the top of your chest or the lower part of your shoulder to have her supported on you.
Narrator: Whether you hold the baby up near your shoulder or at your chest, support her head and bottom. Make sure her head is turned to one side so nothing obstructs her breathing.
You can also use the snuggle hold when you're seated or reclining, with your baby leaning against you.
Midwife: Babies also really like the security of hearing your heartbeat and being close because that's what they've known prenatally.
Narrator: Next is the face-to-face hold. This is a nice position for interacting with your baby.
Hold your baby in front of you, with one hand under her neck and head and the other supporting her bottom. You can also lay your baby on your lap when you're sitting down.
Talk to your baby and let her get to know your voice and face.
Midwife: So we are going to talk about the football hold. That can be a really comfortable position, especially when you are sitting, standing, or feeding a baby.
Narrator: Rotate the baby so she curls around your body, with her legs extended behind you. Then, draw her close to your waist or chest.
Midwife: She is going to be completely supported on this hand and arm, with this hand supporting her head. You can tuck in just a little further. [Anya starts crying]
Narrator: Anya is letting Tim know she doesn't enjoy the football hold. So far, her favorite position seems to be the snuggle hold.
Finally, Kate demonstrates the belly hold.
In this position, the baby's chest and belly are draped over your forearm and her head is turned outward, resting near the fold of your elbow.
Midwife: You have kind of the whole baby supported in this hand, and this hand free. This is a great position to calm a fussy baby in.
Narrator: When your baby's head control is strong and steady – usually between 4 and 6 months – you can start holding her on one hip with one arm under her bottom.
Midwife: How do you feel holding her in all these different positions?
Tim: Um, I think I like the football hold the most. It is one-handed and it feels secure. I don't know that she likes it, but I do.
Midwife: Well, every baby is different. Maybe your baby will love the football hold.
Tim: I hope so.