When a new born first appears on the scene, you suddenly realise how much there is to learn about giving your baby the best start in life.
One of those worries can be “How do I support the baby’s head?”
- Supporting a baby’s head when picking up
- How to support a baby’s head when laying the baby down
- How to support a baby’s head in a bath
- When passing baby to a friend or relative
- Dressing and undressing the baby
Handling your new born baby.
Some parents can feel nervous handling the new born baby and this apprehensiveness can apply to anyone, especially those that have not had children and come to visit you. Supporting your baby’s head is paramount until the baby’s muscles have developed enough strength the baby will be startled and fearful of being dropped this is called the Moro Reflex. This is why it can be so tricky to move a sleeping baby without waking them. They seemed to be designed to wake when put down!
How to support the your baby’s head when picking them up
Firstly make sure you are steady and that you are aware of your surroundings for safety hazards. Then move your hand so the palm is supporting the head and sneck at the same time and your palm is supporting the upper spine. Your fingers should be cupping the lower part of the head (do not try and just support the head from the side. The neck is like a loose hinge the baby can slip through the gap between both hands if the upper spine isn’t held too). The image below shows how a baby should be held during picking up and laying them down.
Keeping your baby relaxed and undisturbed becomes a very important and integral feature of parenting your child. A settled baby usually means that parenting is easier, less tiring and so much more enjoyable for you all. You can easily pick up or move your baby around fifty times a day which can also take its toll on your back. In and out the car seat, bath time, feeding, changing, visiting family and friends and well as of course all important pick up comfort cuddles.
It’s worth here saying a little more about the Moro Reflex. It’s a sensitive survival instinct developed over millions of years. Unfortunately it doesn’t have any regard for how tired you might be but it will kick in the moment your baby’s head is disturbed as the baby feels they are going to be dropped and so will naturally scream in response to this. Your baby can be absolutely asleep as you lay them down but when you move that last finger off the head a primal scream starts and you’re back to square one trying to settle your baby again which can be exhausting.
It’s probably why we fear not supporting their head properly.
There is one new product however, that solves the age old problem of head support and being able to move a baby without waking. It’s a cosy wrap that acts like a hammock and just like when you lay in a hammock the head cannot go back. It saves your back but the main benefit is that at the same time as supporting your baby’s head the transition is so smooth that your baby doesn’t wake up! This means you get more done and your baby gets more precious developmental sleep. The bonuses are massive, support for your back, help with post birth recovery and not having to carry your car seat either. Oh, not to mention that keeping your baby out of car seats reduces the risk of flat head syndrome and hypoxia (loss of oxygen to the brain due to head on chin and shallow breathing for too long). Who’d have thought that a product originally designed for head support and moving a baby without waking them could have turned out to have so many benefits?
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