Handling Your Newborn

At just a few days old, your precious bundle of joy may seem so fragile, but don’t worry. He/she really won’t break! To help give you confidence in these first few weeks, here are some important basics from Westchester Health Pediatrics.

1. First and most importantly, always wash your hands (or use hand sanitizer) before handling your baby. Newborns have not developed a strong immune system yet, making them very susceptible to germs that are easily transmitted from people’s hands. Don’t be afraid to insist that everyone who handles your baby washes their hands — this really is a must.

2. Make sure to support your baby’s head and neck. When carrying, picking up or laying your baby down, make sure to support his/her head and neck with your hands. The neck muscles are not yet strong enough to do this on their own, so it’s very important to do it for them.

3. Never shake your newborn. Vigorously shaking your baby is very dangerous and can cause bleeding in the brain and even death. At Westchester Health Pediatrics, we understand that a constantly crying or colicky baby is hard to take at times and that parents sometimes feel like they’re “losing it.” Playing music or making soft, soothing, cooing sounds often helps stop the crying. Whatever you do, don’t shake.

If you ever feel like you’re at the end of your rope, please ask for help. Call your partner, a friend or your pediatrician and we’ll talk you through it.

4. Always make sure your baby is securely fastened in the baby carrier, stroller or car seat. Remember, newborns haven’t developed muscle tone and balance yet and always need to be safely secured when being transported.