Carrying and holding a baby is going to vary based on how their strength is. Check out the video for full details! Make sure that you are switching sides frequently as you are carrying them so that they are able to work the muscles in their body evenly. We all have a preferred side to carry on so it usually takes a little extra effort on our part to use the other side! Try building it into your routine. If you always carry on the right then use the left side every time you get them up from a nap, or are going to change their diaper! All of these positions are great, it’s just a matter of some will make your baby work and develop strength more than others!
Make sure you are aware of your baby’s motor control and strength as you are carrying them and provide extra support if needed. If it is a more challenging position for them and requires more stability and strength then you might want to start with that position when you are just standing still and as they get stronger you can begin to move around with them more while holding them like that. The first position is a great example of this. Remember, safety is always the most important!
- On your hip – Your baby needs to have trunk and head control, especially if you are going to be walking around. If you are just standing you may be able to decrease your support a little bit but if you are moving you may need to add an extra hand to help with support.
- Over shoulder – Another alternative for tummy time and will work on head and trunk extension. This adds to your tummy time minutes! In this position they are able to lift their head up off your shoulder to see what is going on around them.
- In front and facing out with one side up – This will allow your baby to work their neck and trunk muscles on the side that is facing up. Check out the video to see how I am holding. This is also great if your baby has a torticollis or any strength asymmetries as it can focus on one side specifically. The more horizontal you are holding the baby the harder they have to work, and the more their head and body is vertical the less challenging it is.
- Football hold – This can be done with the head facing forward or the head facing towards the back. Your arm is supporting them along their belly. This also counts as a modified tummy time position and counts as time off the back of their head.
- In the crook of your arm – With the baby facing out and they are lounging back in your arm. This is like the recliner chair of carrying! The baby is not doing much work with their muscles but they get to be snuggly next to you!
- Facing out with arm around midsection – Another modified tummy time and will work the trunk extensors. Facing out and you would hold your arm around their midsection with their back against you. You may be able to use one arm if your baby has good extension control but you can add a second arm across their midsection to help give extra support and decrease the work they are doing. Then you decrease your support as they get stronger.
- Cuddling in front – Belly is facing up. This is like a cradle and again good for cuddling but they baby is not doing a lot of work!
What are your favorite ways to carry your baby?