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Holding, Carrying and Positioning

Infants have an inborn fear of being dropped, so avoid startling your baby when you pick him or her up. Talk to your baby and put your hands under him or her for a second or two before lifting. To support your newborn's weak neck and heavy head, place the palm of your hand under the baby's neck and back. Cradle the head with your fingers. Support the baby's body on your lower arm, which should be held securely against your body.

Or, you can carry your baby securely braced against your shoulder with your hand supporting his or her head. This gives you one hand free to manage doors, hold onto hand rails and so on.

Always lay your infant on his or her back, not on the stomach. This "back to sleep" practice has been associated with lower rates of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).