All new parents worry that they’re going to somehow break baby when they first bring home that tiny, floppy and oh-so-fragile-looking newborn from the hospital — and anyone who says differently is putting on a very good show of confidence. So you’re really not alone in your worries.
But here’s a truth that’ll keep you from quaking in your slippers every time you get ready to pick up your newborn: You can’t break a baby. That young, helpless newborn is actually an incredibly resilient, elastic little being. And you’re not going to end up yanking his arms out of their sockets or breaking those itty-bitty toes and fingers just by doing such routine baby care as changing an outfit, rocking him to sleep or giving him a bath (wet babies are super slippery, and you’ll need to get a good grip) — no matter how clumsy you feel when you’re handling him.
Until then, these tips can speed up the comfort factor around your not-so-fragile baby, even on the days you feel most fragile yourself.
- You know you’re supposed to support your baby’s head and neck whenever you lift him up, hold him and carry him. But it’s easier to do this if you scoop him up with one hand supporting his head, neck and spine, and your other hand tucked under his bottom for ample support. Don’t worry if you touch those soft spots (called fontanelles) on his head — they’re well protected by a sturdy membrane. And don’t fret if your newborn’s noggin flops back and forth a little bit while you’re trying to perfect your move — it won’t hurt him. (Of course, never shake your baby because that can cause serious harm.)
- Stick with side-snap shirts (and, once the umbilical stump falls out, with wide-necked onesies), sleep sacks and outfits that snap or zipper all the way down until you feel comfortable getting clothes on and off over your baby’s head. Steer clear of adorable but impractical clothes — anything that buttons up the back or tiny turtlenecks sans snaps. Plus, all those blow-out diaper changes and gushing spit-ups will give you ample opportunity to change your new baby’s clothes again…and again…and again (What! Spit up again! I just changed that shirt!). The upside: You’ll soon feel like an old pro at this changing game.
Have fun getting comfortable with your newborn!