This document will give you handling ideas for your baby from birth to four months of age. These ideas include different positions and carrying methods for babies. This will help them use their neck and shoulder muscles in play.
Positioning your baby
Your baby's head is bent forward slightly with the arms and legs bent forward in the 'C' position (looks like the letter 'C').
Use pillows, rolled up blankets or towels to support baby's head, arms and legs. Inflatable rubber rings or inner tubes can also be used for support. Make sure your baby's neck doesn't fall too far forward as it may make it hard for baby to breathe comfortably.
This position encourages your baby to play with hands and feet and put hands to mouth. A rolled blanket, pillow, piece of foam or sandbag can be used to keep your baby on her/his side.
An infant seat may be used to help keep your baby's head, arms and legs centred. A rolled towel may be used on either side to provide support for the head and shoulders.
Carrying and playing with your baby
This position makes newborns feel very secure. Your baby is curled up in a fetal position like the letter 'C' (the body, arms and legs are in a rounded position). Baby is facing towards your body.
As your baby gets older, a front pouch or sling infant carrier may be used.
Position your baby in the 'C' position with head forward and centred with the rest of the body. This position will help you and baby to interact.
This tummy position helps your baby to put weight on her/his forearms. This will build muscle strength at the back of the neck and shoulders.
This position helps your baby learn how to lift her/his head and push up with the arms. Position yourself at a 45° angle and lie baby on your chest, keeping her/his arms forward. You can help your baby further build muscle strength by lowering your body into a horizontal position.
This tummy position will also help your baby learn to lift her/his head. Place one arm under the baby's shoulders and the other one between the legs, using your hand to support baby's tummy.
These positions make your baby feel very secure and help you and baby to interact.
This information is of a general nature and may not apply to your special circumstances. If you have specific questions, please contact your physician or an appropriate health care professional.
Reproduced with permission from the Capital Health Authority