As if your new baby didn't seem fragile enough, being a recently minted parent can leave you feeling woefully unprepared for the seemingly daunting journey that lies ahead. Despite the overwhelming nature of the situation, you can easily avoid common dangers while handling your newborn to make sure you're keeping them as safe as possible. Once you've familiarized yourself with the potential health hazards, you can educate anyone else who might want to hold your bundle of joy, too. After all, one of your main responsibilities as a parent is to advocate for your child's well-being — even if it means enduring a few awkward moments while instructing others how to properly carry such precious cargo.
One of the first things I remember about cradling my son was how delicate he seemed. Although nurses, family, and friends all reassured me that babies are more resilient than you might think, I just couldn't get over the fact that my newborn baby couldn't even hold his head up on his own. That was just one concern on a growing list of parenting worries. If you're anything like me, you'll be relieved to know that learning about the common dangers that can occur while holding your newborn is the first step towards ensuring your little one's safety.
1. Not Watching Where You're Walking
Understandably, it takes a bit to adjust to holding a baby on a regular basis. One of the things you might not think about is looking down at your feet. According to Parents, "falling is the leading cause of nonfatal injury to babies under 12 months." Additionally, Parents recommended using non-slip mats or even temporarily getting rid of rugs or other items that could cause you to trip.
2. Taking Photos
Since your little one is only a newborn for so long, it's natural to want to capture those fleeting moments. But, as The HuffPost reported, certain photo poses are unsafe for newborns unless performed by a professional. As writer and photographer Jasmine Jones tells Romper, if a newborn is pictured in a unique position, the reality is someone was likely there to support the baby and then the photographer edited that out. It's best to leave creative poses to the experts.
3. Facing Them Towards You
There's nothing quite as adorable as snuggling with your infant. But a common danger of holding your newborn on your chest or stomach is not paying attention to how face is angled. According to Baby Center, you have to "make sure her head is turned to one side so nothing obstructs her breathing." This will help keep both of you relaxed and safe.
4. Wearing Loose Clothing
Newborns don't have the finest motor skills, but that doesn't stop them from trying to grab anything within arm's reach. For that reason, you shouldn't wear accessories with small pieces or clothing with loose buttons, as pediatric expert Dr. Barbara Gaines warned Parents. It only takes a second for a baby to pull off a button and stick it in their mouth, so be mindful of what is within their grasp while holding them.
6. Wearing Baby While Cooking
Slings, carriers, and wraps allow you to wear your baby and remain, relatively, hands-free. But that doesn't mean it's wise to carry on with your normal activities. As Woman's Day reported, Molly Landis suffered burns due to a kitchen accident and she used her experience as a cautionary tale since she typically would have been wearing her baby. Even steam, a hot kettle, or an unexpected splash of boiling water are common safety hazards of holding your baby in the kitchen.
7. Bouncing Too Much
Every parent has done the "please stop crying" dance while holding their newborn. But, as Health Line reported, shaking and bouncing, "can cause bleeding in the brain and even death." Be mindful that you or anyone holding your baby should avoid jarring actions and opt for smooth motions instead.
8. Using Cleaning Products
Though multi-tasking is a commendable effort, be cautious when it comes to tidying up with baby in tow. Exposure to cleaning products can be harmful because a newborn, "has a fast metabolism, and has low defenses against toxins," according to Parents. So think twice before you spray down your kitchen counters with cleanser in close proximity to your newborn.