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How to Hold a Newborn on Your Shoulder

Nestled against your shoulder, your baby will have a great 'lookout' position when she's wide awake—and a comfy place to rest her head when she's feeling sleepy.


  • Step 1: Drape burp cloth Drape the burp cloth over the shoulder you plan to use. Make sure it hangs down at least several inches in back and front so you're covered if the baby spits up.
  • TIP: If you're right-handed, you might want to put your baby against your left shoulder, and vice-versa. That way, as you get more confident holding her you'll have your 'good' hand free to do other things.
  • Step 2: Pick up baby Pick up your baby by supporting her head and neck with one hand and her hips and bottom with the other. Holding her close to your body, stand up straight.
  • Step 3: Position baby Hold her as high or low against your chest and shoulder as feels comfortable. Some babies like to snuggle down low enough to hear your heartbeat. Others prefer being able to peek over your shoulder.
  • TIP: Positioning a baby high on your shoulder so that her arms hang down your back can help relieve an upset tummy by putting pressure on it. Just be sure to hold on tight.
  • Step 4: Rock or sway With your fingers spread to give her maximum support, feel free to rock or sway or—if you're feeling especially graceful and content—gently dance with her in your arms.
  • FACT: Most moms instinctively will hold their babies on the left side—perhaps to literally keep them near their hearts.

You Will Need

  • A baby
  • A burp cloth
  • if she's prone to spitting up

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