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How to hold a baby in your arms?

Magdalena Adaś
How to hold a baby in your arms?

Certainly, I no longer need to teach you the ways of carrying a baby. However, there are some situations when, despite the correct way of carrying, the baby does not cooperate. In the article, I will tell you why an infant held in the arms clasps its hands, and how to hold a baby in your arms so that it is comfortable both for the child and the parent.

Holding a baby only in your arms?

Is carrying a baby something difficult? Should we strain and jerk a lot to hold the baby in our arms? What should we do if the infant only wants to be held in our arms? Neither of these situations is correct. A baby just after birth should like being carried in the arms, but cannot be held all the time. During home visits, I once came across a mother who slept in a sitting position because her baby wouldn’t let her put herself down in the crib. In order to keep the baby from crying and sleep through the night, the mother held her baby in her arms and cuddled her close. I don’t need to say how exhausted she was after a month of such practice. We should have in mind not only the comfort of the baby, but also our own comfort. If we don’t take care of ourselves, we won’t take good care of our baby either.

Why does a baby cry in your arms?

Naturally, we carry the baby when it needs it. But we don’t do it all the time. If the baby does not calm down in our arms, there is no point in carrying him for hours. We then look for another position. While carrying in our arms, we can hold the baby in the bean, sideways, diagonally and on the tummy. While carrying, we can massage the tummy, back, patting. We are looking for a way for our little one. There is no one-size-fits-all solution for every baby. Some are helped by a bath, others by a thermometer, and some prefer to be put in a crib instead of being carried. It is certainly worth considering the cause of crying and demanding constant carrying in our arms. Holding a baby in your arms does not solve the root cause of pain and crying. Perhaps the problem is colic, reflux, allergy or food intolerance.

How to hold a baby in your arms?

A healthy developing baby likes to be carried in the arms, but does not demand it all the time. Hugging is a mutual joy for both parent and baby. When holding a baby in our arms, we can feel the baby’s weight, but we should not feel the baby pushing its head, thrusting, wiggling its legs, thrusting its hands into our body, or trying to escape. Such symptoms may indicate abnormal muscle tone, asymmetry, reflux, colic, or other problems in the toddler. Holding a baby may help you assess our baby. From birth, when holding a newborn, we should feel comfortable, that is, the baby does not run away and does not strain, nor is it very limp, as if it were about to fall out of our hands.

How to hold a baby in your arms when he is clasping his hands?

One of the symptoms that can indicate abnormal muscle tone in infants is the clasping of the parent’s body with their hands. What does this look like? Most often, when a parent carries an infant in the bean position or front-to-back position, the baby tightens its back and pushes away with its hands from the parent’s body. It is very difficult to hold the infant in this position, as the toddler can be strong enough to cause pain to the person who is holding him. I most often observe this in babies over 5 months of age. It is during this period that the baby’s back extensors become dominant, and we can observe that an infant on its stomach retracts its arms backwards. This is known as the swimming symptom. It is important that this symptom occurs for about a month. It happens that infants remain in this activity for a very long time. Instead of supporting themselves with their arms and performing high support or crawling, the infant keeps pulling their arms back and swimming. This can affect carrying and clasping with the hands. This is often a symptom of abnormal muscle tone in the baby.


To summarise, when carrying and holding a baby we take care of the comfort of the person who is holding the baby and the baby that is being carried. We choose the position so that it is in accordance with the development and safe for the toddler, but also comfortable for the parent. If, despite the use of an appropriate position, the child flexes, pulls, pushes with his hands, or “pounces” out of our hands, you should immediately consult a physiotherapist. These symptoms may indicate abnormal development, asymmetry, or abnormal muscle tone in infants. I hope I have given you some hints on How to hold an infant in your arms. You can read more about holding a baby here.



Author: mgr Magdalena Adaś

I am a pediatric physiotherapist. This job is my dream and passion. In addition to directly supporting patients, I try to make sure that the knowledge of proper child care reaches as many parents as possible. Hence my online activities. My materials are used by thousands of parents every month.