Turning a newborn

Mikko sent me this hack when her baby was barely two days old:

When you're handling the baby on a nursing table, you'll often need to turn the baby around from one side to the other. The obvious way to do it is to grab and support the baby with two hands and turn, but there's a better way: if you want to turn the baby to left (from your perspective), for example, grab the baby's left hand and turn gently. The baby will roll on her own easily, learning some body control at the same time!

When you lift the baby from the table, there's another trick you can do. Turn the baby on her side, put your hands under her arms and lift – but do not support the head! If the baby is sideways, she can hold her head well, even a newborn can (if the baby lays on her back, you must support the head, of course). Then when you have the baby in your hands, you can extend your fingers for neck support. The nurse who taught this to me said it will help the baby support her head sooner.

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  1. Serrina says

    I started turning our baby to his side to lift him during his first week of life also. It felt easier and safer. I’m not sure if it’s related, but he started lifting his head really early and rolling over sooner than expected.

  2. Mikko says

    For the record, our son is now seven weeks old and supports his head like a pro. I’ve also spun him (took the tip from Parent Hacks); looks like his motoric skills are developing nicely.

  3. Gabe Anzelini says

    My first baby is due on tuesday (Aug. 15th) and I am not really sure what the “turning to the left means”. Is it possible for someone to maybe shoot a short video of this and put it up on youtube for me? Thanks.

  4. Mikko says

    Nursing table is the place where you change the diapers. In the hospital it was a separate table, in our case, it’s set up in our sauna.

    This is harder to explain that it really is… If you want to turn the baby around, just grab her hand and pull, and the baby will do the turning. So if you want the baby’s left side down, you’ll grab the right hand and vice versa.

  5. Damon says

    I know that there are warnings against using an infant’s arms or legs to support their weight, so I’d be careful. Their ligaments and bones are not fully developed, along with their muscles.

  6. Serrina says

    I don’t think this is that difficult to understand. You just turn your baby to their side, their left or right, whichever side is facing you, then lift them up by the body. That’s all. I honestly don’t think parents would be pulling their babies by the arms.

  7. Mikko says

    Yes, there’s definitely no pulling by the arms involved when lifting a baby.

    In the other hand, if you turn the baby by pulling her arm, it takes only a very gentle motion to give the right idea and the baby will do all the work for you. Easier than lifting and turning and better for your baby as well!