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HOME VISITING: Caring for a newborn


Whether you are a new mom, dad, grandparent, or friend, holding and caring for a newborn can be nerve-racking! They are small, sensitive and fragile. It might be frightening at first, but the bond between you and the baby is far more precious.

Here are some tips to make you feel more comfortable while holding a newborn:

Wash your hands: Wash your hands with antibacterial soap or use hand sanitizer before touching the baby. They do not have a strong immune system yet and can easily catch a cold.

Don’t wear perfume: The baby’s skin is still very sensitive. Try to avoid using any type of perfume before you hold or visit a newborn baby. The perfume could cause a rash. If you are wearing perfume, use a clean cloth to cover your clothes before picking up a newborn.

Support your baby’s head: Be extra careful when picking up a baby and holding them. As an infant, the baby’s neck is still fragile and it may be difficult for them to support their own head. Remember to provide support to the head and neck when holding the baby.

Do not shake your newborn: Newborns have a lot of growing to do. Shaking the baby or jiggling them violently can cause damage to their brain. Sometimes babies are fussy. If you are holding a crying baby, rock them gently or sing to them softly to help calm them down.

It’s okay to be nervous, there are many resources to help you feel confident as a first-time parent. Home Visiting is a program for first-time families seeking extra support and guidance. Home visitors meet with moms and families, providing guidance, resources and skills to raise a healthy and happy baby. To get connected or to learn more about the program, dial 2-1-1 Help Me Grow and ask the specialist about Home Visiting.

© 2023. Delaware Division of Public Health.