Don't pick up baby under the arms? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 11 Old 02-28-2009, 10:25 AM - Thread Starter
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I'm due in April with my third and am reading through Elizabeth Noble's Essential Exercises for the Childbearing Years. I'm loving it and feel like I learn new things during each pregnancy/birth.

However, she had just one page that mentioned that you shouldn't hold or pick up babies under the arms because their center of gravity is not being supported. She says you should actually hold them by their "base" (under their bottom and that if you do this from the beginning, even infants will develop faster muscle control in their necks. She had a picture of a 10 day old holding up its own head while being balanced by mom's two hands around it's bottom.

Anyway, I've always picked babies up under the arms and am trying to even think about how to pick them up from laying down without doing so - it will be a tough habit to break.

And I'm looking for confirmation on the internet, but haven't found anything. Have any of you heard of this and do you know any resources that support it?

Hope this is the right place to post...

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#2 of 11 Old 02-28-2009, 10:53 AM
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Personally, I've never heard that you shouldn't pick a baby up under their arms. However, I have a niece who has brittle bone disease and that was one of the first things we were told when she was tiny. She could not be picked up under her arms, or it would break her ribs. I've now gotten into the habit of not picking up any babies under their arms just because I got used to it with her.

As for picking her up when she was laying down... I would put one hand under her bottom and the other supporting her head and lift her that way. We also can't lift her by the feet when changing her diaper. That was hard to get used to, but doesn't take long for these adjustments to become habit.

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#3 of 11 Old 02-28-2009, 12:02 PM
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Honestly I think that sounds a bit silly. And somewhat irrelevant for babies who are worn/carried in arms for large parts of the day, because they generally develop better muscle control earlier.

I would say, as long as you're supporting the baby's head and holding him/her securely, however you pick him/her up is fine.

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#4 of 11 Old 02-28-2009, 10:00 PM
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I think the other part of it is that generally you may pick them up that way but you don't really hold them that way. Really the only time I have him under the arms is transitioning him from a surface to my body.

Holding the head up I think it is very individual - ds was pretty competent with his head pretty much from birth.

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#5 of 11 Old 03-01-2009, 11:40 AM
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Sounds like one of those things for babies who spend most of their time laying on their backs.
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#6 of 11 Old 03-01-2009, 03:04 PM
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I would think this is referring to carrying a babe like a sack of potatoes, kinda under their arms with no other support. I'm sure I've done that for a quick moment, but otherwise, mamas seem to naturally carry their babes supporting their bases (their bottoms). That is what any good baby carrier will do, support the babe in a sitting position with fabric from knee to knee, and bums lower than knees, so that their cores/bases are well supported.

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#7 of 11 Old 03-01-2009, 09:37 PM
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I, too, have heard that it's bad to pick newborns up under the arms a lot (although not by anyone with research to back it up). Apparently it's okay once they're older and have head control. We always picked up our daughter with one hand under her bum and one under her neck/head until she was sitting on her own. After doing it a few times it became habit.

Heidi, mama to DD Abigail (Sept 2007), wife to amazing DH Gavin, BFing, Babywearing, Bed Sharing, loving every minute!

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#8 of 11 Old 03-01-2009, 11:57 PM
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Moving from Babywearing to Life with a Babe.
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#9 of 11 Old 03-02-2009, 12:40 AM
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Our ped said to hold her by her base to help her with sitting, but said not to do that all the time or she'll get mad about flopping all over. We started doing half and half once DD hit 4 months, but as a new baby we always picked her up under her arms. She would have flopped over all the time if we hadn't.

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#10 of 11 Old 03-02-2009, 03:30 AM
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Everything in moderation.

You'll be picking up your babe so much that you'll end up doing what comes naturally. Either way all newborns eventually hold up their heads, no need to rush it right?

Julia, mama to Bumpa 2008, and The Mole 2011

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#11 of 11 Old 03-02-2009, 01:09 PM
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I just naturally always picked him up with one hand under his neck/head, one hand under his bum, bringing him up to my chest. I never liked the idea of putting all his weight on just one area of his newborn body. Maybe the fact that he was born with a broken collarbone had something to do with it.

I only started picking him up under the arms around 6 months. He was sitting on his own at 5 months, so I waited until I felt his core muscles were strong enough for me to be comfortable with this method. I still don't like it very much though and sometimes still scoop him up with a hand under his bum.

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