Comfort holding

Your premature baby may be critically unwell or it might be difficult to get those cuddles when she’s linked up to so many tubes or needs to be in the humidcrib but there are things you can still do to bond with your preterm baby

Bonding with your new born is an emotional act for any parent. For parents of preterm babies this is often not as simple as you would hope. Often the fragility of new born preterm babies prevents you from accessing them for cuddles and attention. Comfort holding allows you to experience that loving and nurturing touch when your baby is not ready to be held.

Cradling your preterm baby with still hands is sometimes more comforting and comfortable for unwell babies than stroking and massage. Every baby is different and you’ll learn to read your babies signs to know which they prefer and when.

Want more information

For more information read Baby watching - understanding signals

comfort holding preterm babies

Benefits of Comfort holding

  • Soothes your preterm baby during medical procedures
  • Settles your baby if he/she is restless
  • Helps your preterm baby to get back to sleep after feeds and cares
  • Encourages your baby to be quietly awake and responsive

Practical Tips

  • Discuss comfort holding with your preterm baby’s nurse, she may give you some guidance and together you can start to understand the signs from your baby as to when they might like comfort holding.
  • Take off your watch, rings, bracelets, and any other jewellery, wash your hands and arms, and roll your sleeves to the elbows. This will reduce the risk of infection.
  • Make sure your hands are warm before you touch your preterm baby. If your baby has trouble staying warm put a blanket between you and your baby’s skin.
  • Speak to your baby before touching, he will probably already recognize your voice, and it is a good cue to let them know you are there before you start.
  • Cradle one or both hands around your baby’s feet, head or body, and keep them still. Your baby may also like to grasp one of your fingers.
  • Wait and watch for signs that tell you your baby is relaxed. You can continue for as long as you are both comfortable.
  • When you finish comfort holding your preterm baby, move your hands away very slowly.

Reference Links:  Neonatal Nurses Association  ,  Bliss



AlbertEinstein_iconOne of the greatest minds in history, Albert Einstein was born preterm.

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Preemie, Premmie, or Prem?

Most babies spend between 38 and 42 weeks in their mother’s uterus. So, technically a preterm birth, preemie, premmie, or prem, is an infant who is born less than 37 completed gestational weeks. 

Read More: Defining Preterm birth



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