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Local author Chris Illuminati and son

Some parents have the knowledge and the instincts down before their first child even arrives in the world. Others (like me if I ever have a child) will need a complete and detailed instruction book.

Let’s cover some basics today, from The Baby Owner’s Manual.

Handling the New Baby: Always wash your hands before handling the baby. Human skin contains bacteria that, when transferred to the baby, can cause him to function improperly. If you do not have access to soap and water, disinfect your hands with a baby wipe.

Picking Up the Baby

- Slide one hand under the baby’s neck and head to support them. In the first weeks, the baby’s neck has minimal function. Until it strengthens, handle the baby with care to prevent undesirable “flopping” of the head.

- Slide your other hand under his bottom and spine.

- Lift the baby close to your body.

Caution: When laying the baby down, always support the baby’s head with your hands, and ensure that the surface you put him on will support his head and neck.

Passing the Baby: During the baby’s first two months of life, the immune system is extremely fragile. It is recommended that you limit the number of visitors during this period. Before passing the baby to another person, be sure this person has washed his or her hands.

When one user wishes to pass the baby off to another, or when friends and family come to visit, use the following techniques to keep the baby safe.

- Use one hand to support the baby’s head and neck. Your other hand should support the baby’s bottom and spine.

- Have the other person cross his or her arms.

- Set the baby’s head and neck in the crook of one arm. Instruct the other person to support the baby’s head.

- Place the baby’s body into the crossed arms.

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