- Chris Jackson/Getty Images
- On Wednesday, Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle took baby Archie to a polo match with her.
- After photos from the event surfaced, people started criticizing Markle’s baby-holding technique and said she wasn’t “mum material” because of it.
- According to a certified midwife, Markle is indeed holding her baby incorrectly, though the image only captured a potentially fleeting moment and plenty of other pictures show her holding Archie just fine.
- Parents should support babies’ heads and necks with their left hand until they are old enough to do so on their own.
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Following a Wednesday trip to a polo match with her baby Archie, Meghan Markle is being criticized for the way she carried her two-month-old son, Fox 8 Cleveland reported.
Upon seeing a photograph of Markle holding Archie, Twitter users attacked the new mom, saying she isn’t “mum material” and needs a baby-holding lesson.
I am surprised that nobody else has yet commented on the way that Meghan Markle is holding Archie. She is clearly struggling and not yet familiar with the best way to hold a baby that is covered by a blanket. Her hand position is also awkwardly placed. https://t.co/xOeo26d84E
— Stanga (@Pork_Nocker) July 10, 2019
@RoyalFamily @ClarenceHouse@KensingtonRoyal Is there anyone in your palaces who can teach #MeghanMarkle how to hold a baby in her arms? It seems that Meghan Markle is not a mum material but she will hurt the baby! She will surely keep using the baby for her own PR. pic.twitter.com/hYyVJCOGBi
— À la lanterne! (@LatifeUssaki) July 11, 2019
Most babies don’t have the strength to hold up their own heads before 4 months
It turns out, internet critics aren’t wrong in their appraisal of Markle’s baby-holding skills, at least in how it’s presented in this single photo.
While the photo could have captured Markle in an awkward moment that didn’t last, and plenty of other photos show her holding Archie just fine, in this one, the Duchess is not supporting Archie’s head and neck, a mistake that could cause his head to bob around or fall backward, potentially leading to a neck or spinal injury, Klein said.
It takes time for babies to develop the neck strength that toddlers and adults have in order to hold their heads up all of the time. According to Klein, babies can typically begin to support their own heads when they’re 4 months old, but until then, whoever is holding the child has to help them out.
“It’s a safety issue,” Klein said. “People shouldn’t be criticizing her, but it is the physiology of why the baby needs to be supported.”
Your pointer finger and thumb can support a baby’s head
To ensure a baby’s safety, a new parent should place their left hand at the base of the baby’s skull, Klein explained. Their pointer finger and thumb should be positioned on either side of the baby’s neck to provide the support the baby needs to stay stable and prevent any injuries.
If a mom is breastfeeding or formula feeding the baby, she can support his or her head in the crook of her left elbow, and her forearm can run along the baby’s back and spine. Then, she can place her hand on the baby’s butt to keep him in place. “Her right hand would be free to do what she wants,” Klein said.
Additionally, Klein recommended on-the-go moms like Markle try a sling to carry their babies on their bodies. This method would allow both hands to remain free while still supporting the little one’s head and neck.
If you’re unsure how to hold your baby, Kelin suggested hiring a post-partum doula to teach you, or attending community classes for new moms.
Regardless of how you learn, Klein said it’s an essential parenting skill and one that new moms like Markle shouldn’t be shamed out of learning.