Written by Angela Silva

It’s a fact of life: babies cry. And why shouldn’t they? They abruptly leave the warm, comfortable, cozy quarters of their mother’s womb to enter the cold, loud, dry world, and that’s undoubtedly a tough transition. But for parents and caretakers, soothing a crying baby isn’t always as simple as changing their diaper or offering a breast or bottle.

Fortunately, Dr. Robert Hamilton, a seasoned pediatrician from California, has seemed to find a “miracle” solution for calming a crying baby, with what he has termed “the hold.”

So what is this secret, magical hold?

Here’s what you do:

  1. Cross the babies’ arms against their chest.
  2. Use one hand to hold the babies’ arms in place while supporting their neck.
  3. Place your other hand under their diaper.
  4. Lean the baby forward, at about a 45-degree angle.
  5. Bounce gently.

This hold is essentially just another form of swaddling, a well-known technique that mimics the conditions in the womb to calm an upset baby. The difference from most swaddling techniques is that this hold has the baby held out away from the body. But other pediatricians have praised the revealing of this technique.

“We’ve known for some time that some babies like to be swaddled,” said Dr. Robert Block, former president of the American Academy of Pediatrics. “The AAP has had some concerns about incorrect swaddling, but this is a good technique.”

This hold works for about 90-percent of babies, according to Dr. Hamilton. He admits that it doesn’t work for all babies, particularly those who are hungry or ill. But he has been practicing pediatric medicine for over 30 years, and has found over time that this method allows him to quiet almost any crying baby after vaccinations or any other tear-inducing procedure while he must talk with the parents. The hold is also only for babies under about 3 months of age, while they’re still light enough to safely hold this way.

And of course, teaching parents and caretakers another way to help calm their baby not only provides relief for the baby, but also for the parents and caretakers who are often stressed and frazzled when a baby just doesn’t seem to respond to other calming methods. If parents or caretakers find themselves getting upset or angry at a crying baby who resists all efforts of comfort, Dr. Block and many other pediatricians agree that the best solution is to lay the crying baby on their back in their bassinet or crib, and for the parent or caretaker to find an activity that will relax and calm, to prevent shaking or other harm a parent or caretaker may be tempted to use on the upset infant.

So try it, tell your friends about it, and see for yourself if “the hold” lives up to the hype. It may just be the trick to soothing your crying infant. If nothing else, it’s another tool in your parenting toolbox to try or recommend for other parents looking for a solution to their crying baby.

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Healthy Staff

Healthy Magazine is staffed by a team of journalists and health experts who have a goal of presenting you with useful information that you actually want to read.