Being near a crying baby in a public setting can be uncomfortable. But no one feels more uncomfortable in this situation than the parents. For situations like these, pediatrician Dr. Robert Hamilton has developed an expert technique for quieting infants, which he calls “The Hold.”
According to Dr. Hamilton, “The Hold” involves wrapping a baby’s arms across their chest. Parents should hold their baby’s crossed arms in place with one hand, all while supporting their baby’s head. Then parents should lean their baby slightly forward at a 45-degree angle — so their head is supported — while using their other hand to wiggle the baby’s bottom. It can also be helpful to gently rock the baby. This method has been shown to be effective in Dr. Hamilton’s practice.
Pediatric experts have observed that “The Hold” is just an unconventional form of swaddling, which is when a baby is wrapped securely in a blanket. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, swaddling, when done correctly, is also an effective way to calm and soothe a baby.
But it should be noted that “The Hold” won’t work for every baby, and it’s not appropriate for every situation. Dr. Hamilton explains that when “The Hold” isn’t producing results, it could mean that the baby is sick or hungry. He also notes that this technique is most helpful in the first 2-3 months of a baby’s life. After that, a baby may be too heavy for the position.
If “The Hold” isn’t right for you or your baby, there are other expert-approved ways to calm a child in distress. Relaxing sounds, like that of a white noise machine or a recording of a heartbeat, can help a baby calm down. You may have to try a few different techniques until you find the one that’s right for you.
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