Any parent will tell you there is nothing more frustrating or exhausting than a crying infant who can not be consoled. According to a California pediatrician, the solution to soothing a wailing child is as simple as a little baby booty shaking.
Robert Hamilton, MD, founder of Pacific Ocean Pediatrics in Santa Monica, has been a pediatrician for 30 years and has treated thousands of children over the course of his career. In a video posted Nov. on YouTube, Hamilton, who is the father of six, demonstrates the simple technique he uses to calm infants during office visits.
In the gone-viral video, Hamilton shows parents how to fold and cross the baby’s arms across her chest and secure them with one hand. Next he positions the baby’s bottom in the fleshy part of the palm of his other hand. Holding the baby at a 45-degree angle to make sure he has control of the baby’s head, Hamilton gently wiggles the baby’s bottom back and forth and up and down. The result: The crying infant is calm and tear-free.
Hamilton cautions the technique – which he calls The Hold – is only suitable for babies up to three months old, when they are still small enough to be held in the required position. “Everything you do is very gentle,” Hamilton instructs in the video. “You don’t want to do jerky motions ever.”
If the baby continues to cry, Hamilton suggests parents consider whether the child is hungry, in need of a diaper change, or not feeling well.
While there is no medical explanation for why The Hold works, keeping an infant close makes most tiny babies feel secure, and many love to be bounced and gently patted on the bottom. Some experts believe this kind of movement mimics the sensation of being in the womb, and that crossing the baby’s arms provides the same comfort as being swaddled.
Christine Chambers, PhD, a professor of pediatrics at Dalhousie University in Halifax, sees The Hold as a variant of a newborn care strategy known as facilitated tucking. “There is some evidence that facilitated tucking is effective to reduce pain and distress in babies undergoing painful procedures,” Chambers told CBS.
With nearly 2 million views on YouTube, Hamilton’s four-minute video of the technique is certainly getting the attention of parents. And as one frazzled mom put it, “However it works, it’s definitely worth a try.”