Baby Holding Techniques: The Hold

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‘The Hold’ is a baby calming technique that is the brainchild of Dr. Robert Hamilton, who is an American pediatrician. Dr. Hamilton’s technique can be found brilliantly explained on YouTube, and was seen and liked millions of times in a very short period.

This was a clear indication that there are, without doubt, many parents and caregivers out there who are eager to find a means of calming their babies. With more than 3 decades of working with children under his belt, as well as having 6 children of his own, it is safe to assume that Dr. Hamilton anticipated parents would be eager to dip their hands on such information.

How To Calm A Crying Baby - Dr. Robert Hamilton Demonstrates "The Hold" (Official)

The hold – procedure

Dr. Hamilton’s holding technique consists of some 4 very simple steps. In the first step, the baby’s arms are folded across the baby’s chest. Next, the arms are gently secured. Following this, the baby’s diaper area is grasped before the fourth and final step, which is rocking the infant at an angle of 45 degrees.

The parent or caregiver holds the infant with one hand around the infant’s chest, while the other hand is positioned under the bottom while gently rocking the infant back and forth. ‘The Hold’ appears to have an immediate effect, as Dr. Hamilton points out in his YouTube video.

Does it work?

In a media interview, Dr. Hamilton said that his technique is optimal on children between the first 2 and 3 months of life. The objective of the technique is to attempt recreating an intrauterine feeling. This gives the baby a sense of security and calms him or her.

While there is no further evidence to prove or disprove that Dr. Hamilton’s technique is foolproof, one thing that’s for certain is his technique is quite popular. Dr. Hamilton himself has expressed awe about the popularity ‘The Hold’ has received and stated that he never would have expected this to happen in his wildest dreams, but he is humbled by it.

Other baby calming techniques

Soothing babies can be tricky, especially if they are well-fed, comfortable, and not ill. It’s important to take care of the baby’s most pressing need, as doing this will immediately solve the crying problem. Some means of calming a baby include singing or talking to the baby in a tranquil voice, while gently stroking or rubbing his or her back. Rattle toys and pacifiers are clever ways of distracting a baby. Sometimes all a baby needs is a little walk or a ride in the stroller, or perhaps some music.

All babies are unique; thus, what may work for one may not work for another. The trick is for parents or caregivers to pay close attention to the little details that work best for them. One important thing to remember is that sometimes it’s totally ok to let the baby cry, if it is certain that all the baby’s needs have been adequately met.

Babies cry. It’s just what they do and is their primary means of communication. Parents just need to have patience and strong support from a family member or close friend for those times when they feel overwhelmed.



Further Reading

Last Updated: Feb 26, 2019

Dr. Damien Jonas Wilson

Written by

Dr. Damien Jonas Wilson

Dr. Damien Jonas Wilson is a medical doctor from St. Martin in the Caribbean. He was awarded his Medical Degree (MD) from the University of Zagreb Teaching Hospital. His training in general medicine and surgery compliments his degree in biomolecular engineering (BASc.Eng.) from Utrecht, the Netherlands. During this degree, he completed a dissertation in the field of oncology at the Harvard Medical School/ Massachusetts General Hospital. Dr. Wilson currently works in the UK as a medical practitioner.


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