"The Hold" Technique: How to Calm a Crying Baby in Seconds?

Parents of newborns or young babies will often find themselves listening to the shrill sounds of a screaming infant. Whether they're hungry, tired or in need of a nappy change, they always find a way to let you know. And while many have perfected their own ways of settling their little one, they don't always work the way you want them to - and especially not in the middle of the night. One doctor claims to have found a foolproof method to instantly calm babies who are upset with a simple 'hold' technique.

It’s not surprising then that pediatrician Robert Hamilton has seen a lot of crying babies. What’s more unexpected is his unusual technique for calming them down, which, according to this video, works surprisingly fast. He wraps one of the baby’s arms in front of the other and holds them in place with one hand, all while supporting the baby’s head. He leans the baby slightly forward. With the other, he grabs the baby’s diapered behind and kind of wobbles it.

Has Hamilton stumbled across the perfect way to pacify a mewling infant? In fact it’s just an unconventional swaddling technique, according to Dr. Robert Block, pediatrician and former president of the American Academy of Pediatrics. “We’ve known for some time that some babies like to be swaddled,” he says. “The AAP has had some concerns about incorrect swaddling, but this is a good technique.”

And of course, parents have known from time immemorial that some babies like to be gently rocked, possibly because the swaying and the wrapped arms position mimic the conditions of the womb. If you’re giving “The Hold” a try, Dr. Block emphasizes that it’s important to lean the baby forward as you wrap, because they do like to throw their heads around and that can cause a parent to lose their grip.

“The Hold” doesn’t work for every child, of course; the doctor himself says it works only for babies within a certain age range. If your own infant proves resistant, Dr. Block has another tip: “Put your baby down gently on his back, somewhere safe like a crib and walk away.”