DEC 04, 2015 12:58 PM PST

How to Calm Fussy Newborns with

WRITTEN BY: Xuan Pham

It can be heart wrenching to listen to a newborn baby crying, especially when all of your attempts to soothe the baby haven't worked. Dr. Robert Hamilton thinks it all has to do with how you hold the baby.

His technique is called "The Hold," which is a broad name for a very specific maneuver. There are 4 steps to "The Hold":

1. Fold the baby's arm together to his/her chest and use your left hand to support the baby's head
2. Support the baby's bottom with your dominant hand
3. Tilt the baby forward at a 45-degree angle
4. Gently rock, shake, or even "stir" the baby's bottom with your right hand

The maneuver looks precarious but there's some science to it. First the folded arms mimic swaddling, whereby secured arms reduce the baby's startle reflex. Second tilting the baby forward helps to lower abdominal pressure, which could help colicky babies. And finally, the gentle motions are soothing. Dr. Hamilton says the technique works best for 2- and 3-month-old infants.

"The Hold" seems to work well for babies in Dr. Hamilton's hands. But he's also had decades of experience with holding infants, during which time he's probably developed unexplained intuitions about how to calm fussy babies.
About the Author
  • I am a human geneticist, passionate about telling stories to make science more engaging and approachable. Find more of my writing at the Hopkins BioMedical Odyssey blog and at TheGeneTwist.com.
You May Also Like
NOV 01, 2018
Chemistry & Physics
NOV 01, 2018
Oil Absorbing Sponge Made from Wood
  It has been eight years since the crude oil spill in the Mexico Gulf, but the shadow of aquatic petroleum contamination has never been far away. To...
NOV 07, 2018
Chemistry & Physics
NOV 07, 2018
Why Are Fruit Flies Attracted to Rotting Fruit Smell?
Fruit flies are the staple pests in the kitchen during summer. As much as these unwelcomed guests enjoy sucking up sugary juice, they are actually more att...
NOV 14, 2018
Videos
NOV 14, 2018
The Sunscreen Gene
Wouldn't it be convenient if we didn't have to worry about sunscreen because our bodies were able to just make it when we needed it?...
DEC 09, 2018
Health & Medicine
DEC 09, 2018
Treatment for Borderline Personality Disorder: Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)
  Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is defined by the "Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, 5th Edition (DSM-5), as a chronic disorder tha...
DEC 09, 2018
Videos
DEC 09, 2018
Retina Organoids Help Researchers Learn More About Color Vision
Researchers are growing mini-retinas to learn more about color vision, and why it's dysfunctional in some people....
DEC 10, 2018
Space & Astronomy
DEC 10, 2018
Learn More About How NASA Built the Parker Solar Probe
When NASA built the Solar Parker Probe to embark on its mission to study the Sun, they knew it’d need to be built with bleeding-edge technology to ma...
Loading Comments...