When a newborn baby is wailing, every second can feel like hours — which is perhaps why a new YouTube video demonstrating how to soothe upset infants in seconds has become a viral must-watch.
Since Robert Hamilton, MD, of Pacific Ocean Pediatrics, posted his how-to “A pediatrician shows you how to calm a crying baby” on YouTube Sunday, the four-minute video has become a, well, screaming hit with more than 6.3 million views.
Offering a demonstration of the maneuver that he calls “the Hold,” on a baby upset about a shot he’d just received, the Santa Monica, Calif., physician walks viewers through the steps and swears “you can see that he comforts pretty quickly really.”
Photo: YouTube/Robert Hamilton
The actual moves Hamilton shows in the video (which he says work best on 2- and 3-month-old babies) are hardly revolutionary, though. He spells out a four-step process in which he advocates folding a baby’s arms together in front of the child’s chest, supporting the infant’s rear with your dominant hand, and tilting the tot forward at a 45-degree angle. Then “you can shake their booty, and generally by doing this the child will quiet down,” he says, adding, “Everything you do is very gentle. You don’t want to do jerky motions, ever.” A bonus move? “Sometimes we stir him to the left, sometimes we stir him to the right.”
The fact that his video of the technique has become a sensation online is “mind boggling,” Hamilton tells Yahoo Parenting. “There must be a lot of crying babies out there.” In all seriousness, though, he continues, “When babies are crying it commands attention so I think that’s why we kind of hit a nerve here.” Parents, he adds, “are always looking for the magic bullet. And I stand behind what I’m showing people. This works really, really well.”
The technique “is very similar to a method popularized by Dr. Harvey Karp,” Ari Brown, MD, Baby 411 author and pediatrician, tells Yahoo Parenting, referring to Karp’s Happiest Baby book and video series advocating a “5S” strategy to soothe infants (swaddle, side/stomach positioning, shush, swing, suck). “Though the wiggling of the heinie is different, more novel.”
Hamilton’s moves are successful, she says, for well-explained reasons. “The baby’s arms are secure, reducing their startle reflex. They like it because they’re snug and it’s a comforting reapproximation of the womb. And leaning forward actually helps lower abdominal pressure, which helps if a baby is colicky or has heartburn.”
Photo: YouTube/Robert Hamilton
Ultimately, all pediatricians “have their own secret things that they show parents to soothe crying babies that are not intuitive,” says Brown. As for why she imagines Hamilton’s video has gone viral, the pediatrician speculates that it simply provides another solution for a timeless challenge.
“Parents with a crying baby on their hands want something to help them, anything,” she says. “And this will probably work for lot of babies. It’s not a news flash, but it’s likely something that a lot of parents were not aware of until now.”