The Difference Between “The Hold” and The Happiest Baby on the Block? Sleep!!!

I love it when baby calming is in the news!  This week “the hold”, pediatrician Dr. Robert Hamilton’s method for calming newborns, received a lot of attention.  I watched the video, just like a few million parents and professionals.  Then I thought about how this fits in with The Happiest Baby techniques that I am certified to teach.  The biggest difference I see is that The Happiest Baby techniques provide parents with more tools to support fussy newborns all day and all night.

I think “the hold” probably works very well with the 50% of babies that are relatively easy to calm.  It has the right moves to give calming vestibular input, inhibit the startle reflex, and uses the prone (stomach) positioning to soothe a newborn quickly.  The Happiest Baby on the Block adds the lasting calming and neutral warmth of the swaddle, the suck, and the “shush” to layer on the love for better feeding and sleeping, and keeps it going over time.  That is where this technique, in my opinion, gives parents more helpful tools than “the hold”.

The Happiest Baby on the Block isn’t just for calming fussiness.  It gets newborns nice and calm, and keeps them there for longer sleep.  Sleep for everyone, parents included.  Calming a baby super-fast, but not helping her to get to sleep quickly and to stay asleep through multiple sleep cycles/noises, isn’t going to make the life-changing difference that the 5 S’s can make for newborns.  Especially for the fussiest babies that really need all 5 moves (swaddle, swing, suck, shush and stomach/side positioning) to get calm and stay there.

I know; saying that this is life-changing is pretty dramatic.  If you are a sleep-deprived and frantic new parent, sleep is what you desperately want, not just calming.  Getting a newborn to sleep an extra hour or so at a time is not magic, it is The Happiest Baby On The Block at it’s best!

I forgot to mention how heavy a 9-pound screaming child could feel when you do “the hold”.  Raising a newborn up in the air with just your hands  isn’t as easy as it looks for some women.   Hormonal changes in pregnancy will loosen our ligaments in our pelvis, our wrists and our hands as well.  I have a suspicion that dads will be the ones doing “the hold” more often than moms if a baby needs calming a few times a day!

By Cathy Collyer

I am a licensed occupational therapist, licensed massage therapist, and certified CBT-i sleep coach in private practice in the NYC area. I have over 25 years of professional experience in adult and pediatric treatment. It has been a joy to help people of all ages improve their ability to grow and thrive! Occupational therapists are focused on enhancing a client's functioning in everyday life. We are practical healthcare providers, interested in teaching, adapting actions and environments, and building a client's useful skills for living their best life, regardless of their challenges. I am the author of five books, including "Staying In The Room: Managing Medical And Dental Care When You Have DID" and "The Practical Guide To Toilet Training the Autistic Child". I lecture on many subjects, including sleep, trauma, and development. Contact me to learn more about how I can help you achieve YOUR goals!

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