The Reverse-Breast-Feeding Hold - Woodmam

This hold is my favorite for carrying a crying baby while I’m walking or bouncing him into tranquillity. It’s easy and comfortable to do, and it supports his head and neck perfectly.

1. Sit down and lay your baby on your lap; have him on his right side with his head on your knees and his feet on your left hip.

2. Slide your left hand between your knee and his cheek so you support his head (or head and neck) in your palm and outstretched fingers.

3. Roll him onto your left forearm so his stomach rests against your arm and bring him in to your body, lightly pressing his back against your chest.

In this position, your thumb will be right next to his face and you can even let him take it into his mouth for added pleasure. (Always wash your hands first.)

The Football Hold

Fathers love the football hold. This stomach-down position requires a little extra arm strength, but it’s fun and effective. In fact, silencing babies, mid-squawk, with the football hold is one of the greatest baby “magic tricks” of all time.

1. Sit your swaddled baby on your lap, face him to your left, and place your left hand under his chin, supporting it like a chin strap.

2. Gently lean him forward and roll his hips over so his stomach is lying on your left forearm. His head rests in your palm, his chest and stomach are snugly cushioned against your forearm, and his legs are straddled over your arm, hanging limp.

The Over-the-Shoulder Hold

Hoisting your fussy baby up onto your shoulder can have a powerful, soothing effect. Often, simply lifting your baby into an upright position gets him to open his eyes and perk up.

When your baby is upright you can also let the weight of his body press his stomach against your shoulder to provide him with some extra tummy touching, making this hold doubly comforting. Be sure to swaddle your baby before you put him over your shoulder. It will help him stay asleep when you move him off your shoulder to his bassinet.


This is by no means an exhaustive list of calming baby holds. You can also try the cannonball position, where your baby is curled in a ball, knee to chest, across your lap, or the hot-water-bottle position, with your baby draped over a warm hot-water bottle so the heat and pressure are against his stomach. (Remember, don’t let him sleep on his stomach.) Have fun discovering the position that makes your baby the happiest.

The Whys About the “S’s”: Questions Parents Ask About the Side/Stomach Position

1. Where should I put my baby’s hands when he’s on his side?

Your baby’s arms should be placed straight along his body. Even with the tightest wrap, there’s enough wiggle room to allow your baby to move his bottom arm a little bit forward to get into a comfortable position.

2. Can a baby’s arm ever go to sleep when he’s lying on his side?

No. Arms only fall asleep when there’s firm pressure on the part of the elbow called the funny bone. That’s why it happens when you snooze on a hard desk using your arm as a pillow. Since the arms of a swaddled baby move a little bit forward once wrapped, there’s never enough pressure on the arm to cause it to fall asleep.

3. If babies miss the womb sensations, wouldn’t it make sense to position them upside-down?

Well, that’s an interesting thought, but the answer is no. You might think babies who have spent months upside-down would like this position, but the womb is filled with fluid so the fetus actually floats almost weightlessly inside. Once outside of the uterus, the buoyancy is gone, and an upside-down baby would develop uncomfortable pressure as blood pools in his head.
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