Maybe what pediatrician Robert Hamilton learned in recent days is that soothing a baby is on most parents’ minds. Like more than 14 million.
Of course, he probably knew that already, or his technique for soothing newborns making waves on YouTube wouldn’t exist.
Hamilton, who has been in practice for 31 years and runs Pacific Ocean Pediatrics in Santa Monica, Calif., always had a way with babies. “Typically, when you examine children, they cry. That’s what we expect as pediatricians,” he says in an interview.
But when the exam was over, he still needed to finish the appointment by talking to the parents. “I felt like I broke it and I needed to fix it.” So as he spoke to the parents, he had a little method that evolved over the years. He would gently lift the baby up and down, and wrap their arms across their little chests. “That was the element that comforted them more than anything,” he says. “What I was doing was swaddling them.” The babies would calm down, the parents would oooh and ahhh and ask how to do it themselves.
“I always say remember where they came from: the womb, which is tight quarters,” says Hamilton, 62. His method tries to recreate the womb for those babies who cry at his first touch.
Hamilton says he’s been doing this for about 20 years. His technique is different from most because he holds the baby out and lifts their little bodies up and down, gently bouncing them while wrapping their arms tightly around their body. “All of this is very gentle,” he says. He sometimes refers to it as shaking their booty.
As he did this over the years, people suggested he make a video so they could watch or share with friends. He finally did and hoped for about 10,000 hits. He’s at more than 14 million now in just a few short days.
With six of his own children, and six grandchildren, he’s had a bit of experience beyond the office, too.
It’s not a surprise that his mentor and friend is Harvey Karp, the pediatrician who made the “shhhh” method famous with his “The Happiest Baby on the Block.” In fact, I still can feel myself doing that in those early, bleary days, eight years later.
The gentle lifting and booty shaking Hamilton demonstrates may be the new technique of this generation of teeny ones.
“If I can pass on this idea, I will be a happy man,” Hamilton says.