I don’t think many new Dads know how to hold a baby. And even fewer know about the ‘tiger in the tree hold’. I had even forgotten about this position, when I first learned about it at an NHS pre-natal class. The teacher handed out a grainy, photocopy of a line drawing showing this hold. A few weeks after my daughter was born, though, her mother and I were having difficulties soothing her. Rocking didn’t work and neither did patting her on the back or ‘shh-shh-shh-ing’ I discovered the NHS handout from under a pile of papers and we gave it a go with great success.
Usually, the tiger in the tree hold is recommended for soothing colicky babies. But we’ve been using it for weeks now with V, who doesn’t have colic. It can work a treat for a variety of my daughter’s gripes: from full blown apoplexy to nothing more than a mild case of squirrely baby syndrome. I just flip her over to lie in a prone position along my forearm, her chin resting in the crook of my arm, and she calms right down. Of course, I’m finding out in these early weeks that results with a newborn do vary. But like the man said; 60% of the time, it works all the time.
The only downside to this position is dribble on the forearm and an aching shoulder.
This hold was especially useful to discover as V. has not proven to be a fan of the classic ‘bum cradled in the crook of the arm’ position. This is the go-to hold for all the Grandparents. But perhaps tiger-in-the-tree is new to western society? Quite a few parents I’ve talked to either don’t know this hold, or seem reluctant to use it. And even after I have demonstrated the power of the tiger, the Grandparents still prefer to sit V. upright, chin resting on her chest like a grumpy Winston Churchill.