From offering a pacifier to desperately singing lullabies, the most exhausted parents will do anything to stop their baby from crying. Luckily, a study claims to have the recipe to lull a baby to sleep and soothe their crying.
Researchers at the RIKEN Center in Japan say the trick to calming a crying baby is to hold him for five minutes, then sit with him for five to eight minutes, before placing him in his crib.
Many people breed intuitively and listen to other people’s advice on breeding without testing the methods with rigorous science. But we need science to understand a baby’s behaviors, because they are much more complex and diverse than we thought.
In the study, the researchers set out to find a solution to nighttime crying. Many parents suffer from babies crying at night. It is such a big problem, especially for inexperienced parents, that it can lead to parental stress and even child abuse in a small number of cases.
Many altricial mammals, those born immature and unable to care for themselves, have an innate reaction to crying called the transport response . The researchers theorized that the transport response might also help calm human babies.
How to calm a baby crying?
To test whether this was the case, the team compared the responses of 21 crying babies under four conditions: being held by their mothers, held by their mothers sitting up, lying in a still cot, or lying in a rocking cot.
Their observations revealed that when the mother walked while carrying the baby, the crying baby calmed down and its heart rate slowed in just 30 seconds. A similar effect was seen when the baby was placed in a rocking cradle. However, when the mother held the baby while sitting or placed the baby in a still cot, the baby did not calm down.
This suggests that carrying alone is not enough to calm a crying baby and instead movement is needed to activate the carry response.
In particular, the researchers found that the effect was most evident when they were petted and walked for five minutes, in which all the babies stopped crying and half fell asleep. However, when mothers tried to put their babies to bed, more than a third woke up within 20 seconds. That’s why the researchers suggest that mothers should continue to hold their babies before putting them to bed, even if they appear to be fast asleep.
Based on the findings, the researchers suggest a three-step “recipe” for calming a crying baby:
- Hold the crying baby and walk with him for five minutes.
- Sit up and hold the baby in your arms for another five to eight minutes.
- lay him down