WEDNESDAY, September 14, 2022 (HealthDay News) — A new study presents parents with a seemingly miraculous gift: A simple, free technique that takes just 13 minutes to euthanize crying infants.
Researchers in Japan found that walking around while carrying infants for five minutes calmed newborns, while sitting for another eight minutes while holding sleeping babies still made transfer to a crib a smooth process.
The team studied the soothing process using a baby ECG machine and video cameras to compare changes in heart rate and behavior while 21 mothers performed some activities common to soothing infants. This included carrying the babies, pushing them in a stroller and holding them while seated.
The researchers were able to record detailed data from babies who were crying, awake and calm, or asleep. The idea was to track changes in both behavior and physiology with great precision.
The team found that “walking for five minutes promotes sleep, but only in crying infants. Surprisingly, this effect was absent when babies were quiet beforehand,” said study author Dr. Kumi Kuroda from the RIKEN Center for Brain Science in Saitama. Japan.
Regardless, by the end of the five-minute walk, all of the babies in the study had stopped crying and had a lower heart rate. About half were asleep.
The study found that babies were extremely sensitive to all of their mothers’ movements, and their heart rate would change when their mothers stopped walking or simply turned around. The most significant event disturbing the sleeping infants occurred just as they were being separated from their mothers and highlighted the problem that a sleeping baby wakes up just as the child is being laid down.
“Although we did not predict it, the key parameter for the successful laying down of sleeping infants was the latency from sleep onset,” Kuroda said in a RIKEN press release.
In particular, when laid down, babies often woke up before about eight minutes of sleep.
To fix the problem, Kuroda suggests mothers should carry a crying baby quietly for about five minutes with few abrupt movements, followed by sitting for about eight minutes before laying them down to sleep.
The study doesn’t address why some babies cry excessively and can’t sleep, but it does offer a solution that parents can help.
“We are developing a wearable ‘Baby Tech’ device that will allow parents to see their babies’ physiological status in real time on their smartphones,” Kuroda said. “As with science-based fitness training, these advances will allow us to practice science-based parenting and hopefully help babies fall asleep and reduce parental stress caused by excessive infant crying.”
The results were published in Current Biology on September 13.
The American Academy of Pediatrics has more on how to soothe a crying baby.
SOURCE: RIKEN Center for Brain Science, press release, September 13, 2022