A way to calm a crying baby may have been found

Many parents are frustrated when their babies cry too much and refuse to sleep. Now, scientists say the best way to calm babies down is to pick them up and walk for five minutes. This evidence-based calming method was presented in a paper published yesterday in Current Biology.

“Many parents suffer from baby crying at night,” said article co-author Kumi Kuroda, who worked at the RIKEN (Japan Physical and Chemical Research Institute) Center for Brain Sciences on the study published in Popular Science Turkey. “This is such a problem, especially for inexperienced parents, that it can lead to parental stress and, in a small number of cases, even child abuse.”

The same is true for other mammals.

Kuroda and colleagues have been studying the transport response, an innate response seen in many mammals (with immature and unable to care for themselves) mammals that are in need of maternal assistance, such as mice, dogs, cats, monkeys, and humans. They observed that when these animals lifted their young off the ground and began to walk, their body tended to become docile and their pulse to slow.

Kuroda’s research team compared these effects of the carry response (the relaxation response when carried) to other situations, such as the mother holding the baby still or rocking. The scientists also examined whether these effects persisted if human infants were transported for longer periods of time.

As a result of the research, it was seen that just holding on to the lap may not be enough to calm the crying baby. Shaking has also been observed to have soothing effects and possibly activate the baby’s carry response.

The effects were more pronounced when the holding and walking movements continued for five minutes. When the mother walked while carrying the baby, the crying babies calmed down and their pulses slowed within 30 seconds. All the crying babies in the study stopped crying and nearly half slept.

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