Written by Kara Morris, HealthDay Reporter
WEDNESDAY, Sept. 14, 2022 (HealthDay News) — A new study gives parents what seems like a miracle gift: a simple, free technique that only takes 13 minutes to get babies to sleep early.
Researchers in Japan found that five minutes of walking while holding infants soothed newborns, while another eight minutes of sitting while holding sleeping babies made the transition to a crib smooth.
The team studied the cooling process using a Baby ECG and video cameras to compare changes in heart rate and behavior as 21 mothers did some common activities to calm babies. These included carrying and pushing children in a stroller and carrying them while sitting.
The researchers were able to record detailed data from the babies who were crying, awake and quiet, or asleep. The idea was to track changes in both behavior and physiology with great precision.
The team found that “a five-minute walk promoted sleep, but only for crying infants. Surprisingly, this effect was absent when the babies were already calm beforehand,” said study author Dr. Kumi Kuroda, of the RIKEN Center for Brain Science in Saitama. Japan.
Regardless, all of the children in the study stopped crying by the end of the five-minute walk and lowered their heart rates. About half of them were asleep.
The study found that the babies were highly sensitive to all of their mothers’ movements, with their heart rates changing when their mothers stopped walking or when they had just turned. The most significant event that disturbed the sleeping infants occurred when they were separated from their mothers, indicating a problem with waking the infant during sleep.
“Although we did not expect this, the key factor in successful recumbency for sleeping infants was latency from the onset of sleep,” Kuroda said in a RIKEN press release.
Specifically, babies often wake up if they are put down about eight minutes before they sleep.
To fix the problem, Kuroda suggests mothers hold a steadily crying baby for about five minutes with few sudden movements, followed by about eight minutes of sitting before putting them to sleep.
The study doesn’t address why some babies cry excessively and can’t sleep, but it does offer a solution that could help parents.
Kuroda also said, “We are developing a ‘children’s technology’ wearable device with which parents can see their children’s physiological states on their smartphones in real time.” “Like science-based fitness training, we can do science-based parenting with these advances, and hopefully help babies sleep and reduce parental stress caused by excessive infant crying.”
The results were published September 13 in Current Biology.
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