It is the anguish of all young parents and an eternal intergenerational debate. What is the best way to put a crying baby to sleep? A team of scientists from the “Kiren center for brain science” in Japan said in the journal Current Biology on Tuesday that they had found the formula to “provide an immediate solution to infant crying”.
“This is an important question, especially for inexperienced parents, and can lead to parental stress and, to a lesser extent, child abuse,” explains study author Kumi Kuroda.
While many parents put their baby directly back in the bed after cradling him on the spot, Professor Kuroda’s team advises them to walk for five minutes with the crying child, then sit for five to eight other minutes, still holding the child before putting him back in his cradle.
To obtain this result, the team studied the behavior of about twenty children carried by their mothers, but believes that the effects should be the same with “any parent”.
The Japanese scientist explains that walking with the baby activates the infant’s ‘carrying response’, an innate response seen in many altricial mammals – those whose young are immature and unable to care for themselves – such as mice, dogs, monkeys and humans. When these animals pick up their young and begin to walk, the baby tends to become docile and their heart rate slows. This discovery deconstructs a number of received ideas such as the one affirming that the child should be left to cry.
But if the mere act of rocking a baby while walking calms the child – all the babies studied during the study stopped crying and nearly half of them fell asleep in their mothers’ arms – Putting him straight back into bed resulted in a third of infants crying again within 20 seconds.
Japanese scientists say that when moved, babies automatically match their heart rate to that of the cradling parent. But the change in heart rate, the moment their body detaches from their mother, can wake them up instantly. That’s why Professor Kuroda’s team advises parents to sit down for five minutes before dropping them off in their crib.
“As a mother of four children, I was very surprised to see the result. I thought baby woke up or not depending on how he was laid in the bed,” says Kumi Kuroda. “But our experience shows that this is not related to the gentleness of the gesture of the parent or the position of the infant. »
“We intuitively listen to other people’s advice on parenting without testing scientific methods. But we need science to understand the behaviors of babies, because they are much more complex than we thought, ”concludes the author of the study. Parents are free to test this new Japanese method which, if it does not work, will at least have the merit of making them practice daily physical activity.
Leave a Comment