Many upset parents may finally be able to breathe. In fact, an Italian-Japanese study proposes a two-step procedure to calm and put a crying baby to sleep. These results, published in the journal Current biologythey only involve mothers but are valid for any other family member of the child.
Five minutes of moving transport followed by 8 minutes of sitting transport before putting the baby in his bed: this is the soothing formula proposed by the researchers of the Riken Center for Brain Sciences in Japan and the University of Trento in Italy to place a child who cries sleep. To reach this conclusion, the researchers used previous observations made on altrizial or altritial mammals, that is, whose young are born unable to move and feed (such as dogs, mice, monkeys, etc.). In these animals they describe physiological and behavioral relief during transport, a phenomenon they call “transport response”.
Carry the baby while you walk for 5 minutes
To test the modalities in humans, the researchers used cameras and heart rate monitors to monitor the reactions of 21 babies aged 0 to 7 months, accompanied by their mothers. To comfort her crying baby, moms tested four strategies: carry the baby as he walks, carry him seated, push him into a moving stroller or rocking crib, or put him in an immobile bed. Movement alone, especially during transport, had a calming effect on the babies and their heart rate, and in the first 30 seconds. Observations that contradict the general assumption that the mere fact of being restrained by the mother reduces the child’s discomfort. “After 5 minutes of transport while walking, 5 out of 11 children (45%) were asleep and none were crying at the endThe scientists note. They recommend walking on a flat, free path and at a steady pace, preferably without sudden stops or turns, as babies’ heart rate increases when mothers turn or stop walking.
Have the baby sit for 5 to 8 minutes before putting him down
Once the baby has fallen asleep or is about to fall asleep, the first instinct will be to put the baby in his bed. Unfortunately, that’s double or nothing, because the fact that the mother places sleeping babies in a crib can interrupt or deepen the babies’ sleep. It is more precisely when the baby detaches from the mother that his heart rate increases the most, to the point that 9 of the 26 sleeping infants (35%) woke up 20 seconds after being put to bed.
In this case, how can you lay down the child who was able to soothe or fall asleep during the 5-minute walk? Sit with the baby still in your arms, the researchers say. Due to the 13 babies who remained asleep after being placed in the crib, 9 were carried by their mother first as they walked and then seated. But be careful, the seated transport phase should not be too short, even if the baby appears to be asleep. According to the researchers, the key is to wait 5 to 8 minutes, the time for his sleep to deepen, before falling asleep. This time window “roughly corresponds to the duration of the first phase of sleep (about 8 minutes in children aged 4 to 5 months)”, They explain
Preventing Shaken Baby Syndrome
Carrying a crying baby for 5 minutes while walking and then 8 minutes sitting would therefore be the winning formula for many babies. “Even as a mother of four, I was very surprised to see this result. I used to think that babies who wake up before bed have to do with the way they were placed on the bed, such as their posture or the fluidity of their movements.“, Kumi Kuroda, who led this work, is amazed. She hopes that these data will help promote a”scientific parenting“.”About 20-30% of babies cry excessively and have trouble sleeping for no apparent reason, which causes parental stress and can also trigger impulsive acts of child abuse in a small number of cases”, Underlines the researcher.
Impulsive acts that can have serious consequences, such as shaken child syndrome (SBS), which is the most common cause of traumatic death among children in high-income countries. Non-lethal forms of SBS are associated with severe long-term morbidity such as neurodevelopmental disorders (epilepsy, motor and visual impairments, speech disorders, intellectual disabilities and behavioral abnormalities) leading to permanent disability. Due to confinements linked to the Covid-19 pandemic, the incidence of SBS remained stable in 2020 and then doubled in 2021 and its mortality was multiplied by 9 in the Île-de-France region, a study reveals.