What many parents already knew is confirmed by new research: it is better to walk around with a baby before putting the baby to bed. The movement calms them down. This method is most effective for crying babies.
About 20 to 30 percent of babies cry excessively and have trouble sleeping for no apparent reason. This causes stress for parents. To get a baby to sleep, Japanese and Italian researchers are now coming up with a schedule: "Wear for five minutes and then sit with the baby in their arms for five to eight minutes," says a new study published in Current Biology. After that, 80 percent of the children fall asleep.
In the new study, the researchers filmed 21 infants aged two weeks to seven months. This happened in the lab or at the parents' home. The children became visibly calmer when their mother walked around with them for five minutes. In addition, their heart rate went down. The effects are similar for fathers.
The effect was greatest in crying babies. Previous research shows that a moving crib also has a calming effect, if the first method doesn't work.
The study is important, says remedial educationalist Eline Möller, senior researcher at Amsterdam UMC.
Möller says that sometimes parents are still advised to put their crying baby to bed, because the baby has to learn to fall asleep on its own. "That is true, but that is because he is exhausted. That does not help. It causes a lot of stress for the baby and for the parents. It is very important that parents pay attention to the signals that their baby is giving," says the orthopedagogue.
According to Möller, it is logical that babies do not calm down by themselves. "During pregnancy, infants are used to rocking back and forth. They also hear and feel their mother. Then it is uncomfortable if you suddenly lie in a quiet bed. You cannot spoil babies, especially not in the first six months."