Almost every parent of a newborn infant has experienced this: the crying baby who just won’t go to sleep, or the infant who wakes up in the middle of the night and won’t let anyone go back to bed.
Now researchers say they’ve figured out the best way to get a newborn back in the crib.
The results of the study, published in the journal Current Biology, show that the best way is to take a crying baby in your arms and walk around with him or her for five minutes. After that, the researchers suggest sitting and holding the baby for five to eight minutes before putting him or her to bed. The results of the study showed that this method works even during the daytime.
The researchers came to this conclusion by comparing the reactions of 21 infants to four scenarios: when they were held by walking mothers, when they were held by sitting mothers, when they were lying in a crib and when they were lying in a rocking chair.
Researchers found that the crying infants calmed down and their heart rate slowed down within 30 seconds of the mother walking and carrying the baby. All of the babies stopped crying during this exercise, and half of them fell asleep, the researchers said. Their heart rate also slowed when they lay in a rocking position.
However, when mothers tried to put their baby back to bed after a walk, but not sitting with him, a third of the infants became awake within 20 seconds. Babies also had increased heart rates and continued to cry when they were simply held sitting up but not carried on their arms during a walk.
Also, when infants slept longer before being put back down, they were more likely to fall asleep.
Although this method yielded positive results, it is not the only way to put infants to sleep. The American Academy of Pediatrics notes that parents can put their babies to bed when they are sleepy, not asleep, and not rush them if they wake up.