(ORDO NEWS) — Small children often cry, and it is sometimes difficult for inexperienced parents to calm a child who does not want to fall asleep.
Now they seem to have a relatively reliable way to do this, which under experimental conditions worked more than half the time: you need to take the child and walk around for five minutes, just holding him in your arms.
In many mammals, the phenomenon of changing the behavior of a cub, which a parent carries from place to place, is well studied.
As soon as the mother or other adult animal takes the baby by the scruff of the neck, his heartbeat slows down, and even the most naughty kitten or puppy tightens his paws and behaves quietly and obediently until he is lowered to the ground.
This reaction is seen in a wide variety of animals, from mice to primates, so the team of researchers decided to study whether the same reaction is observed in human children. In this experiment, they asked 21 mother-child pairs to participate; the youngest children were newborns, the oldest were seven months old.
The researchers measured the rate at which crying babies calmed down in four situations: while they were lying in their cribs, while they were being rocked in a bassinet, while their mothers were sitting with them, or while the mothers were walking around with their baby in their arms.
It turned out that movement was the most effective way to soothe babies: rocking in a cradle or walking with a baby in her arms led to a reduction in heart rate and crying within 30 seconds.
What’s more, if mothers walked around with their baby in their arms for five minutes, 46 percent of children fell asleep after that time period, and 18 percent fell asleep after another minute.
However, their sleep turned out to be sensitive: when the babies were put to sleep in the crib, more than a third woke up within 20 seconds. Taking an electrocardiogram , scientists found that the heart rate of babies increased the second the mother let them go.
The only way to “strengthen” sleep turned out to be long-term carrying: those children whom their mothers carried sleeping in their arms for five to eight minutes were less likely to wake up after they were in the crib. Now scientists have to establish whether this method is suitable for permanent use, or whether the period of wearing on the hands will gradually have to be increased.
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