It's official! Crying babies calm down when carried
New York: Parents, please note! Picking up and carrying a crying infant will automatically calm the child, even slowing down the fast beating of its heart, a new study has found.
Japanese researchers found that when mothers in the study carried their babies while walking around, the infants became noticeably more relaxed and stopped crying and squirming.
The babies` rapidly beating hearts also slowed down, evidence that the children were feeling calmer.
"Infants become calm and relaxed when they are carried by their mother," said study researcher Dr Kumi Kuroda, who investigates social behaviour at the RIKEN Brain Science Institute in Saitama, Japan.
The study observed similar responses in mouse babies.
Since carrying (meaning holding while walking) can help stop an infant from crying, Kuroda said, it can offer mothers a way to soothe short-term irritations to their children, such as scary noises or vaccinations.
For the small study, researchers monitored the responses of 12 healthy infants ages 1 month to 6 months.
Young babies carried by a walking mother were the most relaxed and soothed, compared with infants whose mothers sat in a chair and held them, the study found.
As a mother stood up and started to walk with her child cradled close in her arms, scientists observed an automatic change in the baby`s behaviour.
Kuroda recommends that when a baby starts crying, a brief period of carrying may help parents to identify the cause of the tears. She acknowledged carrying might not completely stop the crying, but it may prevent parents from becoming frustrated by a crying infant.
Although this study looked at a baby`s behaviour in response to its mother, Kuroda said the effect is not specific to moms, and any primary caregiver for the infant can perform the carrying.
The researchers observed the same carrying-induced calming effects when fathers, grandmothers and an unfamiliar female with caregiving experience carried babies who were under 2 months old, Kuroda said.
The findings were published in the journal Current Biology.