All parents have faced the challenges of getting their sweet little babe to nod off to sleepy bobos when they are too busy screaming themselves into a tizz (the babies that is, not the parents).
We can try car rides, rocking chairs, infant swings, white noise machines, sleep school… the advice is endless. Every expert has their own opinions and suddenly everyone’s an expert.
But apparently, there is a straightforward method to help babies fall asleep quickly and easily without any extra equipment. It’s so easy that even the most sleep-deprived parent can manage it as it only consists of two steps.
Step 1: Carry the baby for around five minutes.
Step 2: Sit with the baby for five to eight minutes.
Honestly, it sounds a bit too good to be true. But there is documented evidence to back it all up, researchers at the University of Trento in Italy say.
“We tested the physiology behind these things that tend to be kind of common knowledge, though it’s not really well understood why they work,” says Gianluca Esposito, a developmental psychologist.
According to ScienceNews.org, here are some of the findings and why this method is said to work:
The researchers put heart rate monitors on 21 crying babies, ranging in age from newborns to 7 months old. The team also took videos of the infants, monitoring their moods as their mothers carried them around a room, sat holding them and laid them in a crib. That allowed the team to observe how the babies responded to different environments, whether they were crying, fussy, alert or drowsy, heartbeat by heartbeat.
The babies’ heart rates slowed and they stopped crying when their mothers picked them up and carried them around for five minutes. Some infants even fell asleep. But the researchers also noticed that the babies tended to respond to the movement of the parent, whether they were in deep sleep or not. For instance, a baby’s heart rate quickened if a parent turned quickly while walking or tried to put the baby down.
Sitting seems to smooth that transition from walking to bed, the team observed. Babies cradled in mom’s lap for at least five minutes tended to settle into a slower heart rate and stayed asleep once they were put in their crib. In contrast, the heart rates of six babies whose moms sat with them for less than five minutes accelerated once they were laid down and they woke up soon after.
Researchers were quick to point out that this method isn’t a “magic wand” that will work every single time on all babies, but it’s worth a shot, right?
Let us know if it works for you!