Crying is part of life with a baby. Infants cry to communicate—and sometimes they communicate a lot 🙂
You may have already noticed that walking with your baby calms them. Researchers at the Riken Brain Science Institute in Japan took a close look to understand why.
The study setup
In the study, published in the medical journal Current Biology, babies 1 to 6 months old were hooked up to ECG machines and monitored in three scenarios:
- Lying alone in a crib
- Being held (stationary) by their mothers
- Being carried as their mothers walked
Researchers found that the babies’ crying and heart rate rose when they were in the cribs alone. Crying and heart rate decreased somewhat when their mothers sat down and held them, but decreased much more dramatically when the mother walked around, holding their baby.
The researchers determined that the babies’ parasympathetic nervous system activity—the part of the nervous system that brings the body back to a state of calm—was higher when they were carried and walked.
The study was repeated with mouse pups, and had nearly identical results.
4 takeaways for parents
The studies suggest some useful ideas for parents of infants.
- You can soothe your baby by rubbing or holding them, but walking as you hold them may be the most effective way to calm them.
- Remember the holding-and-walking combination in situations that always elicit stress and crying. For instance, if your baby has to get a shot or a heel prick, walk around the room with them afterward.
- Remember this form of comfort too when your baby is crying and you have no idea why. Just having something to try can relieve your stress.
- If your baby doesn’t stop crying, rest assured that you’ve tried a proven technique, and consider letting another caregiver take a turn ❤️
12 - 48 Months
0 - 12 Months
Favorite activities for your child from our Disability Support Specialist
Learn how to use two popular Lovevery toys to encourage learning in children with disabilities, diagnoses, or learning exceptionalities.
0 - 12 Weeks
3 - 4 Months
5 - 6 Months
7 - 8 Months
9 - 10 Months
0 - 12 Months
Tummy time milestones by month
For a clear idea of positions and movements your baby may try from the earliest days of tummy time to the last, check out this illustrated month-by-month tummy time guide.
13 - 15 Months
16 - 18 Months
18 - 48 Months+
0 - 12 Months
Best travel toys, according to Lovevery families
Traveling can present opportunities for learning and bonding through stretches of focused playtime together. Help make your vacation a little easier (and brainier) with these toys and activities for traveling with children.