Sept. 13 (UPI) — Scientists in Japan and Italy published a paper analyzing the optimal method to soothe a crying infant.
The findings were published Tuesday in the journal Current Biology, and found parents who pick up their crying baby, gently walk around with them for 5 minutes, and then sit down and hold them for 5 to 8 minutes before laying them back down again, had the most success.
“Approximately 20% to 30% of infants cry excessively and exhibit sleep difficulties for no apparent reason, causing parental stress and even triggering impulsive child maltreatment in a small number of cases,” the study’s introduction reads.
“While several sleep training methods or parental education programs may provide long-term improvement of infant cry and sleep problems, there is yet to be a conclusive recommendation for on-site behavioral interventions.”
Researchers filmed parents cuddling, carrying, rocking and laying down their infants to determine the best approach.
“Infant cry is attenuated by transport, but not by motionless holding,” researchers wrote in their summary.
Even in the daytime, 5 minutes of transport promotes sleep.
“Laydown of sleeping infants into a cot either interrupts or deepens infants’ sleep. Laydown at 5 to 8 min after the sleep onset tends to prevent infant awakening.”
The study recruited 32 infants between 0 and 7 months and their biological mothers, either in Italy or Japan.
Video and baby heart monitors recorded parents using four different approaches to soothe their infants: holding the child while seated, putting them in a cot, holding them while walking, or rocking them in a chair.
Experimental sessions started approximately 1 to 2 hours after the last feeding.