Every parent knows the struggle of getting their newborn to sleep. If you’ve got a little one at home, then chances are that you probably haven’t taken a shower and don’t know what day it is, and that’s okay. Catering to the needs of a newborn will do that to you. But there is a limit to everything. Even adoring parents need to rest for a couple of hours in order to be able to function well the next day. But, can this really be possible when your baby wakes up for feeds, diaper changes or simply because they miss your cuddles? How do you put your baby to sleep quickly when they wake up at unreasonable hours in the night without completely disrupting your own sleep cycle? Well if you want this question answered then this is the article for you. We’ve all heard the horror stories of parents staying up for hours together just to put the baby to sleep, but with this 5 minute walk, we assure you that you will never share their fate. So, keep on reading!
How To Get Your Baby To Sleep According To Science?
A new study in Current Biology has concocted their own secret recipe for a successful way to get crying babies to fall asleep quickly (1). Kumi Kuroda, PhD, a researcher from the RIKEN Center for Brain Science in Japan, who led the study, gauged how weepy infants were physiologically impacted by being held, carried, and laid down. She and her team came up with a series of processes they call “transport responses” in order to calm infants down and lower their heart rate so that they can doze off to sleep quickly. This transfer process can also help you make the transfer into a crib or bassinet so much easier! In order to keep a track of the infant’s heart rate, researchers used ECG machines to track them as people acted out a series of motions to get the little ones to nod off. This varied from carrying the babies, pushing them in strollers to holding them while sitting. Then they recorded the data to look at patterns.
What Did They Find?
It was observed that carrying a crying baby and walking around for 5 minutes promoted sleep. All of the babies stopped crying and had slower heart rates after a 5 minute stroll and about half of them were asleep before even hitting the 5 minute mark. How amazing is that! But interestingly enough, walking didn’t help babies who were already calm to fall asleep. It must also be noted that sitting and carrying the crying babies did not stop them from bawling. In fact, the research shows that their heart rate started to rise and they kept crying. The researchers also found that the babies heart rates increased if the caregiver turned or stopped walking. Although, being separated from the person elicited the most significant response. And this is usually why transferring them to a crib isn’t successful. But if the parent sat down and held their infant after soothing them with a walk for a specific length of time, the transfer to the crib may be more successful.
What Are The Steps?
When your baby is fussing and can’t get to sleep, Dr. Kuroda recommends that caregivers carry them while walking for 5 minutes. But make sure to avoid any abrupt movements during this time. Then sit with your baby for 8 minutes and then you can finally lay your sleeping infant into their crib or bassinet. This 13 minute process had the best results for baby sleep in the study. The babies did not wake up after the transfer to their cribs and the parents could return to their beds as well. In order to make this process a success there are some other pointers you can keep in mind.
- Make sure to walk in a clear and flat indoor environment
- Support your baby’s head and keep them snug in your arms. A baby sling or carrier can also do the trick but keep in mind that you will have to take your baby out of the contraption before transferring them into a crib or bassinet.
- Keep a steady walking pace, don’t speed up or slow down significantly during the initial 5 minutes.
- Do not run or hop. No sudden movements should be made.
- If the baby still cries after 5 to 10 minutes of carrying, stop walking and check the baby’s wellness. They might be uncomfortable because they need a diaper change or because they are hungry. Once you’ve rectified this, you can try the 5 minute walk method again.
Taking care of a baby is never easy. Especially when they are crying at the top of their lungs at 3 am in the morning. But now that you know an easy way to get them to stop and go back to sleep, you won’t have to stay up for hours together!