Researchers Say This Is How to Get a Crying Baby to Sleep

Researchers recommend a process that takes 10 to 13 minutes
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 14, 2022 11:48 AM CDT
Researchers Say This Is How to Get a Crying Baby to Sleep
Stock photo.   (Getty Images)

For any parent who has wished there was a magic solution to get their crying newborn back to sleep, good news: Japanese researchers say they've found it. In a study published Tuesday in Current Biology, researchers sum up the crux of the issue: "Approximately 20%–30% of infants cry excessively and exhibit sleep difficulties for no apparent reason ... [but] there is yet to be a conclusive recommendation for on-site behavioral interventions." They set out to find one by evaluating how infants reacted to four parent interventions (in this case, all performed by mothers): being held by a walking mom, being held by a sitting mom, lying in a crib, and lying in a rocking motion.

The winning method was a combination of the first two. The researchers found that it took just 30 seconds for crying babies to calm both their cries and their heart rates while being held as their mom walked, reports USA Today. Half fell asleep. But transitioning the infants straight to the bed triggered a wake-up within 20 seconds for a third of the infants. That outcome was avoided by first sitting with the child to reduce the probability of waking them.

Researchers' specific recommendation: Hold the baby and walk for five minutes, then sit and hold the baby for five to eight minutes, then put them to bed. "Although we did not predict it, the key parameter for successful laydown of sleeping infants was the [delay] from sleep onset," study co-author Dr. Kumi Kuroda said in a statement, per CNN. "I have raised four children ... but even I couldn't foresee the key results of this study until the statistical data came up." (More discoveries stories.)

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