When my oldest daughter Harlan was only weeks old, she started to wake up in the middle of the night screaming and crying. No matter how much I tried to feed her or calm her, nothing seems to work. One night I simply held her in my arms and began to walk up and down our dark hallway. I had lost much hope that I was going to get any sleep at night and it was the only thing that I had left in me. Surprisingly it was the only thing that kept her calm. She just wanted to be held close and walked around. My husband and I would take turns night after night carrying her up and down the hallway.
As time went on and we continued to calm her that way, I’d tell others of our calming solution. Some would tell me to just keep going with what works and eventually she would work through it. Others criticized me that I was going to spoil her by carrying her around all of the time. She eventually outgrew it, but still finds that being held in our arms is the most comforting to her.
A new Japanese study confirms my instincts that wanted to hold Harlan and carry her around. According to the study, infants become calm and relaxed when they are carried by their mother. Researchers of the study watched how 12 healthy babies ages, 1 month to 6 months, responded when they were upset. They wanted to find out what was the most effective way mothers could calm their baby. From the babies studied, most were calmed when their mother would pick them up and walk them around. The babies stopped crying and became much more relaxed, their heart rate also began to slow down.
Researchers suggested that mothers walking their crying baby around may work better to calm them than rocking or swaying back and forth. They also said that although the research was done with mothers and babies, the calming effect isn’t limited to mothers alone. The baby will have the same effect if carried along by their father or grandmother, etc.
These findings prove exactly what I experienced with Harlan over three years ago. It didn’t matter whether or not it was myself or my husband carrying her around, she just liked to be held close and walked up and down that hallway. It didn’t spoil her or make her a bad sleeper, but it did give me precious time with my baby girl that I might not have otherwise had.
More from Lauren on Baby’s First Year:
- Ditch the Baby Book and Display Baby’s First Year
- Shared Spaces: A Look into Avery and Harlan’s Shared Nursery
- My Favorite Photos from Avery’s 13th Month
- 10 Urban Moms to Follow on Instagram
- Best New Strollers: Spring 2013
- 10 Essentials for Traveling With Kids
- Avery’s Easter Weekend (PHOTOS)
- 5 Signs Your Baby Might Be Ready to Drop a Nap
Read more from Lauren at her personal blog, A Mommy in the City, where she chronicles her life living in New York City with a suburban mentality. For more updates, follow Lauren on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram! Check out more of Lauren’s Babble posts at Being Pregnant and Baby’s First Year.