The Loh Down On Science

Is soothing crying babies as easy as just standing up?

Carrying lowers heart rate in distressed infants, indicating they are soothed. Image courtesy of Esposito and others, Curr Biol, 2013.

Parents, remember when your baby wouldn't stop crying?


This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science.

And remember how that baby would stop crying when you carried her around, but started up again the second you sat down?  Oh, please!

Japanese neuroscientist and new mother Kumi Kuroda noticed that too.  So she and colleagues hooked twelve babies up to heart-rate monitors.  They then recorded what happened as their moms either sat holding them or carried them when they cried. 

Turns out babies' heart rates instantly slowed down when moms stood up.  Crying and wiggling decreased also.  Meaning babies calmed down.

Next the researchers monitored mouse pups heart rates and cries when carried versus when left alone.  And?  The mouse pups instantly calmed when grabbed by the scruff, either by mom or a researcher.

Pups also raised their back legs, making it easier for mom to move them.  That's important when danger threatens.

So human and mouse babies' responses to carrying have similar vocal and postural components.

And, so, new moms?  Just grab that crying baby in your mouth and go shoe shopping!  You'll both feel better!

***** For more 90-SECOND SCIENCE FACTS, click here.*****

Thursday, from 2-3 p.m. on the LDOS blog: Sandra chats with author Deborah Fallows about her book Dreaming in Chinese.

The Loh Down on Science is produced by LDOS Media Lab, with 89.3 KPCC. And made possible by the generous support of the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.

Follow us on Twitter!

***** For more 90-SECOND SCIENCE FACTS, click here.*****

Thursday, from 2-3 p.m. on the LDOS blog: Sandra chats with author Deborah Fallows about her book Dreaming in Chinese.

The Loh Down on Science is produced by LDOS Media Lab, with 89.3 KPCC. And made possible by the generous support of the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.

Follow us on Twitter!


blog comments powered by Disqus