Science-Based Method to Soothe Baby to Sleep

A new study suggests that at least five minutes of carrying a baby while walking without sudden moves reduces infant cry.

A study from Japan, published in Current Biology, looked at different techniques to soothe a crying infant. Research that included 21 mothers with their babies suggests a “5-min carrying, 5- to 8- min sitting” method is the most effective for putting a crying baby to sleep.

The method involves carrying a baby while walking without sudden movements for at least five minutes and then calmly sitting and holding the baby for 5-8 minutes after they fall asleep. According to the study, only then the baby should be laid down in a cot.

Researchers say infant cry is reduced by transport, but not by motionless holding alone, as previously thought. In the study, all babies stopped crying after being carried for five minutes, and almost half were already asleep.

The study also found that detachment from a mother’s body produced physiological responses in an infant. Babies who were asleep for a longer period before being laid down in a cot were less likely to wake up. Therefore, researchers recommend holding a baby for five to eight minutes before putting them into the cot.

However, the study authors note that five-minute carrying promoted sleep for crying infants even in the daytime when these infants were usually awake, but not for non-crying infants.


Current Biology. A method to soothe and promote sleep in crying infants utilizing the transport response.

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