The posture for this week in Baby Bumpkin classes is Dolphin. This pose involves carers walking in a relaxed way with their baby (the relaxed walk). A recent study in Japan highlights the importance of just picking your baby up in your arms and taking them for a short walk round the room. Indeed, this may be the best way to calm them.
|Baby Bumpkin Dolphin Pose|
Researchers at the RIKEN Brain Science Institute in Japan (1) have discovered that young infants tend to ‘cooperate’ with their carers whilst they are being carried i.e. infants under 6 months, whist being 'walked and carried' will tend to:
- Stop crying
- Move less
- Lower their heart rate
The researchers recruited 12 carers with infants between the age of 1- 6 months, setting up each infant with a monitor so they could record their heart beat.
The carers were then asked to follow a sequence of moves with their baby for 30 secs at a time. These moves included:
- Placing their baby in the crib
- Holding their baby whilst sitting
- Walking round with their baby
- Stop moving their arms and legs so much and hold themselves still
- Stop crying
- Lower their heart beat
Interestingly the researchers compared the results of these investigations on infant human behaviour whilst being carried with the behaviour of baby mice whilst they were being carried by their mothers. They noted that the baby mice also:
- Stopped moving
- Reduced their squeaks
- Reduced their heart beats
Armed with this data the researchers went on to look at the role of the senses and areas of the brain in this ‘calm behaviour’ of the 'carried' baby mice. They concluded that:
- The sense of touch was important – stimulation of this sense seemed to cause the mice to become still
- Stimulation of the proprioceptive sense (sense of body awareness) was also important in calming the mice
- The brain region called the cerebellum was important in orchestrating the calm response.
In their conclusion the team highlighted that:
- A short period of carrying (30 secs) could have a calming effect on a young baby following a brief irritation i.e. after being vaccinated or hearing a frightening noise
- If a baby does carry on crying after the 30 sec walk it is likely that there is a greater underlying cause to their discomfort i.e. the baby is hungry or in pain
- Knowledge of this soothing effect of being carried whilst being walked by the carer on an infant would be helpful for carers. It would give parents a first line of response when their baby becomes upset for no obvious reason- reducing levels of frustration all round!
- Parents and professionals could use this calming behaviour, or the lack of it, as an early warning sign that the infant might have issues with being able to process their senses accurately. Children who are later diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders often have sensory processing difficulties .
1. Esposito, G. Yoshida, S, et al. Infant Calming by Carrying in Humans and Mice. Current Biology 2013: vol 23: pp 739–745 http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2013.03.041
For information on your nearest Baby Bumpkin or Tatty Bumpkin class go to http://www.tattybumpkin.com/classes/find-class.html