He’s not Heavy, He’s My Baby. (New Research Explains Why Carrying = Comfort)

Apr. 18, 2013 — There is a very good reason mothers often carry their crying babies, pacing the floor, to help them calm down. New research published in the Cell Press journal Current Biology on April 18 shows that infants experience an automatic calming reaction upon being carried, whether they are mouse or human babies.

The study is the first to show that the infant calming response to carrying is a coordinated set of central, motor, and cardiac regulations and an evolutionarily conserved component of mother-infant interactions, the researchers say. It might also explain a frustrating reality for new parents: that calm and relaxed very young children will so often start crying again just as soon as they are put back down.

“From humans to mice, mammalian infants become calm and relaxed when they are carried by their mother,” says Kumi Kuroda of the RIKEN Brain Science Institute in Saitama, Japan. “This infant response reduces the maternal burden of carrying and is beneficial for both the mother and the infant.”

In other words, a mother’s arms really are the best place for a young baby to be in terms of his or her chances of survival. And mothers certainly appreciate a calm and relaxed baby. That babies naturally stop crying when they are carried is an evolutionary win-win.  READ MORE

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