Simplest way to get a baby to sleep

Published: 19 May 2017


Mothers and fathers across the country can breathe a sigh of relief, as a recent Melbourne-based study has uncovered the best way to help get infants to sleep.

As part of the study, 34 couples were monitored at a sleep centre in the city, News Corp reports.

During which researchers say they unlocked a technique called “response-based care”, which almost doubled the amount of time the infants slept within a 24-hour period.

Usually, parents are urged to ignore their crying baby in a bid to get their child to self-settle, but many folks find this too emotionally challenging.

However, the study focused on encouraging parents to comfort their baby (aged between four and 11 months) when they cried and to keep an eye on other sleep cues.

Initially, the infant participants were only sleeping about seven hours during a 24-hour period. This increased to about 12 hours on average at the end of the study.

Experts also measured the cortisol levels of both the mother and child during sleep times. Naturally, the more the child slept the less stress the pair experienced.

The study, published in Early Human Development and conducted between the Parent Infant Sleep Consultants, La Trobe University, Mercy Hospital for Women and the University of North Texas, contradicts the notion that parents should leave their kids to self-settle and should actually nurture them instead, whether that be verbally or physically.

“Parents are advised that it is important that the infant is not left to cry,” they study authors wrote.

“If soothing without picking up their infant does not calm the infant, parents are encouraged to provide increasing levels of response and attention until they can soothe their infant, which includes cuddling or feeding to comfort.”

It is understood 40 percent of families suffer from childhood sleep problems.