When a baby cries it feels natural to stand up to rock, sway and soothe them. That’s because standing up to calm babies is more than just an instinct.

The action is driven by centuries of positive feedback from calmed babies, researchers have found.

“Infants under 6 months of age carried by a walking mother immediately stopped voluntary movement and crying and exhibited a rapid heart rate decrease, compared with holding by a sitting mother,” say authors of a 2013 study published in Current Biology.

The researchers concluded the “infant calming response to maternal carrying is a coordinated set of central, motor, and cardiac regulations and is a conserved component of mammalian mother-infant interactions.”

Being carried by mum induces “central, motor, and cardiac regulations” that have a calming response stronger than rocking or other kinds of movement.

It is amazing how our mothering instincts are so clever at times.

Share your comments below

  • Wow very interesting, amazing how natural instinct works and in some cases is against what people recommend (like standing up to have my 3rd against the requests of the midwives, was the easiest birth ever; gravity).


  • Yep I’ve tried the sitting down rocking when I’m desperate for a rest but they know when your butt hits the chair.


  • Natural instincts just kick in.


  • This is my son 100%! he is stuck to me like glue


  • My Son is like this. Happy if im standing but when I sit down he becomes upset and unsettled. Sometimes mummy just needs a rest but baby isnt having it.


  • It’s interesting how you quickly adjust and find the groove.


  • I was visiting friends and baby had an upset tummy ( a lot of wind which was obviously painful as he was pulling his legs up like babies do when they have tummy pains). When one of us walked around with him in our arms he settled down and went to sleep at one stage. I thought, great, I can sit down. Within a couple of minutes he was awake and crying again. Apparently they like the warmth of your body against their tummy


  • So – it’s inborn for both mother and baby? Interesting.


  • There‚Äôs definitely something about standing with the baby that calms them for sure! Interesting


  • I usually stood and moved and rocked. The movement seems to be the calming element, not just the standing up


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