5

votes

Babies Crying fixed with a movement

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created June 22, 2011 at 5:35 AM

So I am sitting in a cafe eating lunch and there is this baby crying incessantly. The mother puts the baby in his pram and then starts pushing it back and forth rather quickly. Baby stops crying....

What do you think about modern babies "sitting still" far more than they ever did evolutionarily? I imagine a hunter gatherer baby would be on mums arm being walked around all day, etc. Much more physical "movement" even if their just being carried.

What you guys think? Pure speculation obviously... Possible discordance? (yes I have no kids)

446d2dddaeeccb2cc31a09cf20e40d46

(676)

on June 22, 2011
at 09:15 PM

Ah, I don't have the English vocabulary to talk about how to make babies shut up :p

9759643ce5d97ab8fa649ae954656c4c

(3325)

on June 22, 2011
at 07:19 PM

I actually read that book while it was still in galley format because I worked for a bookstore when I was pregnant and we got the advance reader from the publisher. :) Very good advice for new parents.

Medium avatar

(12379)

on June 22, 2011
at 05:41 PM

there's a great book that talks about why infants are in need of the physical contact, movement, swaddling pressure and noise especially in the first 3-4 months. It's called the Happieset Baby on the Block - I recommend this book to everyone.

C61399790c6531a0af344ab0c40048f1

on June 22, 2011
at 03:38 PM

Also babies in prams get flat heads. Just look - you'll notice it now I've mentioned it.

C61399790c6531a0af344ab0c40048f1

on June 22, 2011
at 03:37 PM

My kids were 'continuum concept' kids. Love that book - although I agree she does think it cures all ills - but she may be right!! My two are 16 and 18 and so self-assured, independent and confident. Having them in a sling means they are never still so I totally agree that babies are not 'designed' to be still. As a teacher I am convinced that most kids these days are so attention seeking because they didn't get the right sort of attention as babies. And I think they use drugs, alcohol and promiscuous sex (and comfort food!)to fill the gap .

89e238284ccb95b439edcff9e123671e

(10299)

on June 22, 2011
at 03:19 PM

CraftyCrofts, no problem. HGC is very good and actually confirms a lot what Jean Leadloff wrote about in the seventies, but again, it is not the most 'fun' to read. There's a free chapter here: http://www.fas.harvard.edu/~hbe-lab/acrobatfiles/who%20tends%20hadza%20children.pdf

1a98a40ba8ffdc5aa28d1324d01c6c9f

(20378)

on June 22, 2011
at 02:46 PM

Thanks for the great answer Lunabelle

35b6ce9b7f9dda8d40d3e6a1812ab0a9

(439)

on June 22, 2011
at 01:54 PM

The Continuum Concept has been on my to-read list for years. Now I've gotta add Hunter Gatherer Childhoods. Thanks!!

61b801de5dc345b557cd4623d4a4f26b

(2682)

on June 22, 2011
at 12:44 PM

Maybe "shaking it around" isn't the right phrase...8)

1bd4ea62097aa99c8cbef8aa5d02db77

(448)

on June 22, 2011
at 11:48 AM

I think it's definitely relevant. It's not like paleolithic parents had big SUV strollers to push their kids around in. As an added bonus, mom/dad is *right there* if the baby is restless or starts crying.

0e4e5882872d6a7c472ea51aec457e66

(1994)

on June 22, 2011
at 09:02 AM

My kids loved to be carried around in the sling.

9759643ce5d97ab8fa649ae954656c4c

(3325)

on June 22, 2011
at 08:20 AM

When I referred to a "natural state" I was talking about a state relative to the environment within the uterus during gestation. Some babies seem to take longer to adapt to the environment outside the uterus than others and therefore need to be soothed in ways that mimic the ambiance in utero -- rocking, white noise, bouncing, being swaddled tightly. Why? The variables that would need to be considered -- conception, pregnancy, genetics, diet of the lactating mother, birth trauma, etc. -- are endless. Speculate away.

2357cda685b41477bca1eada6f428bdc

on June 22, 2011
at 07:04 AM

"Nothing in Biology makes sense except in the light of evolution" ... Exercise is good for us because we are an active animal. There are many animals that exercise is NOT good for. Vitamin D is good for us because we are an outdoor animal. Naked mole rats that live underground dont need it. Everything is for a reason, you should start questioning why something is or is not a "natural state" rather than starting from that premise

9759643ce5d97ab8fa649ae954656c4c

(3325)

on June 22, 2011
at 06:58 AM

I don't know. Human babies are wimps! They take FOREVER to become independent too! There's no other animal that takes anywhere CLOSE to the same length of time to start feeding themselves. What's up with that?

2357cda685b41477bca1eada6f428bdc

on June 22, 2011
at 06:49 AM

Yes but WHY!? I imagine there are animals out there where the infants have the opposite reaction, they cry from too much movement, and shutup by being still for example.

1a98a40ba8ffdc5aa28d1324d01c6c9f

(20378)

on June 22, 2011
at 05:55 AM

Any time! :-) Modern children can have the expereince of being carried in a sling. Just pointing that out as an option...

2357cda685b41477bca1eada6f428bdc

on June 22, 2011
at 05:47 AM

thanks I mean what you said is not really relevant but you did bump the question back up

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7 Answers

best answer

4
89e238284ccb95b439edcff9e123671e

(10299)

on June 22, 2011
at 11:35 AM

Three great reads:

very comprehensive review article in 'evolutionary psychology': natural parenting

the book (rather academic): hunter gatherer childhoods

the book: the continuum concept (although be careful for the occasional bit of 'woo')

and to answer your question: yes! major discordance! so possibility for problems.

Human babies need to be with the mother all the time, and that means being carried and moved a lot, with skin contact. A nice biological 'evidence': in species that leave their young behind (in Belgium e.g. ree), the young are silent and don't smell, so not to attract predators. Now leave a human kid behind and look and behold: the cry and dirty their diapers...

89e238284ccb95b439edcff9e123671e

(10299)

on June 22, 2011
at 03:19 PM

CraftyCrofts, no problem. HGC is very good and actually confirms a lot what Jean Leadloff wrote about in the seventies, but again, it is not the most 'fun' to read. There's a free chapter here: http://www.fas.harvard.edu/~hbe-lab/acrobatfiles/who%20tends%20hadza%20children.pdf

C61399790c6531a0af344ab0c40048f1

on June 22, 2011
at 03:37 PM

My kids were 'continuum concept' kids. Love that book - although I agree she does think it cures all ills - but she may be right!! My two are 16 and 18 and so self-assured, independent and confident. Having them in a sling means they are never still so I totally agree that babies are not 'designed' to be still. As a teacher I am convinced that most kids these days are so attention seeking because they didn't get the right sort of attention as babies. And I think they use drugs, alcohol and promiscuous sex (and comfort food!)to fill the gap .

35b6ce9b7f9dda8d40d3e6a1812ab0a9

(439)

on June 22, 2011
at 01:54 PM

The Continuum Concept has been on my to-read list for years. Now I've gotta add Hunter Gatherer Childhoods. Thanks!!

6
Bee33f6da1beec1cf15e3e7003f0120d

(351)

on June 22, 2011
at 10:18 AM

From an AP (attachment parenting) point of view...there's speculation that slings or baby carriers were "invented" very early, at about the same time as clothes, so babywearing and sling-carrying ARE part of human evolution. Most animals can be divided into "carriers" and "hiders". Some hide their babies from predators and those animal's young will freeze and be silent when separated or frightened. Some animals carry or otherwise keep their young with them always, and those babies cry or bellow when separated from mother. It's obvious that human babies are biologically primed to cry when not in physical contact with a parent (just like most other apes) so it makes sense that a baby being rocked in a way that MIMICKS a mothers arms will settle. Yeah, just buy a sling.

4
1a98a40ba8ffdc5aa28d1324d01c6c9f

(20378)

on June 22, 2011
at 05:38 AM

I really like the slings so that baby is right next to you.

1a98a40ba8ffdc5aa28d1324d01c6c9f

(20378)

on June 22, 2011
at 05:55 AM

Any time! :-) Modern children can have the expereince of being carried in a sling. Just pointing that out as an option...

0e4e5882872d6a7c472ea51aec457e66

(1994)

on June 22, 2011
at 09:02 AM

My kids loved to be carried around in the sling.

2357cda685b41477bca1eada6f428bdc

on June 22, 2011
at 05:47 AM

thanks I mean what you said is not really relevant but you did bump the question back up

1bd4ea62097aa99c8cbef8aa5d02db77

(448)

on June 22, 2011
at 11:48 AM

I think it's definitely relevant. It's not like paleolithic parents had big SUV strollers to push their kids around in. As an added bonus, mom/dad is *right there* if the baby is restless or starts crying.

3
446d2dddaeeccb2cc31a09cf20e40d46

on June 22, 2011
at 10:41 AM

Well, if you approach it evolutionary (and I'm no expert, just presenting my thoughts:

Why would a baby cry? What would happen with babies that don't cry?

If a baby cries it obviously wants something. If a baby would cry all the time, predators would notice that rather quickly, so they would die. A baby cries for food and such. So why would it cry when it doesn't get attention or is, as you suggest, 'on the move'?

Perhaps it is not so much being 'on the move', but more knowing that the mother is close. The crying might be a reminder for the mother to not forget or lose the child. The child 'knows' if it is moving somehow or being touched, it must be close to a human/the mother...

So you might let your kid know, by shaking it around somehow, "I'm still here, you'll survive. It's okay!"

Maybe...

61b801de5dc345b557cd4623d4a4f26b

(2682)

on June 22, 2011
at 12:44 PM

Maybe "shaking it around" isn't the right phrase...8)

446d2dddaeeccb2cc31a09cf20e40d46

(676)

on June 22, 2011
at 09:15 PM

Ah, I don't have the English vocabulary to talk about how to make babies shut up :p

3
9759643ce5d97ab8fa649ae954656c4c

on June 22, 2011
at 06:17 AM

Actually Eric's answer is relevant. A sling is one of the ways to keep a baby attached to the body so that the movements of the body will rock the baby to sleep or help a baby calm by providing warmth and comfort. There are many ways to "wear" a baby, all of which provide soothing motion. Babies, some more than others, seem to need to be weened from the womb slowly and rocking motions, especially coupled with closeness and warmth, are natural states that the baby is used to. Even our primitive ancestors probably figured out ways of strapping babies to themselves so that their hands were free and they could get work done.

So yes, to answer your question, being still is not a natural state for a baby. Motion helps. But motion + warmth + heartbeat = calm baby and adult who can get things done.

2357cda685b41477bca1eada6f428bdc

on June 22, 2011
at 06:49 AM

Yes but WHY!? I imagine there are animals out there where the infants have the opposite reaction, they cry from too much movement, and shutup by being still for example.

Medium avatar

(12379)

on June 22, 2011
at 05:41 PM

there's a great book that talks about why infants are in need of the physical contact, movement, swaddling pressure and noise especially in the first 3-4 months. It's called the Happieset Baby on the Block - I recommend this book to everyone.

9759643ce5d97ab8fa649ae954656c4c

(3325)

on June 22, 2011
at 08:20 AM

When I referred to a "natural state" I was talking about a state relative to the environment within the uterus during gestation. Some babies seem to take longer to adapt to the environment outside the uterus than others and therefore need to be soothed in ways that mimic the ambiance in utero -- rocking, white noise, bouncing, being swaddled tightly. Why? The variables that would need to be considered -- conception, pregnancy, genetics, diet of the lactating mother, birth trauma, etc. -- are endless. Speculate away.

9759643ce5d97ab8fa649ae954656c4c

(3325)

on June 22, 2011
at 07:19 PM

I actually read that book while it was still in galley format because I worked for a bookstore when I was pregnant and we got the advance reader from the publisher. :) Very good advice for new parents.

2357cda685b41477bca1eada6f428bdc

on June 22, 2011
at 07:04 AM

"Nothing in Biology makes sense except in the light of evolution" ... Exercise is good for us because we are an active animal. There are many animals that exercise is NOT good for. Vitamin D is good for us because we are an outdoor animal. Naked mole rats that live underground dont need it. Everything is for a reason, you should start questioning why something is or is not a "natural state" rather than starting from that premise

1a98a40ba8ffdc5aa28d1324d01c6c9f

(20378)

on June 22, 2011
at 02:46 PM

Thanks for the great answer Lunabelle

9759643ce5d97ab8fa649ae954656c4c

(3325)

on June 22, 2011
at 06:58 AM

I don't know. Human babies are wimps! They take FOREVER to become independent too! There's no other animal that takes anywhere CLOSE to the same length of time to start feeding themselves. What's up with that?

2
35b6ce9b7f9dda8d40d3e6a1812ab0a9

on June 22, 2011
at 10:41 AM

To answer "Cave Man Mind"'s "why? and add to Rhi's awesome answer, some modern parents believe in the Nine-In-Nine-Out idea, where baby is in the tummy for 9 months and then in a sling/wrap/etc for another 9. Another term for this is the "Fourth Trimester."

Personally, I use slings because I'm too lazy to drag a stroller in and out of the car and I think people dragging bucket carseats around, bouncing off their knees because they are so heavy look ridiculous!

Man! I love Rhi's answer!

Some mammals, like bunnies for example, only nurse their young twice/day. Human newborns need to nurse at least every 2 hours in the beginning at least, so they really can't be plopped in a nest and left while CaveMommy goes hunting for berries. If CaveMommy goes too long without nursing her breasts will get sore and maybe even lead to infection so it's easiest to just keep baby with her to facilitate easy breastfeeding.

Experts say human babies are born with just three basic reflexes: sucking, swallowing and breathing -- and even breathing can be irregular. This may have to do with the immaturity of the human newborn's brain, which is only about 25 percent of its adult weight at birth, while most other mammals are born having 60 percent to 90 percent of their adult brain size.

Some of the answers are found in wikipedia's babywearing answers: Benefits of babywearing include:

Mothers' oxytocin is increased through physical contact with the infant, leading to a more intimate maternal bond, easier breastfeeding and better care, thus lowering the incidence of postpartum depression and psychosomatic illness in the mother.[2]
Infants who are carried are calmer because all of their primal/survival needs are met. The caregiver can be seen, heard, smelled, touched, tasted, provide feeding and the motion necessary for continuing neural development, gastrointestinal and respiratory health and to establish balance (inner ear development) and muscle tone is constant.[3]
Infants are more organized. Parental rhythms (walking, heartbeat, etc.) have balancing and soothing effects on infants.
Infants are "humanized" earlier by developing socially. Babies are closer to people and can study facial expressions, learn languages faster and be familiar with body language.[4]
Independence is established earlier.[3]
Attachment between child and caregiver is more secure.[5]

1
D8795130729e173cfe9f3e2f6353becd

(446)

on September 07, 2013
at 12:44 AM

To add to craftycrofts ...

Homo sapien babies are born too early. It's an evolutionary quirk caused by the fact that a homo sapien female cannot gestate her offspring to the same level of offspring development that most other mammals do because, to be blunt, she would simply not be able to expel the baby (the head would be too large).

So she gives birth early, before the baby has the ability to walk etc. This is why human babies are so hopeless; theoretically, they should still be in utero.

Add to this the hypothesis that pregnant Neanderthal females underwent a twelve month gestation period with their young, and that apparently quite a lot of Europeans carry Neanderthal DNA, and the picture starts to look very interesting indeed.

Essentially, you could argue, if you accept the above, that humans are somewhat like kangeroos. The human baby is born and is evolutionarily designed to be carried by the mother until it develops to more independent stage of development. This is possibly why human babies desire motion, warmth, and "in utero" sounds and experiences (swaddling etc).

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