The benefits of baby rocking
Studies show that rocking is a very effective way to soothe young babies and send them off to sleep. And with the right rocker, mama will benefit too.
Despite the warnings you may have heard about creating negative sleep associations by rocking your baby to sleep, research has shown that rocking has a range of physiological and emotional benefits for young babies. Any sleep associations they might form in the first few months of life are generally easy to break anyway, so rock on if rocking feels right to you, mama. Here’s how your baby could benefit.
Rocking calms crying babies
A Japanese study conducted in 2013 found that crying babies calmed down and their heart rates slowed when they were placed in their mothers’ arms and carried around. According to lead researcher Kumi Kuroda, this calming effect stems from an ancient evolutionary response to being carried and gently rocked that helps our species survive.
Kuroda believes this knowledge could have far-reaching implications and might even help prevent child abuse. If parents understand that unsoothable crying – a major risk factor for abuse – is a natural biological response that can be appeased by carrying or rocking rather than an attempt to “control” parents, they might become less frustrated and be less prone to mistreatment.
Researchers at McGill University in Canada found that simply holding a newborn baby was enough to significantly reduce crying and facial activity during a routine heel prick procedure. Because the babies were held by a research assistant, the researchers postulated that the babies may have been soothed further if they’d been held by their mothers. And although rocking wasn’t possible due to the involvement of a needle, it’s possible that movement would have helped even more.
Rocking helps preemies grow
Another study conducted at the University of Illinois in 2015 taught mothers of preterm babies an intervention dubbed H-HOPE (Hospital to Home Transition – Optimizing Premature Infant’s Environment) in an effort to help them interact with their babies more effectively and offset some of the developmental delays often seen in preemies.
The first part of the intervention – the Auditory, Tactile, Visual and Vestibular (ATVV) intervention – taught mothers how to interact socially with their infants and stimulate their senses appropriately. This included talking in soothing tones, using gentle massage, and swaddling and rocking their babies in their arms. The second part taught them how to read and respond to their babies’ subtle behavioral cues during ATVV and feeding.
At the end of the study, the babies who had received H-HOPE weighed more and had grown more rapidly in length than the babies who hadn’t. Their feeding abilities also improved immediately after they received the ATVV intervention.
While the effects of rocking can’t be isolated from the other methods used in the study, it was an integral part of the stimulation that helped the preemies grow and gain weight faster.
If you’re not yet sold on the benefits of rocking your baby, these amazing rockers are sure to sweeten the deal. Not only will they create a cocoon of comfort for you and your precious bundle, but they’ll reduce the pain and pressure you might experience in your arms, back, pelvic floor and healing belly if you rock your baby standing up. Plus, they’ll look absolutely stunning in your nursery. These aren’t your grandma’s rocking chairs!
Dark and handsome: The Jackson Rocker in Dark Grey Italian Wool will seduce you with its luxurious Italian wool, solid walnut base and polished chrome legs. Let’s hope your partner doesn’t get too jealous of all the time you’ll be spending in Jackson’s lap!
Plush and luxurious: You can’t go wrong with the Nursery Works Compass Rocker. This lavish beauty will make you feel like you’re floating on a cloud thanks to its soft yet supportive cushions and gorgeous rose-gold metal base that creates a free-flowing rocking cadence. Oh la la!
Rocker and bassinet in one: The innovative design of the Nursery Works Ami Bassinet Rocker allows you to rock your baby to sleep in the bassinet while you relax with a good book in the attached rocker. When your baby outgrows the bassinet, you can easily transform the Ami into a double seat rocker (sold separately). The upholstery and bassinet pad are non-toxic and free from nasty chemicals, so you can rest assured your baby is in safe hands.
Sleek and modern: The Monte Joya Rocker is the perfect addition to any design-conscious mama’s home. Sustainably hand-crafted in Canada, the Joya is finely upholstered in high-quality Italian wool and features a modern maple base.
Sophisticated and sustainable: Nursery Works is committed to sustainability and all their products are non-toxic. The Sleepytime Rocker is no exception, combining comfort and style in an elegant package that will stand the test of time.