Feeling hopeless when trying to put your newborn to sleep but he still keep crying?
You know your little one is so tired. He gets cranky and uncomfortable and cries. He arches his back, like he is trying to get away from your arms or get to a more comfortable position. And God knows you try your best to stop his crying and help him sleep.
But it does nothing. You have to stand up, start to walk around the house and swing him. And fortunately, it works. He starts to calm down and falls asleep.
Well, you are not alone. That is for sure.
Newborn babies always have some trouble trying to sleep, just because they are very new to the environment and their feelings. But there are contradicting opinions about rocking and vibrating your baby.
Are vibrations safe for newborns?
Let's find out together.
Are vibrations safe for newborns?
Shaken baby syndrome (SBS) is a well-documented syndrome, a form of head or brain injury caused by strong vibrating in infants or young children. Common causes of this syndrome are high-intensity vibrating or more violent behavior. With that being said, small vibrations rarely hurt the baby.
Vibrating at a light level will be safe for the baby. Newborns will feel completely comfortable if shaken with the right amount of force. However, if the vibrating is too strong, the baby will be in danger. So be careful with that.
The act of holding and vibrating children in different countries can vary and depend on living habits. All the movements that change the child's position suddenly are harmful to the child.
In some Asian countries, many families have a habit of lulling their children to sleep with a hammock, even thinking that they have to swing high and strong to please their babies. When the child is always in a state of strong vibrating, his nerves get tired.
Therefore, even after falling asleep, the child is always in a trembling mood. That is why when you rock your baby to sleep too hard, they often startle, cry, clasp hands and try to cling to someone or something that is closest to their reach.
If the child has to go through this state for a long time, the child's brain will suffer. According to Mayo Clinic, it is very dangerous because it can cause brain damage and even death.
Keep in mind that you must not vibrate strongly with newborns, especially children from 0-6 months.
Are vibrations safe for newborns - consequences of rocking the baby too hard
When babies are newborns, we are very gentle with them, we need to hold their heads and necks when holding them. But since babies know how to roll, parents are often more subjective when thinking that they have lifted their head on their own.
However, in this stage, the baby’s brain develops rapidly, but the skeleton, especially the skull bone, has not fully developed, so it is very vulnerable. If we vibrate it, it is easy to lead to deviation.
Depending on the level of damage, vibrating can cause mental retardation, speech, and listening behavior disorders, epilepsy, reduced cognitive ability, vision loss, etc. Many injuries can only be detected when the child is an adult. Children over 6 years old must have intensive, long-term, and very expensive treatment.
Children under 2 years of age can be seriously injured if they are bounced, shaken, or spun. The shaken baby syndrome is usually caused by violent vibrating of the baby due to anger but can also occur during play.
Because the baby's head is very heavy, taking up most of the body’s weight, and the baby's neck muscles are not well developed to support the baby's head, so it is easy to get this syndrome.
If the baby's head is strongly shaken back and forth, it can cause the brain to swell, bleed, lead to problems with nerve damage, affect the optic nerve and hearing.
The consequences can be even more severe if a child's head hits a surface such as a wall, floor, or bed. At that time, the child is suddenly stopped by a strong impact.
As a result, the brain will be twisted in the skull leading to the rupture of blood vessels and nerves of the brain. The brain tissue is torn, causing hemorrhage, cerebral edema, increased intracranial pressure.
Studies show that damage can happen with just 5 seconds of vibrating. Violent vibration can cause permanent brain damage. Very severe cases can lead to death.
Are vibrations safe for newborns - how should you rock your baby?
To make sure you don't vibrate your baby too much while playing or coaxing, avoid vibrating your baby vigorously without supporting their head or bouncing them up and down.
Do not push your baby's stroller while running if the baby is lying in the stroller. Instead, you can play light games like "flying" by holding your baby securely in your arms and gently pushing him to glide.
When your baby cries, you'll want to pick his/her up and vibrate his/her to stop crying. The feeling of being gently shaken will make your baby feel comfortable and stop crying.
However, suppose the baby is still crying louder. In that case, you should not vibrate harder to stop the crying but patiently change to another position, such as holding the baby horizontally or holding the baby upright on your back.
If you lose your temper and patience, ask someone else to comfort the baby or let the baby lie safely in the crib and cry while you find a corner to calm down and relax. Don't try to calm your babies when you lose your temper because you may vibrate your babies hard and hurt them.
In addition, if someone else is taking care of the baby, agree to only gently vibrate the baby, not vibrate it vigorously to ensure the baby's safety.
Products such as vibrating cribs and hammocks can be very effective in calming your baby's crying because of the gentle vibrating motion. Currently, there is no research to confirm whether cribs or hammocks are safe for babies.
In India, where wooden cribs and hammocks are common, doctors and experts say they can be safely used by parents as long as they take the necessary precautions.
Doctors recommend only using baby bassinets and hammocks until your baby can roll over on his/her own, usually around 3 months. Because when the baby swings along with the swinging rhythm of crib and hammock can cause the baby to be pressed against the wall of the fabric, making it difficult for the baby to breathe.
Older babies can fall out of the crib or hammock when rolling. And finally, the use of cribs and hammocks can make babies like to be vibrated to sleep and require vibrating when sleeping during later times when they grow up.
Frequently asked questions
What is shaken baby syndrome?
Shaken baby syndrome (SBS) is a serious brain injury that usually occurs when a parent or caregiver shakes a baby to relieve irritation or frustration, often because the baby doesn't stop crying. This syndrome is more common in children under 2 years of age, especially in infants up to 8 months, because that is when babies tend to cry the most. However, children under the age of 5 can also be affected.
According to a study by CDCP (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) experts, every year in the US, about 2,000 children die from vibrating syndrome. It is a common cause of death and long-term disability in young children.
Therefore, parents absolutely must not vibrate the child too strongly.
Should babies be vibrated while they sleep?
With that said, vibrating is not recommended these days. Babies need reassurance, quietness, and a little comfort when they sleep. Mothers can study swaddling, back-patting or white noise, keep the environment before bed quiet, soft light, and have a fixed sleep time to help sleep easier.
However, you can create a gentle vibration if your baby is in the crib to help him/her feel more comfortable while sleeping. And of course, be careful with the intensity of the vibration you create to avoid endangering your baby!
Should babies be placed in an electric vibrating crib?
You can completely put your newborn baby in a vibrating electric crib. However, there are certain caveats.
All vibrating electric crib products on the market have been tested for safety before being put on the market. However, for each person, the sensitivity to the same agent is different.
Make sure that the product has been clinically tested for safety for children. If the products have been tested, parents can put their babies in an electric vibrating cot according to the manufacturer's recommendations.
If the product is not suitable for children, you should not let your baby sleep on these products because it will be dangerous.
Are vibrations safe for newborns? The important notes.
When placing an infant in an electric vibrating cot, you must ensure the following precautions:
You can introduce your baby to a crib as early as a few weeks old. But please note that the crib should be near the parents' bed so that it is easy to monitor when the baby cries or wakes up.
Are vibrations safe for newborns?
The answer is yes, but only to a certain extent.
Accompanying the vibrating when playing is the funny laughter of the baby. However, know how to control the intensity of the vibrating.
Please avoid strong vibrations. Because this is very dangerous for the brain, it can leave severe sequelae, even death. Thus, parents should pay attention not to vibrate children vigorously even for a few seconds, even when they are playful or angry when they are awake or asleep. When moving your baby, try to keep the neck in a stationary position.