Dr. Mitch Shulman: How to soothe a crying baby, and is COVID really over? | Dr. Mitch Shulman ‹ Public Health

Trying to soothe a crying baby who refuses to go back to sleep is difficult. After you have verified that it is not too hot or too cold, that the diaper is clean, and that you are not hungry or thirsty, what to do?

A study in the journal Current Biology compared a number of time-honoured techniques. One worked better than the rest: Five minutes of walking without abrupt changes in direction or speed, holding the baby tight and supporting the infant’s head, followed by another five to eight minutes of sitting with the baby held in this way not only helped the baby fall asleep, but continues to sleep when it is put back into the cradle.

The reason this works may have to do with how we evolved. Most primate babies stop getting excited almost as soon as their parents pick them up and start walking with them. That makes sense. If a mother monkey picked up her wailing child, it could be because a predator is approaching. A quick calm and silence would certainly be in everyone’s interest and thus a quality that should last for generations. A spark of it has remained in our genetic core.

The other aspect of sitting for some time before putting the baby back into the cradle works because the study showed that the baby didn’t sleep deeply enough from walking, but after sitting in the parents’ arms did deep enough sleep to persist once the baby is placed back in the crib. I’m not suggesting that we are at the mercy of our evolutionary heritage, but it can influence human behavior. I also acknowledge in advance that this technique will not always work. Remember to look for an underlying reason and take care of it first.



dr  Mitch Shulman: How do you calm a crying baby and is COVID really over?

Despite some high-level announcements, the Sars-CoV-2 virus has not gone away.



The Sars-CoV-2 virus is not gone

Despite statements by US President Joe Biden or the Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the Sars-CoV-2 virus has not disappeared. However, we now have a special opportunity to stop the spread of this disease as the number of cases has dropped dramatically and we have accumulated numerous tools in our arsenal, from medicines and vaccines to a better understanding of the virus itself. Ghebreyesus put it best when he explained that as you near the end of a marathon, despite the pain and suffering that may have brought you to a “wall,” you must not stop.

This is the moment when determination and determination must encourage you to finish the race. Here we are. Many people are tired of dealing with this virus and are exhausted, but by maintaining our immunity, by taking good care of their health and adequately fortifying themselves; by wearing masks and distancing where necessary; and by washing hands and improving room ventilation, case numbers will continue to fall.

President Biden’s statement is an unfortunate example of how confusing our messages have been about this disease. Those looking for an excuse will use this to justify their inaction. As flu season approaches, we can hope that wiser minds will prevail.

dr Mitch Shulman is an associate professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine at McGill Medical School and an attending physician in the Emergency Department at McGill University Health Center. He is also the medical advisor to CJAD AM 800.

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