‘Breathing Bear’ soothes moms more than infants

A stuffed teddy bear that appears as if it?s inhaling and exhaling was designed by researchers to comfort fussy babies in the crib, but it seems to work even better for their mothers, a new study reveals. According to the mothers? estimates of crying time, babies who spent five months snuggling with ?Breathing Bear? did not cry any less than infants who shared their crib with a regular stuffed bear, say Evelyn B. Thoman, Ph.D., and Claire Novosad, Ph.D., of the University of Connecticut. But mothers of the Breathing Bear babies reported less depression and stress and described their infants as less fussy and difficult.
From Health Behavior News Service:’BREATHING BEAR’ SOOTHES MOMS MORE THAN INFANTS

By Becky Ham, Staff Writer
Health Behavior News Service

A stuffed teddy bear that appears as if it?s inhaling and exhaling was designed by researchers to comfort fussy babies in the crib, but it seems to work even better for their mothers, a new study reveals.
According to the mothers? estimates of crying time, babies who spent five months snuggling with ?Breathing Bear? did not cry any less than infants who shared their crib with a regular stuffed bear, say Evelyn B. Thoman, Ph.D., and Claire Novosad, Ph.D., of the University of Connecticut.

But mothers of the Breathing Bear babies reported less depression and stress and described their infants as less fussy and difficult.

?The mothers may have felt reassured by having the Breathing Bear, which could be expected to soothe and comfort their infant,? Thoman and colleagues say. ?One mother even stated emphatically that she would not have another baby if she could not have a Breathing Bear again.?

Breathing Bear?s body rises and falls in quiet ?breaths? created by a balloon-like structure tucked inside the bear and attached to a pump that hangs outside the crib. Mothers can use the pump to adjust its ?breathing? to match the way their infants breathe during a peaceful deep sleep.

?Rhythmic movement or other forms of rhythmic stimulation have been used for soothing infants during the eons parents have dealt with infant crying, and ever since researchers and clinicians have tried to be of help,? Thoman and colleagues say.

Unlike a gentle back rub, however, Breathing Bear?s comfort is something that an infant can seek out on her own, which may help her learn to soothe herself, say the researchers. Earlier studies showed that Breathing Bear could help premature infants control their movements, improve their breathing and regulate their sleep.

To determine whether the bear would calm full-term infants as well, Thoman and Novosad gave either a Breathing Bear or a regular bear to 72 5-week-old infants who had been described as fussy by their mothers. The researchers asked the mothers to regularly report on the amount of crying the infants did and to fill out several questionnaires that described their infants? temperament and their own feelings of depression and stress over the next five months.

There were no significant differences in the mothers? estimates of crying between the Breathing Bear babies and the other babies at any point during the study, but mothers of Breathing Bear babies said their infants had better temperaments two to three months after the study.

Breathing Bear mothers also reported feeling less depressed and stressed after the bear?s stay, say the researchers. They suggest that these experiences may have led to less intense crying and other positive effects for the infants through their interactions with their soothed mothers.

The study was published in the April issue of the Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics and supported by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.



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2 thoughts on “‘Breathing Bear’ soothes moms more than infants”

  1. Please can you help me. I see you once where looking for a breathing teddy bear. Did you ever manage to find where they are sold? If you did please can you email me and let me know where as I would like to purchase one as well?

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