Support for new parents struggling with their baby’s crying

Published

Suffolk County Council’s Public Health team has launched a campaign to help new parents and carers to cope with their baby’s crying.

Keep Calm baby parent guideA new resource has been developed for parents and carers, taking the form of a ‘User Guide’, offering helpful hints and ideas to help them settle their babies and think about their own wellbeing in the process.

The booklet has been designed with input from health visitors and parent support groups. The booklet recognises that parents can often become frustrated and stressed when babies cry, It reminds parents to ‘Keep Calm and…’ try different ways to settle their baby, or to Keep Calm and Step Away, taking five minutes for themselves.

The campaign will help parents find ways to bond with their babies and maintain their own wellbeing and that of their child. In one UK survey, one in every nine parents said they had been so stressed by their baby crying that they’d shaken them. This can result in serious injury such as Non-Accidental Head Injury (NAHI), also known as ‘Shaken Baby Syndrome’.

The booklet also features a ‘CriPad’, where parents can write down their Parenting Hacks and share them with friends or relatives who may be looking after their baby.

The campaign centres on ‘Parenting Hacks’ - ideas that parents can try to keep their babies calm and settled. A video has been produced featuring parents talking about their own Parenting Hacks. All babies are different and parents are encouraged to share their own weird and wonderful tips about how they settle their babies at www.healthysuffolk.org.uk

Councillor James Reeder, Cabinet Member for Health, said:

“Babies don’t have the words to tell us what they want, which means sometimes knowing what to do can be tough. That’s why we’ve created this resource to help parents cope confidently with crying, particularly in those early months where crying increases.”

“The booklet offers helpful advice for when baby just won’t settle, but remember all babies are different – it is just as much about finding what works best for you and your baby.”

“We want parents and carers to know that they are not alone. You can always ask friends and relatives for help - use the Cripad at the back of the booklet to pass on your own top tips for looking after your baby.”

EPIC Dad is a Fathers and Families Project, based at Abundant Life Church in Lakenheath and provides support to fathers and father-figures in the area.

Richard Keeble, Project Leader, EPIC Dad, said:

“The work of EPIC Dad Community Interest Company is all about supporting dads and their families and celebrating the key role fathers play in the life of their children. One of our projects is to give out ‘survival kits’ to new or expectant dads. These are backpacks filled with practical items specially to support new dads and their new baby as well as helpful leaflets with advice and information about support available.

“We are delighted to be including in our packs, the new ‘Keep Calm’ booklets produced by Suffolk County Council. They are an excellent resource supporting new parents in how to settle their baby, the best way to hold them, making sure they sleep safely, and staying calm and looking after themselves too. EPIC Dad fully supports this campaign and I am sure many new dads and mums will find the new guide incredibly helpful as they begin their parenthood adventure.”

Father of 2 and member of the EPIC Dad group, Liam Keenan, said:

"It's incredibly important to remain composed during those difficult times with the kids. As soon as I start to get flustered the kids normally sense that and the situation begins to worsen and is harder to retrieve. For me I try to remember that despite what is going on that the baby is only trying to communicate with me that they're sad, tired, hungry or teething etc, and the only way they can is through crying. As soon as I recognise that it is just them trying to be heard it helps settle me into a space where instead of the trying to understand why they won't stop crying, into a place where I can try and work with my wife to address the situation in a proactive, positive way.

“The booklet I think will help because it gives people tips at how you can come up with your own system on parenting and also reminds us that we are not alone. The booklet in itself has been created because there is an understanding that parenting is not easy and can feel lonely. And just by understanding this shows how everybody has had to find a way through it and by extension therefore, that somehow we are not alone in our struggle to be great parents.”

Parents and carers can visit www.healthysuffolk.org.uk to find out more about the support available and download the Keep Calm booklet.

The Keep Calm booklet will be available via your Health Visitor or local Children’s Centres, as well as some independent nurseries, charities, baby groups and other Suffolk services. If your local organisation would like to order booklets for display and distribution, please contact keepcalm@suffolk.gov.uk