A new programme that aims to support new parents with the stress they can feel when their baby cries is being piloted in Berwick.
The Coping with Crying programme will see community midwives from Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust showing new parents a powerful film about caring for a crying baby.
Looking after a crying baby can be challenging and parents can sometimes struggle to soothe their baby. Concerns about babies’ crying are one of the most common reasons that new parents seek help from professionals.
When their baby cries, it is common for parents to feel frustrated, and in the worst cases they can lose their temper and harm their baby.
The NSPCC estimate that around 200 babies a year in the UK suffer from serious head injuries as the result of being shaken, hit or thrown. Evidence shows that crying is often a trigger for this sort of harm.
The NSPCC film provides parents with a range of supportive tips and advice about soothing a baby and managing their own stress. It also tells them about the dangers of shaking a baby.
It was created in partnership with experts at Warwick Medical School and Great Ormond Street Hospital, and is based on a similar programme in America which reduced the number of babies who suffered from non-accidental head injuries by nearly half.
Janice McNichol, head of midwifery at Northumbria Healthcare, said: “We fully understand that caring for a new-born baby can be extremely stressful – particularly for new parents - and we are committed to providing the highest quality support to mums and their partners.
“Our community midwives are parents’ first port of call following the birth and offer expert advice on how best to care for their baby.
“We are always looking at research and finding new ways of helping to safeguard our most vulnerable patients and have been using the NSPCC’s ‘Handle with Care’ leaflet for more than a year.
“We are delighted to work in partnership with them on this pilot and provide an additional resource to help parents cope with a crying baby while raising awareness of the potential risks of these situations.”
Over the last two years the NSPCC has been running this programme in 24 hospitals and birthing units and over 30,000 parents have now seen the film.
Chris Cuthbert, head of strategy and development for the NSPCC said: “This is a ground-breaking new programme based on the best international evidence. It is a relatively simple and low cost intervention, and our evaluation shows that it is helping parents to manage the pressures of new parenthood and soothe their baby.”
Cathy Warwick, chief executive of the Royal College of Midwives, added: “Midwives see first-hand the stress and worry that parents experience when their baby cries, and need to support parents through this. Everyone looking after a baby needs to know that shaking can have very serious consequences. The NSPCC film helps midwives to communicate this important but difficult message.”