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Support for new parents to cope with babies crying


ICON is a new initiative to support parents and carers on how to cope with a crying baby, without harming them.


Babies cry, it’s normal, it peaks when they’re around eight weeks old and this can be a very stressful time for parents. Research suggests that persistent crying in babies can be a potential trigger for some parents and carers to lose control and shake a baby. This causes abusive head trauma, and results in life changing injuries or even death.

Gloucestershire County Council is working with the NHS to promote ICON, a national awareness campaign which aims to educate parents and carers on how to cope with a crying baby and where they can go for support if they need help.

The ICON name comes from the campaign’s four key messages for parents:
I – Infant Crying is normal
C – Comforting methods can help
O – It’s ok to walk away
N – Never, ever shake a baby

Healthcare professionals across Gloucestershire have received training on ICON and have been working with families to share the ICON messages together with tips on how to cope.

Dads and partners in particular can get forgotten and they aren’t always given strategies for how to cope and handle a new born. We’ve teamed up with DadPad to provide a free mobile app for dads and partners in the county. It contains the essential knowledge and practical skills needed during this time, including local services and sources of support. 

Cllr Tim Harman, cabinet member for public health and communities at Gloucestershire County Council said: “It’s normal for babies to cry, particularly in the first few months and this can be a tiring, stressful time as families adjust to the many changes a baby brings.

“ICON will help us to make sure parents and carers know what to expect, and how to cope with crying. Most importantly, if they ever feel like it’s getting too much, they’ll know where they can go to for support.”

Sally Unwin, NHS Specialist Midwife said: “Midwives in Gloucestershire will be discussing the ICON message with parents and carers during pregnancy and after the baby is born. Before families are discharged from maternity the midwives will discuss with both parents and carers ways of coping with a crying baby. Parents and carers will be given a leaflet with the ICON message and details of further support available.”

The ICON team is hosting roadshows across the county for parents and carers to find out more. Come and see them at the following locations:

ICON Roadshows (9am till 3pm)

  • Wednesday 24 April - Gloucester Cross, Gloucester
  • Friday 26 April - Clock Tower roundabout, Coleford
  • Monday 29 April - Tewkesbury Morrisons, Tewkesbury
  • Wednesday 1 May - High Street, Cheltenham
  • Friday 3 May - Parsonage Street, Dursley
  • Tuesday 7 May – Market Place, Cirencester

More information about ICON, including videos about ‘The ICON message’, ‘Parent relaxation’, a ‘Crying graph’ and ‘How to comfort your baby’ can be found at

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