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Awareness week to support parents with infant crying

Published
27.09.2021

“Babies cry, you can cope!” is the key message from the county council and its health partners who have come together to promote lifesaving messages to parents.

 

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This week is the UK’s first ever awareness week about infant crying and the council is working with organisations across the county to help provide support and information on how to cope.

Research suggests that some parents and care givers can lose control when a baby’s crying becomes too much. Some go on to shake a baby with devastating consequences. 

Abusive Head Trauma (AHT) causes catastrophic brain injuries, which can lead to death, or significant long-term health and learning disabilities.

ICON is a programme adopted by health and social care organisations in the UK to provide information about infant crying, including how to cope, support parents/carers, reduce stress and prevent abusive head trauma in babies.

It stands for:

I

Infant crying is normal and it will stop

C

Comfort methods can sometimes soothe the baby and the crying will stop

O

It’s OK to walk away for a few minutes if you have checked the baby is safe and the crying is getting to you

N

Never ever shake or hurt a baby

 

ICON week, which runs from today until 1 October 2021, aims to raise awareness of infant crying and how to cope, in a bid to support parents/carers and prevent serious injury, illness and even death of young babies a result of these incidents.

Most babies start to cry more frequently from two weeks of age, with a peak usually being seen around 6-8 weeks. ICON aims to help make infant crying feel more normal and share coping techniques to help parents to deal with the stress it can cause.


Founder of ICON, Dr Suzanne Smith, said
: “Abusive head trauma can occur in any environment when a parent or carer is on the edge due to infant crying.

“The pressure that families are under is only being exacerbated by the impact of the pandemic and the impact can be far reaching and have devastating consequences.

“ICON is about sharing messages of support and advice to parents and carers who might be struggling to cope. We aim to normalise the fact that babies do cry and some aren’t easily soothed, we want to share information far and wide about what to do in these situations and how to stay calm.”


Tim Harman, cabinet member for public health and communities at Gloucestershire County Council, said:
“We are proud to support ICON week and will continue to work with our health colleagues to share these vital messages which can prevent serious harm to babies and save lives.

“It’s normal for babies to cry, particularly in the first few months and this can be an extremely tiring and stressful time, as families adjust to the many changes a baby brings.

“ICON helps 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.”

 

Gloucestershire Health and Care NHS Foundation Trust’s Head of Health Visiting – Gloucester, Sam Murray said: “It’s really important that we support families, especially fathers and male carers, in the transition to parenthood. We want to take this opportunity to raise awareness of the impact of infant crying on families and how to cope during this transition.

“Our Health Visiting Team are registered nurses or midwives and are on hand to provide support for families with young children. If you are struggling, are concerned and need advice, get in touch – for more information, search for Gloucestershire Health Visiting on the GHC website.”

 

If you think you need help and are struggling to cope, don’t continue to struggle. Help is available from your midwife, health visitor, GP or go online and there are more resources on the ICON website: http://www.iconcope.org

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