This briefing is to provide professional support for ICON. The ICON campaign to support parents/carers with ways of coping with crying babies.
This briefing contains clear messages that represents the ICON approach in managing crying babies. This advice is not solely for health agencies. Similar to the Safe Sleep Campaign, ALL practitioners should take the opportunity, where they can, to be professionally curious about parental stresses and coping with a newborn baby.
Why is ICON important?
It is important for parents to understand these messages:
Infant crying is normal
Infant crying is normal and it will stop! A baby’s cry is designed to get attention and can be upsetting and frustrating. Babies start to cry more frequently from around 2 weeks of age. The crying may get more frequent and last longer hitting a peak at about 6-8 weeks. Every baby is different, but after about 8 weeks, babies start to cry less and less each week.
Comfort Methods can sometimes soothe the baby and the crying will stop. Babies can cry for different reasons like when they are hungry, wet/dirty or if they are unwell. Sometimes babies cry for no particular reason and a parent needs to learn how to cope with this and can try some simple calming techniques. These techniques may not always work but understand that not every baby is easy to calm and that doesn’t mean you are doing anything wrong and this is a phase that will pass.
It’s OK to walk away
If the baby’s crying is getting to you, it’s OK to walk away. Don’t get angry with your baby or yourself. Instead, put your baby in a safe place and walk away so that you can calm yourself down by doing something that takes your mind off the crying. After a few minutes, when you are calm, go back and check on the baby. Parents need to find time for themselves to help cope with what can be a really stressful time . Stay calm, this phase will pass. If you are worried that the crying won’t stop, it’s OK to check it out with a health professional (midwife, health visitor, GP, NHS 111).
Never Ever shake or hurt a baby
Never ever shake or hurt a baby. It can cause lasting brain damage and death. Handling a baby roughly, shouting or getting angry with your baby will make things worse. Sometimes parents/caregivers get so angry and frustrated with a baby’s cry they lose control and act on impulse and shake the baby. Shaking or losing your temper with a baby is very dangerous and can cause:
- Learning Disabilities
- Physical Disabilities
It is important to check that if you are leaving your baby in the care of anyone else, they understand about how to cope with crying babies.
When should you worry about a baby’s crying?
Medical professionals will always be prepared to see your baby if you have serious concerns. You should seek professional or medical help if you notice your baby has any of the following:
- A fit (seizure or convulsion)
- Very high pitched cry (doesn’t sound normal)
- Breathing is a struggle or noisy or unusually fast
- Skin is greyish, mottled, blue or unusually pale
- A rash that doesn’t fade when you press a glass against it
- High temperature