icon image.pngICON is a national program aimed at helping parents and caregivers cope with baby’s crying. The main message is that babies cry and you can cope. It can be very hard but the campaign gives some tips to help.

North Cumbria integrated Care NHS Foundation trust’s lead midwives for safeguarding , Claire Bainbrdge and Catherine Eccles, explain the importance of raising awareness that you can cope when babies cry.

Claire said: “The key message this week is that babies cry and you can cope. It can be difficult and I’d like to use this opportunity to help those who may be struggling with some advice.

ICON stands for

I – Infant crying is normal

C –Comforting methods can help

O – It’s OK to walk away

N – Never, ever shake a baby

“A baby’s cry can be upsetting and frustrating. It is designed to get your attention and you may be worried that something is wrong with your baby.”

Catherine added: “Premature babies are prone to crying more often and can prove difficult to soothe. Following discharge some babies find it difficult to adjust to the quiet of home.

“Your baby may start to cry more frequently at about 2 weeks after the due date. The crying may get more frequent and last longer during the next few weeks, hitting a peak at about 6 to 8 weeks from the date when your baby was due to be born.

“Every baby is different, but after about 8 weeks, babies start to cry less and less each week.”

Claire explained: “Babies can cry for reasons such as if they are hungry, tired, wet/dirty or if they are unwell. Check these basic needs and try some simple calming techniques.

“Check these basic needs and try some simple calming techniques. Some of these will work for your baby, some may not work and some may increase the crying. Something that worked for your baby yesterday, may not work today. It can be so frustrating but it really is just about staying calm, knowing your baby, understanding this is normal and you are not a bad parent, and that this is a phase that will pass.”

Here are six ways you can try to sooth your baby – remember not all of these will work all of the time and that is ok. Stay calm this phase will pass.

  • Talk calmly to your baby. Stroke them gently. Try placing your baby face down on your lap, or hold them against you and try stroking their back rhythmically.
  • Hum or sing to your baby. Let them hear a repeating, constant and soothing sound. Classical music, including piano and guitar, can sometimes soothe some babies.
  • Hold them close – skin to skin
  • Go outside with your baby and walk them in a pram or in a baby sling. The rocking motion can be very soothing for a baby. If you can’t go outside try a gentle rocking motion inside. Walk around whilst gently rocking your baby
  • Sucking can help relieve a baby’s distress. If offering the breast is not possible, a dummy can soothe a baby and can be given from 4 weeks onward for babies where breastfeeding is established or at any time if the baby is formula fed.
  • Try giving them a warm bath.

Catherine explained you should always seek help if you’re worred: “Medical professionals will always be prepared to see your baby if you have serious concerns.”

You can find more information about ICON and strategies for coping as well as advice for when you should seek professional help at https://iconcope.org/

There is also a wealth of advice to be found on the Healthier Together North East and North Cumbria website: https://www.nenc-healthiertogether.nhs.uk/ ​​​​​​​