“Babies cry, you can cope!” that’s the key message from the NHS in Lincolnshire, as they promote lifesaving messages to parents.
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.
Lincolnshire is holding their first ICON week, spanning from 4 to 8 October 2021, with the aim of raising 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.
The evidence-based programme consists of a series of brief interventions that reinforce the simple message making up the ICON acronym:
|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|
Most babies start to cry more frequently from two weeks of age, with a peak usually being seen around 6-8 weeks. The aim of the week is to spread the messages to help normalise infant crying and share coping techniques to help parents to deal with the stress it can cause.
Martin Fahy, Director of Nursing at NHS Lincolnshire said:
“The main purpose of the ICON programme is to give advice and support to parents and carers who may be finding it a struggle to cope with a baby crying.
“We need to ensure that parents and carers are aware that it is perfectly natural for babies to cry and in some cases it isn’t always that easy to settle them – these simple steps outlined above will, it is hoped, ensure that less babies suffer from something that is totally preventable. It is vitally important that we get the message across that there is support out there for parents who may be struggling to cope with prolonged infant crying. There have been cases of head trauma occurring and we want to prevent these types of serious injury and in rare cases a death of young babies a result of these incidents.”
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.