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6 May 2014, 05:06
Over 7,500 new and expectant parents in the North East are set to benefit from a new programme called 'Coping with Crying'.
Coping with Crying is a pilot programme that aims to support new and expectant parents with the stress that they can feel when their baby cries.
The programme involves showing them a powerful new film about caring for a crying baby.
The pilot, which is taking place in Newcastle, Northumberland and North Tyneside, will involve health visitors from Newcastle Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and community midwives from Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust showing the film to new and expectant parents during home visits.
Looking after a crying baby can be challenging and parents can sometimes struggle to soothe their baby.
Concerns about babies' crying are one of the most common reasons that new parents seek help from professionals.
When their baby cries, it is common for parents to feel frustrated, and in the worst cases they can lose their temper and harm their baby.
The NSPCC estimate that around 200 babies a year in the UK suffer from serious head injuries as the result of being shaken, hit or thrown.
Evidence shows that crying is often a trigger for this sort of harm.
The NSPCC film provides parents with a range of supportive tips and advice about soothing a baby and managing their own stress. It also tells them about the dangers of shaking a baby.
It was created in partnership with experts at Warwick Medical School and Great Ormond Street Hospital, and is based on a similar programme in America which reduced the number of babies who suffered from non-accidental head injuries by nearly half.
Helen Lamont, Nursing and Patient Services Director, from Newcastle Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said:
"Ensuring the safety of every patient in our care, whatever their age or background, is something we take extremely seriously. This is particularly important for the most vulnerable of patients and new babies are no exception.
We are delighted to have the opportunity to work in collaboration with NSPCC to raise awareness of situations which can suddenly arise when parents find it difficult to cope with a crying baby.
Being part of the new 'Coping with Crying' programme will help us to support parents and safeguard babies, wherever possible.
Although the programme will mainly be delivered by health staff, here in Newcastle we have adopted a multi- agency approach to delivering 'Coping with Crying' to ensure where there are difficulties with access to certain families, other agencies can step in to support the process.
This way, we hope to achieve a wide delivery across the city."
Janice McNichol, head of midwifery at Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, said:
"We fully understand that caring for a new-born baby can be extremely stressful - particularly for new parents - and we are committed to providing the highest quality support to mums and their partners.
Our community midwives are parents? first port of call following the birth and offer expert advice on how best to care for their baby.
We are always looking at research and finding new ways of helping to safeguard our most vulnerable patients and have been using the NSPCC's 'Handle with Care' leaflet for more than a year.
We are delighted to work in partnership with them on this pilot and provide an additional resource to help parents cope with a crying baby while raising awareness of the potential risks of these situations."
Over the last two years the NSPCC has been running this programme in 24 hospitals and birthing units and over 30,000 parents have now seen the film.
The NSPCC's evaluation results suggest that the film is helping to keep babies safe.
99% of parents in our evaluation remembered the film at least six months after watching it.
82% said they used advice from the film when caring for their baby.
The rate of reported injuries amongst babies with feeding, sleeping or crying difficulties was lower if their parents had seen the film.