Babies cry, but you can cope: New campaign launched in Wakefield to help parents

Wakefield Council is launching a new campaign aimed at informing parents and carers that infant crying is normal and that there are methods to cope.

Monday, 19th April 2021, 10:48 am
Updated Monday, 19th April 2021, 10:50 am
Wakefield Council is launching a new campaign aimed at informing parents and carers that infant crying is normal and that there are methods to cope.

It follows the successful adoption and roll out of the ICON programme as a health initiative in Wakefield, the first local authority to do so in West Yorkshire.

The ICON – ‘Babies Cry, You Can Cope’ programme was designed to help parents and carers understand the normal crying pattern of young infants, and to help them develop successful coping mechanisms to deal with this. It comprises of four simple messages:

I – Infant crying is normal

The ICON – ‘Babies Cry, You Can Cope’ programme was designed to help parents and carers understand the normal crying pattern of young infants, and to help them develop successful coping mechanisms to deal with this. It comprises of four simple messages:

C – Comforting methods can help

O – It’s Ok to walk away (for a few minutes if baby is safe)

N – Never, ever shake a baby

It comes after research suggests that some people lose control when a baby’s crying becomes too much, with Child Safeguarding Practice Reviews demonstrating that crying is the main trigger for babies being shaken.

Abusive Head Trauma (AHT), previously known as ‘shaken baby syndrome’, causes catastrophic brain injuries, which can lead to death, or significant long term health and learning disabilities.

But research has also shown that Public Health campaigns educating new parents and caregivers in coping with their baby’s crying can reduce rates of abusive head trauma by up to 75%.

Therefore after the successful training and implementation of the programme across the district’s 0-19 health service, including establishing set ICON discussion points in midwife appointments, the health visitor birth visit, and baby’s six week check with the GP, attention has turned to making the public aware of the programme.

Drawing on the Wakefield Families Together partnership, the campaign will work to educate parents as well as relevant staff members on normal crying behaviours, ways to cope, and who to ask about ICON for support if needed.

Anna Hartley, Wakefield’s Director of Public Health, said: “This campaign comes at a really vital time, as many households and parents are stressed or worried about COVID-19 and the impact it may have had on their lives.

“In fact, a recent study found a rise in the incidence of abusive head trauma across the UK during the COVID-19 pandemic – so it’s more important than ever to remind parents that the extra stress babies crying can cause, is normal, and there are ways to cope and people to speak to if needed.

“The staff in the 0-19 service are doing their part to support the programme and parents, but we want people to know that getting help, when needed, is part of being a parent and I would encourage anyone who is struggling to ask for help.”

For advice on crying and ways to cope, click here or talk to a GP, Midwife, or Health Visitor, for advice.