Development of materials to support parents whose babies cry excessively: findings and health service implications
Aim To develop evidence-based materials which provide information and support for parents who are concerned about their baby’s excessive crying. As well as meeting these parents’ needs, the aim was to develop a package of materials suitable for use by the UK National Health Service (NHS). Background Parents report that around 20% of infants in Western countries cry excessively without an apparent reason during the first four months of age. Traditionally, research has focused on the crying and its causes. However, evidence is growing that how parents evaluate and respond to the crying needs to receive equal attention. This focus encompasses parental resources, vulnerabilities, well-being and mental health. At present, the UK NHS lacks a set of routine provisions to support parents who are concerned about their baby’s excessive crying. The rationales, methods and findings from a study developing materials for this purpose are reported. Method Following a literature review, 20 parents whose babies previously cried excessively took part in focus groups or interviews. They provided reports on their experiences and the supports they would have liked when their baby was crying excessively. In addition, they identified their preferred delivery methods and devices for accessing information and rated four example support packages identified by the literature review. Findings During the period their baby cried excessively, most parents visited a health service professional and most considered these direct contacts to have provided helpful information and support. Websites were similarly popular. Telephones and tablets were the preferred means of accessing online information. Groups to meet other parents were considered an important additional resource by all the parents. Three package elements – a Surviving Crying website, a printed version of the website and a programme of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy-based support sessions delivered to parents by a qualified practitioner, were developed for further evaluation.
Citation : Long, J., Powell, C., Bamber, D., Garratt, R., Brown, J., Dyson, S. and James-Roberts, I. (2018). Development of materials to support parents whose babies cry excessively: findings and health service implications. Primary Health Care Research and Development, 19 (4), pp. 320-332
ISSN : 1463-4236
Research Institute : Institute of Health, Health Policy and Social Care
Peer Reviewed : Yes