• Mental health and wellbeing in parents of excessively crying infants: prospective evaluation of a support package.

      Powell, Charlotte; Bamber, Deborah; Long, Jaqui; Garratt, Rosemary; Brown, Jayne; Rudge, Sally; Morris, Tom; Bhupendra Jaicim, Nishal; Plachcinski, Rachel; Dyson, Sue E.; et al. (John Wiley & Sons Ltd, 2018-04-17)
      Background During the first four months of age, approximately 20% of infants cry a lot without an apparent reason. Most research has targeted the crying and its causes, but there is a need for equal attention to the impact of the crying on parents and subsequent outcomes. This study reports the findings from a prospective evaluation of a package of materials designed to support the wellbeing and mental health of parents who judge their infant to be crying excessively. The resulting ‘Surviving Crying’ package comprised a website, printed materials, and a programme of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy - based support sessions delivered to parents by a qualified practitioner. It was designed to be suitable for National Health Service (NHS) use. Methods Parents were referred to the study by NHS Health Visitors or Community Public Health Nurses. Fifty seven parents of excessively crying babies received the support package and provided rating scale measures of depression, anxiety, frustration because of the crying, and other measures before receiving the support package, together with outcome measures afterwards. Results Significant reductions in depression and anxiety were found with the number of parents meeting clinical criteria for depression or anxiety halving between baseline and outcome. These improvements were not explained by changes in infant crying. Reductions also occurred in the number of parents reporting the crying to be a large or severe problem (from 28 to 3 parents) or feeling very or extremely frustrated by the crying (from 31 to 1 parent). Other findings included increases in parents’ confidence, knowledge of infant crying and improvements in parents’ sleep. Conclusions The findings suggest that the Surviving Crying package may be effective in supporting the wellbeing and mental health of parents of excessively crying babies. Further, large-scale controlled trials of the package in NHS settings are warranted.
    • Parental and health professional evaluations of a support service for parents of excessively crying infants

      Bamber, Deborah; Powell, Charlotte; Long, Jaqui; Garratt, Rosie; Brown, Jayne; Rudge, Sally; Morris, Tom; Bhupendra Jaicim, Nishal; Plachcinski, Rachel; Dyson, Sue E.; et al. (Springer Nature/ BMC, 2019-08-22)
      The ‘Surviving Crying’ study was designed to develop and provisionally evaluate a support service for parents of excessively crying babies, including its suitability for use in the United Kingdom (UK) National Health Service (NHS). The resulting service includes three materials: a website, a printed booklet, and a Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) programme delivered to parents by a qualified professional. This study aimed to measure whether parents used the materials and to obtain parents’ and NHS professionals’ evaluations of whether they are fit for purpose. Parents were asked about participating in a randomised controlled trial (RCT) to evaluate the materials fully in health service use. Methods: Participants were 57 parents with babies they judged to be crying excessively and 96 NHS Health Visitors (HVs). Parental use and parents’ and HVs’ ratings of the Surviving Crying materials were measured. Results: Thirty four parents reported using the website, 24 the printed booklet and 24 the CBT sessions. Parents mostly accessed the website on mobile phones or tablets and use was substantial. All the parents and almost all HVs who provided data judged the materials to be helpful for parents and suitable for NHS use. If offered a waiting list control group, 85% of parents said they would have been willing to take part in a full RCT evaluation of the Surviving Crying package. Discussion and conclusions: The findings identify the need for materials to support parents of excessively crying babies within national health services in the UK. The Surviving Crying support package appears suitable for this purpose and a full community-level RCT of the package is feasible and likely to be worthwhile. Limitations to the study and barriers to delivery of the services were identified, indicating improvements needed in future research.