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This is the number one factor leading to baby shaking

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July 10, 2014 - 8:20 AM

KAMLOOPS - When dealing with an inconsolable, crying baby, sometimes you have to just walk away before you make a life-changing mistake. 

Inconsolable crying leading to parental frustration is the number one trigger preceding a baby shaking, says Diane Henry with the Kamloops Infant Development Society. She says it's okay to put a crying baby in a safe place and take a short time-out before breaking down. The inconsolable crying is normal for developing infants. It’s so common, there’s even a government-funded program to help with frustrations for parents and offering tips on how to cope.

“(The crying is) essentially due to brain development and the neurons that are starting to work in a baby’s brain,” Henry says. “It happens with almost all babies."

Last month, Kamloops heard how months of endless crying and screaming by an infant lead to growing frustration by parents and the devastating outcome to the baby, who suffered intense brain damage from shaking. 

Henry says every child is different in how it deals with its own development. When it cries for no apparent reason, parents just need to take time to collect themselves.

“We don’t necessarily encourage that you let your baby cry, but there are times that you really do have to put your child down and step back,” she says. “We do, even as adults, have our limits.” 

Taking a step back is a message straight from the Period of PURPLE crying program, a resource from Prevent Shaken Baby Syndrome B.C.

PURPLE is an acronym listing the frustrating properties of infant crying: Peak of crying, Unexpected, Resists soothing, Pain-like face, Long-lasting, Evening crying.

The resource suggests beyond taking a short time out, parents should increase contact with the infant. Talk, caress and carry the baby to try and reduce fussing rather than allow prolonged crying. Never shake an infant.

“These babies don’t come with instructions,” says Henry. “There are going to be those babies that don’t respond to anything that you do.”

Henry and other consultants at KIDS offer programs for child development, including classes for infant massage.

But when it comes to a parent’s mental health, Henry says there “isn’t enough out there” to help parents deal with the day-to-day frustrations of a fussy baby. The only true programs available are for parents on the edge of a breakdown. 

To prevent a crisis, Henry says talking with other parents and sharing tips on calming a baby can help. She says it’s often a regular occurrence at the infant massage sessions; parents will connect and talk openly with one another on the coping mechanisms they use for their children.

She recommends parents consider Child Care Resource and Referral, which offers drop-in play sessions to give parents a chance to take a break and meet with others like them.

“It’s about knowing other parents are in the same boat with you,” says Henry.

“Sometimes just knowing that is enough to get you through those long periods of ‘struggling with baby.’”

Parents struggling to cope are advised to call the B.C. Nurseline at 1-866-215-4700 or the Child Abuse Prevention hotline: 310-1234 (no area code).

To contact a reporter for this story, email, or call 250-319-7494. To contact the editor, email or call 250-718-2724.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014
InfoTel News Ltd

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