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The ‘Surviving Crying Study’: Summary Report on Stage 1

16th May 2016

The Surviving Crying Study is a first step in developing and evaluating routine NHS services to support parents whose babies cry for prolonged amounts of time. The study is based at De Montfort University, Leicester, and funded by the National Institute for Health Research HTA Programme.  It involves a collaboration with Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust, University College London, Leicester and Middlesex Universities, and the charities National Childbirth Trust (NCT) and Cry-Sis.


Background to the Study

Prolonged infant crying can trigger maternal depression, poor parent-child relationships, premature ending of breastfeeding, over-feeding, problems with long-term child development, and infant abuse in a small number of cases. Yet, there are no tried and tested NHS practices for supporting parents in managing the crying. Instead, parents turn to popular books, magazines or websites, which give conflicting advice.

By providing evidence-based services, we hope to improve parents’ wellbeing, infant outcomes, and how NHS money is spent.

The Study So Far

Stage 1 of the Study (Development of an Intervention Package) began in November 2014 and data collection is now complete:

  • 55 Health Visitors in Leicester Partnership NHS Trust have collaborated in the research by informing parents of previously crying babies about the study.
  • Focus groups with 20 of these parents have obtained information about their experiences: what they found challenging and what helped.
  • The parents have been shown example websites and other materials designed to provide support; quantitative and qualitative data have been collected to assess parents’ preferences about the sorts of support materials and services they need.
  • Development of a package of materials designed to meet parents’ needs, including a website, written materials and practitioner-delivered support sessions, is nearing completion.
  • Safeguarding protocols have been developed.

Stage 2 of the study (Feasibility Study of Package Implementation in the NHS), now underway, will provide provisional data on the effectiveness and cost of the package, find out whether parents and Health Visitors consider it worthwhile, and make recommendations about its inclusion, and further evaluation, in the NHS.

Department of Health Disclaimer:
The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the NIHR HTA programme, NIHR, NHS or the Department of Health. 

For more detailed reports of the findings so far, and to be kept posted on future reports and publications, please e-mail: [email protected]

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