"I remember the overwhelming wave of changes new parenthood brings..." says NSPCC Sheffield's Helen Westerman
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For many new parents, welcoming your baby home is an exciting time.
However, when I remember bringing my own baby home for the first time, for my husband and I, it was also a time of great psychological, financial and practical change.
My heart goes out especially to new mums and dads in these particularly difficult days.
Lockdown has forced services for new mums and dads to adapt the way they work, creating new challenges for those caring for a newborn without baby groups, soft play, playgrounds or the opportunity to see friends or family.
Last month, the NSPCC, Barnsley Council, and Barnsley Hospital launched a campaign, Handle with Care, which we hope provides not only information but support too for new mums and dads during lockdown and the weeks ahead.
These aim to provide reassurance, for example, and practical tips in support groups of like-minded new mums and dads.
One of the areas that we commonly talk with our new parents about is looking after a crying baby, which can be very hard.
One mum told us: ‘Everybody thinks pregnancy and having a baby is the greatest thing in the world, but it’s very difficult.’
The effects of feeling that a baby is constantly crying has been linked to stress, depression or relationship problems.
In extreme cases, parents can become angry and harm their baby.
It is important to remember that it is completely natural for your baby to cry, but that doesn’t make it easy to handle as a parent.
Crying is the only way that your baby can tell you how they feel or what they need, and they aren’t purposefully crying to annoy you.
If you have done all the usual checks - hunger, thirst, nappy change - and you have tried cuddling, walking up and down, singing and playing music, but your baby still cries and you are concerned that this is unusual, you can talk to your health visitor or GP.
Crucially if it ever feels too much to handle, never let things get so bad that you feel desperate.
Our joint campaign in Barnsley has been distributing the NSPCC’s Handle with Care guide which has suggested contacts to call when you need to reach out, and lots of practical tips, not only on crying but on handling baby, and keeping your cool.
Parenting can be hard, and it doesn’t mean you are a bad parent if you feel you need help or a bit of advice and support.
Please, if you are a new mum or dad - anywhere across the region - please do have the confidence to get in touch, we all need extra help during these difficult times.
We are here to help, in a non-judgemental way, for any parent who feels overwhelmed.