It’s how they know to communicate with the world around them. But when a baby won’t stop crying, it can be frustrating. The stress of caring for a baby, especially if your baby has been sick, puts a strain on parents and caregivers. But shaking a baby, even slightly, is very dangerous and can cause a life-threatening condition called shaken-baby syndrome. This condition can lead to major brain damage and death.
Why it’s a problem
When a baby is shaken, the brain moves back and forth inside the skull. Even a little force could cause the brain to hit the inside of the skull, which can result in bleeding and swelling inside the skull. It can lead to permanent brain damage, coma or death.
If you feel yourself reaching your breaking point, here’s how to cope:
- Put the baby down in a safe place, even if he or she is crying.
- Take a deep breath. Walk away. Count to 10. Do whatever you need to do to calm down.
- Let others help you take care of the baby. Trade off with your partner, the baby’s grandparents or other family members.
- Talk to your baby’s doctor about what’s causing the crying. There could be a health problem or other issue that’s making the baby cry more than normal. The doctor can also give you ideas for how to console your baby.
- If you’re feeling overwhelmed, talk to your baby’s doctor about childcare options, counseling or other resources that can help.
- Call the Child help USA hotline at (800) 422-4453. The trained operator can help you deal with your frustration.
- Talk to your doctor or one of our lactation consultants. You may be experiencing postpartum depression, a very serious—but treatable—condition.
- Take the “Happiest Baby on the Block” class along with anyone who regularly cares for your baby. You will learn step-by step how to help their babies sleep better and soothe even the fussiest baby in minutes.
In alignment with our mission and vision to improve the health and well-being of its communities, and be the healthiest community in Wisconsin, Fort HealthCare developed the “Circle of Success: Shaken-Baby Education Program” to improve health outcomes for newborns. With support from grants, our program strives to improve health outcomes for newborns and families in the region, with an ultimate goal of helping other rural hospitals implement a similar program in their respective service areas.
A major focus for the Circle of Success is the “Having Healthy Babies” class. This affordable ($5) class offers a safe place and access to obstetrics RNs so parents-to-be and support people can learn and discuss topics like nutrition and exercise, caregiver selection, safe pregnancy medications, CPR, breastfeeding, shaken baby syndrome, safe sleeping
arrangements for your newborn.
If you or someone you know is expecting a child, especially this is a first child or it’s been a while since the last baby, please encourage them to participate in one of our MANY childbirth and newborn classes. It is so important.
For more information on how Fort HealthCare is improving the health and well-being of our tiniest residents, visit us at FortHealthCare.com/Baby.