Twenty percent of infants struggle with excessive crying--about 37,000 babies in Illinois alone, regardless of their birth order, gender, feeding style, race, parents' education or income. It also could occur despite excellent care.
Excessive crying usually occurs during the first three months of life. Many of these infants have colic--crying for more than three hours a day at least three days a week for three weeks. Their parents often are frustrated and feel helpless trying to soothe their infant. The Fussy Baby Network is designed to assess the infant, support parents and reduce family stress.
"Parents are desperate by the time they call us," said Linda Gilkerson, Ph.D., network director and professor of infant studies at Erikson. "We help the parents find answers to their questions about their baby's crying and gain confidence in their ability to calm their baby.
The relatively new network offers resources, support and consultation for families concerned about their baby's crying, sleeping, feeding or temperament during the first year of life. Phone counseling, home visits and parent groups are just a few ways the program brings calm to chaos.
"Persistent, inconsolable crying is a trigger for child abuse in the first year of life," Gilkerson said. "So we take every call seriously."
A recent study published in Archives of Disease in Childhood found that excessive crying that continues more than three months of age was linked to behavioral and intellectual development problems by age 5. Difficulty in regulating crying can occur with other early challenges such as having a hard time sleeping or feeding. Also, these infants can have hypersensi
Contact: Karyn Odway
University of Chicago Medical Center