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Living and coping with excessive infantile crying

By T Long and M Johnson


<strong>Aim:</strong> The aim of the study was to elicit from parents how they lived and coped with a baby who cries excessively. It sought to identify factors which made coping more difficult, as well as interventions perceived by parents to be effective in improving the situation. <br/> <strong>Background:</strong> The excessive crying of a baby can be one of the most trying aspects of parenthood. Although there have been many studies into the cause and treatment of the problem, these have produced little convincing evidence and even less agreement among investigators. In the light of this an alternative approach is to provide effective support to enhance coping until the crying abates. <br/> <strong>Design:</strong> This study was based in pragmatic ethnography and followed an adapted grounded theory approach. A total of 25 adults from 14 families participated, recounting their experiences with 20 babies who either were currently crying excessively or had done so previously while less than 1 year old. Data was collected by a factual questionnaire and tape-recorded focused interviews conducted in the family home augmented by periods of participant observation. <br/> <strong>Outcomes:</strong> Almost every aspect of family life was disrupted, resulting in strained relationships, feelings of guilt, and concerns about losing control. Repeated attempts had to be made to establish a diagnosis and to find a cure. Such attempts failed, leading to a repeated cycle of hope and disappointment. The greatest potential to effect a positive impact lay in the supportive role of health visitors. They needed to visit frequently; stay for a prolonged period; demonstrate engagement with the family and its difficulties; and impart specific messages with conviction and sincerity. <br/> <strong>Conclusion:</strong> A specific, vital role was found for the health visitor in supporting parents through this problem, and aspects of the role were identified in which further study is indicated

Topics: HQ, HQ767, R1, BF, health_and_wellbeing, other
Publisher: Blackwell Publishing
Year: 2001
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