Every once in a while the National Center on Shaken Baby Syndrome gets questions about the importance of our programs. The questions often sound much like these: Are your programs really needed? Is an infant’s crying really that difficult to deal with? Can Shaken Baby Syndrome (SBS) be prevented? The answer to these questions is always “Yes”. Until you have actually experienced having or being around an infant who cries inconsolably it is difficult to understand the need for education and prevention. Each year it is estimated that 1,200-1,400 infants are shaken and 25-35% of all shaken babies die and of those who survive as many as 80% have permanent brain damage. If you ask any number of parents, doctors, nurses, daycare providers, lawyers, and others about our programs, they will all be able to express to you the importance of what we do and the need to get our materials to as many people as we can. The stories below illustrate why our programs are so important.
“My daughter was one of these high crying babies and at that time I did not get help or accurate information from anyone about this Period of PURPLE Crying®. It would have helped me so much. One night I found myself at her crib, shaking the crib and screaming what do you want from me? I left the room and went in the other room and cried and cried. I felt so terrible. Thank you so much for giving this new program to moms like me.” Leslie Francis, mother of 3.
Many new babies will go through what is now known as the Period of PURPLE Crying®. This is a phase in an infants life, usually beginning the 2nd week after birth and lasting until the 4th or 5th month, where the baby will cry inconsolably. The infant isn't sick, hungry, or tired, simply just going through a normal phase of development.
“I would say I grew more frustrated as the months wore on definitely more frustrated. Because I knew what was coming every single night and that there was nothing I could do about it. And I would get frustrated just Look, what do you want? I’ve tried everything. I love you. I want to comfort you. I’m trying my hardest. But it’s not good enough.” Father of two children
Research has shown that men are usually the perpertrator in cases of SBS. The NCSBS has several programs, including Dads: The Basics, which educate new fathers about caring for an infant and the dangers of shaking a baby.
"By the third week of crying everyday, I was really starting to become frustrated. I got lectures from people in the store because I couldn’t calm my crying baby. I had suggestions from well-meaning strangers who thought maybe I simply hadn’t tried the right things, and while grocery shopping I even had an off-duty firefighter scold me for putting my baby down in his car seat while the baby was crying and obviously in pain or in need of something. I went home and bawled. What in the world was wrong with my baby?" Anonymous
The automatic reponse to a crying baby is usually, "What is Wrong?" The truth is that there might not be anything wrong at all or anything you can do to stop your baby from crying. Your baby could be well rested, have eaten, and in no kind of pain, but still cry. What has to be realized is that you are not doing anything wrong and your baby is okay.
"Nearly 13 years ago, my son became frustrated while watching his twin daughters. In a moment of anger, little Gabi was violently shaken, resulting in a severe brain injury, cerebral palsy and paralysis. Gabi’s twin, Michele, was also shaken, but her injuries were far less serious. After adopting my granddaughters and watching my son go to prison, I was desperately in need of help and support. For several years, I sought out help in my own community, but found the resources were simply not there. When I came upon the National Center on SBS, I finally had a place to receive the help and resources that I needed." Michele Poole, Co-Founder and President of the Shaken Baby Coalition
The NCSBS is here to offer our services and support to victims as well as there families. If you need more information about SBS, have questions, or simply need someone to talk to when frustrated with your infants crying please give us a call at 888-273-0071