A TRIAL programme to support parents of babies who cry excessively will be rolled out in Barnsley in the coming months.

Around a fifth of infants cry for prolonged periods during the first four months, affecting around 146,000 UK families per year.

Following successful initial small-scale testing, researchers at Nottingham Trent University, University College London and the University of Leicester - funded by the National Institute of Health and Care Research and supported by the Institute of Health Visiting - are now working with parents and health visitors across the UK to test the Surviving Crying package.

Lead researcher Jayne Brown, Professor of Health Care Professions at Nottingham Trent University’s Institute of Health and Allied Professions, said: “Excessive crying is regularly diagnosed as colic but in many studies the crying remains unexplained and there is no reliable way to prevent or resolve it.

“This puts a huge emotional strain on parents, and because there is currently no evidence-based NHS support available, they often turn to popular media such as the internet, which give conflicting advice, or take infants to GPs or hospitals, substantially adding to NHS costs.

“The Surviving Crying package was overwhelmingly welcomed by both parents and health visitors in the first trial, but now we need to show how it adds value to standard NHS support and how it can be used effectively in normal NHS practice.”

This scheme will be rolled out to Barnsley Council in May.