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Surviving crying study

A research study is taking place in the Bassetlaw, and Newark and Sherwood, areas of Nottinghamshire.

Excessive crying affects one in five babies, with peak crying often happening around five weeks of age. This is sometimes known as infant ‘colic’, although it often has nothing to do with digestion or any physical illness. This crying can be extremely traumatic for parents and carers.

Surviving Crying is a support package designed to help parents understand and cope with prolonged crying. This includes written and online materials and a support programme provided by specially trained health visitors.

A research study is taking place in the Bassetlaw, and Newark and Sherwood, areas of Nottinghamshire, which is a clinical trial. This trial aims to find out if the Surviving Crying support package used in conjunction with standard care from your health visitor and GP is more effective in helping parents and carers cope with an excessively crying baby than standard care alone.

There is no pressure to take part, if you do decide to take part you can withdraw at any time. Whether you take part or not, this will not affect the care you get from your health visitor, or other NHS services, which will be provided in the usual way.

Your Health Visiting team have approval to be a research centre for this, where parents with infants 0-20 weeks can be offered additional support if they have concerns about their infant crying excessively.

To find out more, speak to your Health Visitor or email:

Sophie’s Story
In 2017 I had my first baby, a boy. I suffered with post-natal depression, although it went undiagnosed for 10 months. When Jessie baby number 2 arrived I felt a lot more confident, but she seemed quite an unhappy baby; she would often cry and cry for hours. She didn’t nap for very long – as soon as she awoke, she’d be furious that she was awake, and would then cry constantly until she slept again, hours later. I couldn’t do anything to settle her.

Very quickly I became drained, tired, frustrated, scared that something was wrong, afraid I was doing it all wrong, losing all confidence in everything. I was talking to my health visitor regularly, and she spoke to me about a trial they had started locally, called Surviving Crying, and I said yes straight away.

I didn’t know what to expect when Jan from Surviving Crying arrived. I thought it would be about why Jessie was crying, and how to settle her. In hindsight that seems naïve, and very quickly I realised the course was about me and my husband, and how to help us survive the crying (you’d think the name would have given it away). I vividly remember telling Jan that I thought I was a terrible mother. This was my ‘normal’, and I hadn’t ever questioned it before.

I don’t know whether my sessions caused Jessie to stop crying, but I felt less stressed, less useless, less panicky and for once I knew how to combat the “you’re a terrible mother” thoughts in my head. It was such a relief to not tie myself down with those dark thoughts all the time, to have freedom to think I was doing a pretty good job most of the time, and not to get sucked into the dark days.

Those dark times are when Jessie would cry the most, so she must have been feeling my darkness, and we swirled downwards together. With Jan’s support and her questions allowing me to challenge myself and my irrational thoughts, there was lightness and sunshine that allowed a way through the treacle.

One of the most vital pieces of advice was that her crying wasn’t my fault – that we don’t always know why babies cry, sometimes they just do, and all she needed was to know I was there.

The Surviving Crying sessions were completely invaluable to me and my husband. I believe this advice and support should be available to new parents across the country as a matter of course; helping parents cope with crying babies is such an astounding diamond of support.

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Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust runs a confidential secure text messaging service for parents of children aged 0-19 years called Parentline. The service operates Monday to Friday between 9am and 4.30pm, excluding bank holidays. All texts will be responded to by a public health practitioner within 24 hours. Outside of the service working hours, you’ll receive a message back to inform you that your text will be responded to once the line reopens.

  • Parents and carers of children aged 0-19:



Should you require urgent health advice in the meantime, please contact your GP, visit an NHS walk-in centre or call NHS 111. For emergencies, dial 999 or visit A&E.

This page was last reviewed on 09-03-2023

This page will be next reviewed on 09-03-2026