Barnsley Hospital, Barnsley Council, and the NSPCC launch a campaign, Handle with Care, to help support new parents and carers cope in the current health crisis.

The campaign aims to provide coping techniques and information for new parents, at a time when the usual support networks, family contacts, have all been disrupted. Coupled with the added pressures of the lockdown, including financial and emotional concerns, many new mums and dads could be feeling overwhelmed.

The coronavirus pandemic has interrupted the way we all live and work and, as a new mum or dad, the challenges associated with the exciting arrival of baby could be exacerbated.

The new Handle with Care campaign aims to support parents, over the next twelve weeks, in safe ways of holding and caring for a baby, promoting mental well-being, leading onto techniques for building baby’s brain and nurturing familial bonds.

Crying is the only way that your baby can tell you how they feel or what they need. If you’ve done all the usual checks but baby won’t stop crying, please don’t get to the point of desperation, reach out for help. Handle with Care aims to provide the information and contacts for parents who need that extra bit of advice and support, to feel they are not alone. It is never ok to shake baby, however frustrated you may feel. Rough handling of babies can cause fractures and other serious injuries which they may never recover from.

Helen Westerman, Head of Campaigns at the NSPCC, said:

“Some parents or carers may lose control and shake their baby in a moment of anger or frustration, especially if the baby cries a lot or has problems feeding. Many don’t realise the damage that shaking can do.

“Remember baby doesn’t cry on purpose to upset you, and you don’t have to go through it alone. We all need some extra help during these difficult times and Handle with Care aims to provide that help, in a non-judgemental way, for any parent who feels overwhelmed.”

In the first phase of the campaign, Handle with Care booklets, authored by the NSPCC, will be distributed to all new parents in Barnsley.

Cllr Margaret Bruff, Barnsley Council’s Cabinet Spokesperson for Children’s Services, added:

“It’s normal for new parents to feel overwhelmed and anxious, having a new-born during a pandemic can bring with it additional fears and anxiety. Even though you are staying at home support is still available to you.”

Barnsley Council’s Health Visiting and Early help Services are there to support you: For advice and support please visit the Barnsley Family Information Service website or contact the Barnsley 0-19 Public Health Nursing (Health Visiting) Service: Single Point of Access, Monday – Friday 9am – 4pm on 01226 774411 or Facebook Instant Messenger (Barnsley 0-19 Public Health Nursing Service).