A “GROUND BREAKING” programme to help parents handle the stresses a new born child can bring is due to be launched today.

York has been chosen to pilot the NSPCC Coping With Crying programme which will involve showing parents-to-be a powerful new film about caring for a crying baby .

The film will be shown to parents as part of their planned antenatal visits at one of the city’s nine children’s centres.

Meanwhile, new parents in the East Riding of Yorkshire will be shown the film as part of the postnatal care that takes place in the council’s children’s centres.

Chris Cuthbert, head of strategy and development for the NSPCC, said: “This is a ground-breaking new programme based on the best international evidence.

“It is a relatively simple and low cost intervention, and our evaluation shows that it is helping parents to manage the pressures of new parenthood and soothe their baby. “ Concerns about babies crying are one of the most common reasons that new parents seek help from professionals.

The NSPCC estimate that about 200 babies a year in the UK suffer from serious head injuries as the result of being shaken, hit or thrown, with crying often a trigger for this sort of harm.

The NSPCC film provides parents with supportive tips and advice about soothing a baby and managing their own stress.

It also tells them about the dangers of shaking a baby.

It was created in partnership with experts at Warwick Medical School and Great Ormond Street Hospital, and is based on a similar programme in America which reduced the number of babies who suffered from non-accidental head injuries by nearly half.

Over the last two years the NSPCC has been running this programme in 24 hospitals and birthing units and more than 30,000 parents have now seen the film.

Coping With Crying will now test how the film can be shown at different times in settings outside hospitals, such as in antenatal education classes or postnatal home visits.

Nineteen areas of the UK are involved in this extension to the project, which is estimated to reach at least 45,000 parents in the next 18 months.

The programme will be evaluated to find out when mums and dads are most receptive to the film’s messages and where they can have most impact.

Cllr Janet Looker, mum-of-three and cabinet member for education, children and young people at City of York Council, said: “This is a great opportunity to join a simple but ground-breaking project which could have huge benefits for parents and babies and I’m delighted that York has been chosen to work with the NSPCC to trial this important film.”

Guidelines for keeping baby calm

Tips on soothing a crying baby: All babies are different, and it’s important for parents to take the time getting to know what helps to soothe their baby.

Some things that can be helpful are:

• Cuddling or carrying your baby close to you.

• Giving them the breast, bottle, or thumb to suck on.

• Rocking them in a pram or cradle, or taking them on a car or bus ride.

• Singing, playing soft music or talking gently to them.

• White noise, like the sound of a vacuum cleaner. It’s similar to what your baby heard in the womb.

• Calming things down a bit by taking the baby somewhere where there are fewer people or things to look at.