October 27, 2015
Most parents experience the feeling at least once.
“Every parent that I’ve ever spoken to has had that moment where they’ve had to walk away because the baby was crying so much or they were exhausted, and they were at their wit’s end,” says Sherryl Scott Heller, an associate professor of psychiatry at Tulane University and director of the Fussy Baby Network New Orleans & Gulf Coast.
Based in Tulane’s School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, the local Fussy Baby Network meets parents at their homes or in the network’s New Orleans’ office. After assessing each family’s needs, providers show parents new techniques for soothing the baby, give advice on breast feeding and help moms and dads recognize their little one’s cues.
“What happens in that first relationship is essential to support healthy development,” says Heller. “Children who connect with their parent, who feel safe with their parent, who find their parent predictable, we know that they’re going to do better long term in the relationships they have with other people and the relationships they have with teachers and peers in school.”
Close to half of the calls to the Fussy Baby Network come from first-time parents, but many clients are struggling with their second or third child. Heller says there’s no “one size fits all” approach to taking care of a baby, especially one that has colic or is otherwise inconsolable.
“We talk a lot about building parent confidence and competence and I think that’s one of the biggest changes we see,” says Anna Breuer, a licensed clinical psychologist and certified lactation specialist at the Fussy Baby Network. “For me the part that feels most exciting is to see the parents feel like they know what they’re doing and take pride in caring for their child and being with their child.”
Fussy Baby Network services are free for families in Orleans, Jefferson, St. Bernard, Lafourche and Terrebonne Parishes. Call (855) 371-BABY or visit www.fussybabynogc.com.
Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5000 firstname.lastname@example.org