The US Could Use a ‘Crybaby Ambulance,’ but Here’s How to Get Help Now
The stress of sleep deprivation and a baby who won’t stop crying has brought many parents to the brink of crisis. The self-imposed shame of not being able to console your baby mixed with the idea that you’re the only one experiencing this stress keeps many parents from picking up the phone to call friends and family members for help. But what if there was an anonymous number you could call when you needed a break? Enter the European “Crybaby Ambulance.”
In Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and Luxembourg The “Schreibaby Ambulanz” or “Crybaby Outpatient Clinic” supports parents who are struggling with a baby that cries excessively and “tries in a sensitive way to master the challenge of a crying child’s everyday life together with the parent and child.”
A beloved organization for over 20 years, Twitter user Dara Fields recently brought the “Crybaby Ambulance” to the attention of many when she shared a Tweet applauding the organization’s efforts and advocating for the same level of care in all communities.
The “Schreibaby Ambulanz” offers a variety of support services based on parent needs. Staff members will come to the home giving parents a break to recoup; will talk with caregivers about different ways to soothe baby and take care of themselves; and will put parents in touch with professional resources for treating postpartum depression, colic and more.
Twitter users were quick to sympathize with exhausted parents and reiterate the need for more support. One user shared her experience, writing, “I recall visiting a friend - a single mum whose baby was a crier. I could hear the baby as I approached the door. My friend opened the door, thrust baby in my arms and walked out. Half an hour later she returned and said she was truly frightened by what she might have done.“
Another was quick to point out that this service surely saved lives and helped prevent child abuse. One mother recalled the moment when she needed support. “I, in fact, called a friend when I was to the point of wanting to put my baby on the front porch. I support this concept wholeheartedly. Everyone should have access to the “I don’t know what to do anymore” ambulance.”
While there isn’t a “Crybaby Ambulance” here in America, there are different ways for moms to find the support they need.
Maternal Mental Health Hotline
As a part of sweeping reform and action around maternal mental health the White House recently introduced the Maternal Mental Health Hotline. Mothers can call or text the hotline at 1.833.943.5746 to speak with a trained counselor about things they may be struggling with. They can also receive referrals to community-based and telehealth providers, support groups and other community resources as needed.
Crying Baby Helpline or Fussy Baby Warmline
You can reach the US 24-hour Crying Baby Helpline at 866.243.2229 or the Fussy Baby Warmline (available in English and Spanish) Monday-Friday at 1.888.431.BABY. Infant soothing specialists will help you troubleshoot why your baby might be crying and provide additional strategies for soothing baby. In some cities like Chicago and Denver the Fussy Baby Network has clinics where you can bring baby in for help.
Postpartum Doulas and Nurses
Postpartum doulas are an excellent option for mothers who are able to afford their services. You can find more information about how to find a postpartum doula and how they can help here.
If you’re struggling with your baby excessively crying know you aren’t alone and this will pass. Babies typically cry the most between 2 and 4 months of age. Check out these tips from pediatricians on what to do when baby won’t stop crying. If you are feeling overwhelmed put your baby in a safe place and take a moment to calm yourself. Stepping away for a moment can help prevent tragedies like shaken baby syndrome.
If you ever feel like you’re unable to cope or respond to baby in a gentle way, or if you suspect you’re experiencing postpartum depression, reach out to your doctor and get help.
Please note: The Bump and the materials and information it contains are not intended to, and do not constitute, medical or other health advice or diagnosis and should not be used as such. You should always consult with a qualified physician or health professional about your specific circumstances.