There are courses on natural childbirth, infant massage, behavior modification. Now, Big Apple parents can take classes on how to calm a fussy baby. Fussy Baby Support Services (FBSS), developed with clinical support from The Fussy Baby Clinic at Denver Children's Hospital and inspired by the Fussy Baby Network at Erikson in Chicago, is run by two Brooklyn-based moms, Stacey Cermak and Claire Pemrick.
Pemrick is a pediatric occupational therapist with sensory integration and mental health specializations, and Cermak is a clinical social worker with a concentration in maternal child health. But what will impress overwhelmed parents is that both are survivors of colicky babies. The women met at a support group for new mothers and realized they could combine their clinical and practical experiences to help other new parents.
The women are well versed in the latest research of why a baby fusses, which they feel is the key to learning how to soothe. And they admit: “Sure, you can wait it out — but you don’t need to. These are very precious months, better spent bonding than tearing your hair out.” Studies show that mothers of fussy babies are often exhausted and depressed and smile less at their fussy infants; FBSS aims to help parents enjoy their babies more.
In Brownstone Brooklyn, FBSS offers a Blissful Babies Drop-in Support Group, workshops, and, for the parents who are so frazzled they can’t leave home, house calls. They also make house calls in Manhattan. These visits involve both Cermak and Pemrick observing a baby in his home environment, developing a custom plan to help reduce fussiness, and following up. The 90-minute assessment is $150, with a sliding scale.
Workshops (held just in Brooklyn) include infant massage, “Calm your Baby”, and “The Sleep Workshop” for parents of babies and toddlers. Single workshops are $25; two-session workshops are $50. Private, in-home massage workshops are also available.
If you just want to talk to another parents, you can call the “warm line”, a more nurturing version of a hotline. The warm line is staffed 8am-10pm; middle- of-the-night desperation calls are returned within 24 hours. A members-only online community is free to parents who use the other services.
FBSS is also starting a weekly drop-in support group on Tuesdays 2:30-4:30pm at the Urban Monster store, Atlantic Avenue in Boerum Hill, for the entire summer. Parents can stop by any time during those hours to seek advice and support from the clinicians and one another. Cermak and Pemrick emphasize that the groups are open to all; caregivers can come, and siblings are welcome. Drop-in costs $10 for first-time visitors; $15 after.
For information, contact Stacey Cermak, (718) 938-8697; email firstname.lastname@example.org; or go to www.fussybabysupport.com.