Twitter user Dara Fields APRN, CNM nearly broke #ParentingTwitter recently by posting about a “crying baby ambulance service offered in parts of Europe to help relieve exhausted parents of newborns. It’s easy to see why such a service would resonate with parents of newborns everywhere, particularly those living in the U.S.
“There is a Crying Baby Ambulance in Berlin. If your baby is crying too much & you are just done, they come to you, check on you emotionally, & give advice.”
Upon learning that something like this exists, it wouldn’t be surprising if every U.S. parent who has been up debating the meaning of their existence while their colicky baby screams well into the night is oozing with jealousy. The tweet, which gathered 12.1 thousand likes and 1,689 retweets had people wondering what this service was all about (and just how they could access it) when their precious bundles of joy were seriously challenging their mental health.
All the crybaby joking aside, the company is very real, and translates from German to English as “The Cry Baby Ambulance,” a service by Schreibaby Ambulanz (which translates to “Crybaby Outpatient Clinic,” and is not an actual ambulance service), is available in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and Luxembourg.
Their website speaks to the “despair, fear, and exhaustion” a birthing person often feels as they balance their own physical recovery with a wailing newborn. Their goal is to prevent violence against babies through in-the-moment crisis support.
When the ambulance, also called a “Crybaby Outpatient Clinic” comes, parents are able to distance themselves from the screaming, learn new and innovative ways to care for their baby’s unique needs, and also explore new coping mechanisms for getting out of what the company calls the “stress spiral.”
Twitter followers and fellow parents flocked to the tweet with responses.
Other Twitter followers responded with a range of envious remarks, remembering their own shame and sense of failure at not being able to console their babies. Many of their comments point to a mental health crisis facing mothers in a much more serious light.
The outpatient clinic isn’t just for parents of newborns, either. Parents of children ages 0-3 are able to take advantage of this wonderful service—the social workers, teachers, and psychologists who work there offer general educational advice for parents of kids in this age group. Parents learn about sleep in addition to nutrition and behavior and anything else that might add to the stress and exhaustion of those with such young children.
Since there’s no “crybaby ambulance” in the U.S., and in many other countries around the world, panicked and desperate parents have nobody to turn to for help in some situations even when they are at the end of their patience and ability to comfort their babies.
According to the American Psychological Association (APA), one in seven women experience postpartum depression and since the pandemic, a July 2022 study published in the Journal of Psychiatric Research shows rates have “significantly” increased. A 2019 study in Academic Pediatrics also found that women with “fussy” babies were twice as likely to have moderate to severe depressive symptoms.
All of these numbers point to one thing—a dire need for increased support for parents, especially in those early months as they recover themselves. And of course, a team of professionals you can rely on during those 3 a.m. crying jags.