Sometimes healthy babies can cry for hours at a time and can’t be soothed. It’s called the Period of PURPLE Crying and it’s common in the first five months of life. The good news is it will end. No matter how long a baby cries, never use shaking to stop crying. This can cause serious and permanent injury. The characteristics of this time of increased crying can be explained by the acronym PURPLE, described below.
The Letters in PURPLE stand for:
P- Peak of crying- Your baby may cry more each week, but most in month 2, then less in months 3-5.
U- Unexpected- Crying can come and go and you don’t know why
R- Resists Soothing- Your baby may not stop crying no matter what you try
P- Pain-Like Face- A crying baby may look like they are in pain, even when they are not
L- Long Lasting- Crying can last a much as 5 hours a day, or more
E- Evening- Your baby may cry more in the late afternoon and evening
The word Period means that they crying has a beginning and an end.
Soothing is a way to calm your baby, and soothing techniques should be used even when your baby is not crying. This list is not an all-inclusive list, as there are many other things you can try to calm your baby’s crying. While many of these techniques will work most of the time, nothing works all the time and that is okay. This does not mean there is anything wrong with you or your baby.
Tips to Soothe Your Crying Infant
1. Check to see if your baby is hungry, tired, or needs changing. Hunger is the main reason a baby will cry.
2. Burp your baby. Babies do not have a natural ability to get rid of air built up in their stomach.
3. Give your baby a lukewarm bath.
4. Massage your baby, or hold him close with skin-to-skin contact.
5. Make eye contact with your baby, smile, and kiss your baby.
6. Sing softly, or hum in a low tone against your baby’s head.
7. Take your baby on a walk or for a ride in the car.
When the crying becomes frustrating and you’ve tried everything to soothe your baby, it’s important to take a break. If a trusted caregiver is not available to help with the baby for a while, put your baby in a safe place and walk away. Take a few minutes to calm yourself down, then go back and check on the baby. When you take a break, do things that will relax you, such as listening to music, reading a book, taking a bubble bath, or having a cup of tea.
Be sure to share this information with all caregivers of your baby.
For more information on the Period of PURPLE Crying, visit www.PURPLEcrying.info.
For more information on PURPLE in Georgia, visit www.choa.org/dontshake.
The National Center on Shaken Baby Syndrome, www.dontshake.org.