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UnityPoint Clinic Urgent Care - Sunnybrook

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Sioux City, IA 51106

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Diving Deeper Into Your Baby's Crying: The Period of PURPLE Crying

by -

Mother and baby

Having a baby can be one of the most exciting, albeit stressful, times of your life. So when your new bundle of joy has started developing a pattern of crying that seems abnormal, it’s understandable that your frustrations may begin to build. The truth is your baby may be entering into a natural stage of development that is marked by a increased frequency of crying also known as The Period of PURPLE Crying. But what is The Period of PURPLE Crying, and why is it a natural stage of your baby’s development?

Questions for You About Your Baby’s Crying Symptoms

Before we dive into what The Period of PURPLE Crying is and what it means to your family, there are some specific questions you need to reflect on regarding your baby’s development. 

Does Your Baby’s Crying Seem to be Getting Worse?

Over the first two to four weeks, does your baby’s crying seem to be getting worse?

Does Your Baby Cry at Unexpected Times?

Have you noticed that your baby cries without notice?

Does Your Baby’s Crying Resist Soothing?

Does your baby’s crying seem to persist no matter what you do?

Does Your Baby Look Like They are in Pain?

Even with soothing, does your baby look like they are hurting while crying?

Does Your Baby’s Crying Last for Long Periods of Time?

Do you notice your baby’s crying lasting a period of a few hours?

Does Your Baby Tend to Cry During the Late Afternoon or Evening?

Do you see that your baby tends to cry later in the evening?

What Does This Mean for Your Baby?

If you answered yes to any of the above questions, it could mean your child is currently in a newly discovered stage in a child’s development cycle called The Period of PURPLE Crying. Starting between the first two to four weeks after birth and lasting until your child is three to five months old, The Period of PURPLE Crying is marked by some very distinct behavior patterns. 

What you Need to Know About The Period of Purple Crying.

Why is this distinctive period known as The Period of PURPLE Crying?  The word ‘PURPLE’ is an acronym for the characteristics of the period.

P - Crying has a Peak

During The Period of PURPLE Crying, you’ll notice that your baby’s crying will start around the age of two to four weeks. Your baby’s crying will increase in frequency and intensity until it peaks at month two then begins to diminish between months three and five of development. 

U - Crying can be Unexpected

Your baby may begin crying without notice or reason during The Period of PURPLE Crying. Your child may go from happy and giggling to crying for hours without warning. 

R - Crying can Resist Soothing

When your baby is going through The Period of PURPLE Crying, they may be inconsolable for hours on end. During this time, normal soothing and calming methods may not work and can be very frustrating.

P - Crying Face Looks Like Pain

One important thing to remember is your baby is not in pain. Many parents worry that the pained face a baby makes during The Period of PURPLE Crying is an indication of illness, but in fact, most likely your baby is not in pain.

L - Crying can be Long Lasting

During The Period of PURPLE Crying, your baby may go through periods of crying lasting four hours or more. While this can be frustrating, this is a period, meaning it has an end and is only temporary.

E - Crying in Evening or Late Afternoon

Babies in The Period of PURPLE Crying may seem to cry more often during the evening or late afternoon. 

What Can you do to During The Period of PURPLE Crying?

After a long day at work or after traveling it can be frustrating coming home to a baby who is in The Period of PURPLE Crying. Listening to your baby cry for hours on end can be difficult, but the most important thing to remember is to remain calm.

Stop.

There’s something you need to repeat to yourself as you continue to understand and endure periods of your baby’s development:

“I am a wonderful parent. I am doing everything I can to ensure my baby grows up strong and healthy. My baby loves me, and their crying is not my, or his or her fault. I can do this.”

There are many things you can do to relieve stress and frustration during this time. 

  1. Plan small day trips to clear your mind
  2. Put on your favorite record and listen to some music
  3. Be sure to take a walk or exercise to work off any frustration
  4. Take a short nap
  5. Be sure to keep up on your hobbies during this period
  6. Above all, talk to someone when you’re feeling angered and frustrated

Comforting Your Baby During the Period of Purple Crying

During The Period of PURPLE Crying you may find that some attempts at soothing or comforting your child may not work. However, there are simple steps you can take to alleviate your baby’s discomfort:

  • Walk around with your baby to help rhythmically soothe your baby
  • Speak softly and comfortingly to your baby
  • Give your baby eye to eye contact
  • Change how you’re carrying your baby

The Period of PURPLE Crying is a natural and normal stage in your baby’s development, and you are not at fault for any of your child’s crying or discomfort. If you would like more information on The Period of PURPLE Crying and the natural cycle of development of your baby, please contact your UnityPoint Clinic family medicine provider