Baby’s first cries after birth likely warmed your heart. They were, after all, the first sounds you heard your infant make. Fast-forward a few weeks and the crying might not be as reassuring. In fact, it may be downright difficult to endure some days and could leave you wondering if the constant sobbing and screaming is normal—or even healthy.
The good news is your baby is probably perfectly fine. The bad news? The crying may get worse before it gets better. At around two months of age, babies start crying so frequently that experts have dubbed this stage as the Period of PURPLE Crying and developed a whole program around the concept. Some more good news: Understanding what the PURPLE program is all about can help the whole family get through this teary time.
What Does PURPLE Stand For?
The name didn’t come about because some babies turn the shade of a plum after extreme bouts of wailing. PURPLE is actually an acronym that was developed to help parents better anticipate and understand this stage of life where babies cry around the clock (or at least it feels that way to exhausted moms and dads). The letters stand for:
- P eak of crying. Baby is wailing a lot. The most crying may happen in baby’s second month, with less crying in months three to five.
- U nexpected. There’s no rhyme or reason as to why baby starts and stops crying.
- R esists soothing. Rocking, singing, bouncing, swaying—you may not be able to do anything—we repeat, anything—to help soothe baby and ease the sobbing.
- P ain-like face. Baby may appear to be in pain when crying, even when he’s not.
- L ong lasting. The crying can seem never ending. In fact, baby may cry for five hours a day or more.
- E vening. The late afternoon and evening may be when baby cries the most.
Why was the Period of PURPLE Crying program created?
When experts looked at how much babies cry during the first months of life they found that peak periods of crying correlated with the increased incidences of shaken baby syndrome (SBS), brain injury and head trauma caused by forcibly shaking an infant. Experts believe the reason for the correlation is some parents find themselves unable to manage the endless crying and shake their babies in an attempt to get them to stop. Tragically, the complications associated with SBS can be…