Ever feel like your infant is crying way too much? There is a term now called The Period of PURPLE Crying.
The Period of PURPLE Crying is a new way to help parents understand this time in their baby’s life, which is a normal part of every infant’s development. It is confusing and concerning to be told your baby “has colic” because it sounds like it is an illness or a condition that is abnormal. When the baby is given medication to treat symptoms of colic, it reinforces the idea that there is something wrong with the baby, when in fact, the baby is going through a very normal developmental phase. That is why we prefer to refer to this time as the Period of PURPLE Crying. This is not because the baby turns purple while crying. The acronym is a meaningful and memorable way to describe what parents and their babies are going through.
The Period of PURPLE Crying begins at about 2 weeks of age and continues until about 3-4 months of age. There are other common characteristics of this phase, or period, which are better described by the acronym PURPLE. All babies go through this period. It is during this time that some babies can cry a lot and some far less, but they all go through it.
The Period of Purple Crying:
Peak of crying: your baby may cry more each week, the most in month 2, then less in months 3-5.
Unexpected: crying can come and go and you don’t know why.
Resists soothing: your baby may not stop crying no matter what you try.
Pain-like face: a crying baby may look like they are in pain, even when they are not
Long lasting: crying can last as much as 5 hours a day or more.
Evening: your baby may cry more in the late afternoon and evening
Here are the 5 S’s for soothing a crying child
- Swaddling – Tight swaddling provides the continuous touching and support the fetus experienced while still in Mom’s womb.
- Side/stomach position – You place your baby, while holding her, either on her left side to assist in digestion, or on her stomach to provide reassuring support. Once your baby is happily asleep, you can safely put her in her crib, on her back.
- Shushing Sounds – These sounds imitate the continual whooshing sound made by the blood flowing through arteries near the womb. This white noise can be in the form of a vacuum cleaner, a hair dryer, a fan and so on. The good news is that you can easily save the motors on your household appliances and get a white noise CD which can be played over and over again with no worries.
- Swinging – Newborns are used to the swinging motions that were present when they were still in Mom’s womb. Every step mom took, every movement caused a swinging motion for your baby. After your baby is born, this calming motion, which was so comforting and familiar, is abruptly taken away. Your baby misses the motion and has a difficult time getting used to it not being there. “It’s disorienting and unnatural,” says Karp. Rocking, car rides, and other swinging movements all can help.
- Sucking – “Sucking has its effects deep within the nervous system,” notes Karp, “and triggers the calming reflex and releases natural chemicals within the brain.” This “S” can be accomplished with bottle, breast, pacifier or even a finger.
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