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Period of Purple Crying

Crying BabyThe first few months after your baby is born is a period of great adjustment for everyone. Often, for parents, the most stressful period may be when your baby cries. When you’ve tried everything you can think of to soothe your child yet nothing seems to work, it can be very frustrating. You may begin to question your parenting skills or wonder if your child has colic.

It’s reassuring to know that crying – even for stretches of time – is normal for many infants. Such crying episodes are now referred to as the “Period of Purple Crying,” and each letter in the word PURPLE stands for a particular characteristic.

Period of Purple Crying

P – Peak of crying usually occurs at two months old. Then, it decreases at three to five months old.

U – Unexpected crying can come and go without knowing why.

R – Resists soothing; crying may persist in spite of comforting.

P – Pain-like face may make your baby appear to be in pain even when this is not the case.

L – Long-lasting crying can occur as long as five or more hours a day.

E– Evening: periods of crying often occur in the late afternoon or evening.

It’s most important for you to realize that this “Period of Purple Crying” is normal.  Under no circumstances should you shake your child, which can cause brain damage or even death. That’s why it’s important to develop your own coping and support plan.

By knowing what to expect, you can be better prepared:

  • Crying increases at two weeks old.
  • Infants cry during the second month more than at any other time.
  • Babies can cry five hours a day or more.
  • After two months, crying generally decreases each week.
  • Do not leave your baby with someone who is easily frustrated.
  • Do not be afraid to ask for help. 

To learn more, you can view informative videos online or during your stay at Women’s Hospital via our education channel, which includes information on a three-step plan for coping with this “Period of Purple Crying.” 

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Caring for Mom

  • Period of Purple Crying