I don’t know about you, but when I first heard about purple crying I automatically picture a baby crying so hard that she turns purple. Thankfully, that is not it at all! The period of PURPLE crying is a time when babies can cry a lot. Some babies may be told they have colic, but not all do. It can start around 2 weeks of age continue until 3-5 months of age. The word PURPLE is used as an acronym to help us remember it better. Let’s break it down.
P- Peak of Crying: Each week the baby may cry more with a peak in month 2 then lessens in months 3-5.
U- Unexpected: It can be tough because crying can unexpectedly come and go.
R- Resists Soothing: There could be times that you can’t settle the baby no matter what you do.
P- Pain-Like Face: You may think the baby is in pain because of how she looks while crying, but she really isn’t.
L- Long Lasting: The crying can last hours.
E- Evening: Crying may peak in the late afternoon and evening.
This time can be so hard and exhausting for you and your newborn care clients. While you should advise your client to definitely seek advice from a pediatrician to make sure there are no other underlying issues, most likely the baby is healthy. This period of PURPLE crying is developmentally normal. All babies go through it. Some may only have a short period of time they cry each day and some may cry for hours.
Being there to support your clients, helping them find resources and encouraging them that this is normal and will pass can help them get through what can be a tough developmental phase.
Encourage your clients to keep in mind that the word period means that this tough phase has a beginning and an end. They will make it through. Help them surround themselves with the support they need so they can continue to care for themselves as well.
You can learn more about the period of PURPLE crying here.