So, you kind of have the basics of parenting down. You feed your little one every 2-3 hours, burp her, change the diaper and all that other good stuff.
But there is this one problem you just can’t seem to solve:
The NON-STOP CRYING!
I’m not talking about those cute whimpers or those “I’m hungry!” signals she gives you. It’s the unexpected, unexplainable, long-lasting, hair – pulling cry!
No, I’m not exaggerating. It can get frustrating.
Dr. Ronald Barr coined this developmental stage as the P.U.R.P.L.E. Crying. All babies, even those born prematurely and some other mammalian species go through it.
Since I said it’s a developmental stage, it means it’s a normal part of a baby’s development. It usually happens during the first 4 to 5 months after birth.
Now that we’ve established it’s totally normal, let’s now determine if your baby is going through it.
P.U.R.P.L.E. does not mean your baby turns into Barney when she cries. It’s also different from the sleeping cries and breathing spells.
If you’d like to explore what each letter means, keep reading.
P – Peak of crying
This is the age when your baby starts crying more frequently. According to Dr. Barr, the peak age varies in infants. Some full – term infants’ peak age is at 3 weeks, while others are at 8 weeks.
Premature infants (8 weeks early) tend to peak at around 6 weeks of age, considering they had more time outside the womb.
U – Unexpected
Your baby starts crying for no reason at all. She’s not hungry or in pain, she just wants to cry.
R – Resists Soothing
Since it is part of your infant’s development, more often than not, your baby will resist any type of soothing. Considering there was no reason at all for her to be crying, there’s no solution for her to stop.
However, you may still try to soothe your baby, especially if she’s been crying for a while.
There are ways to prevent more discomfort, such as helping her relieve gas or prevent colic. Also, studies show that infants who are carried more often when they are not crying or fussy tend to become calmer than those who are only carried when they’re distressed.
P – Pain-like Face
This one is the worst for me, personally. When my baby was going through this period, I would tear up myself when she would look like she was in so much pain.
But, like I said, if you’ve exhausted everything in your power and your child does not have any illnesses that may cause pain, you don’t need to worry.
L – Long Lasting
“I kid you not, she cried for 5 hours straight the other day!” – I’m sure moms have said this or heard this so many times. It’s not an exaggeration, it does happen!
The duration of crying is different in each baby. Statistically, some cry for an hour or less, and some can last for 5 to 6 hours.
Many moms question the possibility of long term damage to their little one because of prolonged crying in infancy. Studies have shown that the psychological issues later on in life of a child are more related to the parents’ caregiving interventions than the prolonged crying alone.
E – Evening
“Maybe it’s the dogs’ barking at night, or maybe because it’s getting dark outside.” This may not be the case. Usually, P.U.R.P.L.E crying happens more in the late afternoon or at night. Some moms tend to overfeed their baby at night because of this, which leads to an added problem, such as bloating.
Now that you have a clearer idea of what your infant is going through, it’s time for you to relax.
Don’t get frustrated. Knowing the peak age, duration and time your baby cries can now help you determine why she’s crying and whether or not you should be concerned. Again, just because your baby resists any soothing techniques, doesn’t mean you should stop trying.
Here are certain Do’s and Don’ts to get through this stage:
- Try to soothe your baby.
- Sometimes, the louder the better: Reminding the baby of how it was in the womb can actually help her calm down (heartbeat, blood flow and the sounds of mommy and daddy talking – these are familiar sounds to your baby)
- Let her feel safe: Hold her and make sure she sees your face – familiar faces will remind her she is in safe hands. Soft toys with rich colors can also distract her and help her self-soothe.
- Relieve gas or excess air: With your baby lying on her back, either push her knees towards her tummy or lift her legs up then push them down to a lotus position. Gently massage her tummy to help her with gas or constipation.
- Promote digestion: The back massage. Hold your baby face down with her upper body tilted at least 25 degrees from the bed. Hold her from the tummy to her chin or however you feel comfortable. Gently stroke her spine from the middle of her back down to just above her buttocks. This will help promote peristalsis in her stomach (muscle contractions), which in turn promote digestion.
- Check for obvious signs and reasons of distress.
- Call your doctor if your infant has a fever along with the crying or if she’s exhibiting abnormal movements such as twitching.
- EVER SHAKE YOUR BABY. This may cause irreparable damage or death.
- Lock your baby alone for hours (especially in a car) and walk away – if you do leave your baby in the crib, make sure she is still monitored and safe.
- Pick her up only when she is crying or fussy. – This would only enforce bad habits.
If you’re up for it, and you have good control, you may also try this technique by Dr. Robert Hamilton:
If you’d like to learn about other types of crying spells, let me know in the comments below!
If you’d like to learn more about P.U.R.P.L.E. crying visit this website: http://purplecrying.info