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What is Purple Crying in Babies & How To Soothe A Baby During This Period?

What is PURPLE Crying?

Babies cry a lot, it is their way to communicate anything to us in the early days of their life.

Sometimes the crying lasts for long and this is known as PURPLE crying. The PURPLE stands for:

What is PURPLE Crying?

P – Peak of Crying: The crying and fussiness in the baby starts around 2 weeks and may reach a peak between 6-8 weeks before it calms down when the baby is 3-5 months.

U – Unexpected: Mostly when the babies cry, the common reasons are hunger, tiredness, or wet or dirty diapers. A PURPLE cry is absolutely unexpected and would have no reason. It would also stop unexpectedly.

R – Resist Soothing: Even after trying out all the tricks, the baby is still crying. PURPLE crying would not stop even after long intervals of bouncing or carrying the child. PURPLE crying resists soothing.

P – Pain-Like Face: Looking at the baby’s face crying for long with tear, it may look like they are in a lot of pain. Some sources explain it may just look like they are in pain even when they are not.(1)

L – Long Lasting: The crying spells in PURPLE crying would last for long which can be 5 hours a day and even longer. It may seem as if the baby just eats, sleep, and cry.

E – Evening: Most commonly, PURPLE crying starts in the late afternoon and evening hours.

The period of purple crying starts when the baby is 2 months old and continues until the baby reaches its 3-4 month birthday. While the crying seems never-ending, this stage doesn’t last for too long.

PURPLE Cry and Colic

It was believed by many experts and parents, the cause of steady and inconsolable crying in healthy infants is colic.

Recent finding points out, persistent crying before 5 months do not necessarily mean there is anything wrong with the baby. It is normal in the development of babies. According to experts, PURPLE crying begins around 2 weeks of age and continues till 5 months of age.

The PURPLE crying program came out to explain the parents and caregivers about the persistent crying that can happen for the early weeks or months(2).

How To Soothe A Baby During This Period?

  • Firstly, it is important to understand that this period of infant crying would not last for long. If an illness is suspected, a doctor should be consulted.
  • Otherwise, below are mentioned a few things that would help you plan out on how to soothe the baby.
  • During PURPLE crying, check on whether the baby is hungry, tired, or dirty. Address any of these if present to calm the baby down.
    Carry the baby in arms or a carrier, soothe them, or help them get to sleep.
  • Try rocking or bouncing them while carrying.
  • Sing to baby, or turn on a soothing sound. Some types of sounds such as ocean waves, birds chirping, or even a lullaby, seem soothing to the baby’s ear. It can distract their mind and they might stop crying.
  • Give the baby a massage or bath. Most babies respond well to touch.
  • Entertain the baby. Point out different objects. You can also show them a book, mirror, or television for a short while to help them come out of this crying phase.
  • Go outdoors with the baby. Change of scenery and fresh air also helps in calming the baby.
  • If you feel the soothing techniques are not helping to calm the baby, and you are getting frustrated due to it, keep the baby in a safe place and walk away.
  • Calm yourself down first before returning to the baby. Reach out to your partner or other family members for help.
  • Being a new parent is not easy, as it comes with a whole lot of responsibilities. Dealing with the little one crying most of the time can be hard for the parents.
  • Just because the baby is crying the most doesn’t mean there is something wrong. It is just a phase and would pass. If you reach a point where you feel being frustrated or exhausted you might harm the baby, just move away. It means you need a break too.

All babies have a fussy time during the day. Knowing about PURPLE crying would help you assess the situation and determine if you need to do anything or just get through it.

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:December 30, 2021

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