Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Babies and the Period of PURPLE Crying

I just heard about an interesting new cause/educational campaign for new parents that I thought was worth sharing. It's called CLICK for Babies and it's a campaign to raise awareness about the risks of Shaken Baby Syndrome, particularly in the often-tumultuous first 3-4 months of a baby's life. The CLICK part of the campaign signifies the "clicking" of knitting needles as volunteers strive to knit hats for new babies across the country (and internationally). Although I'm not a knitter, it seems like a great way to get folks involved in the campaign. For you non-knitters like me, it's also easy to donate online.

One key aspect of this campaign is helping parents understand what the organizers call the period of PURPLE crying in newborns. No, purple does not stand for the color babies turn when crying but is an acronym to describe the periods of explained crying that young babies (and their parents) often experience.

P--Peak of crying. The worst crying tends of occur around 2 months of age and decline from 3-5 months

U--Unexpected. The crying often come on and stops for no apparent reason.

R--Resists soothing. The baby is often difficult to soothe.

P--Pain-like face. The baby may appear to be in pain even if they are not.

L--Long-lasting. The crying may go on for several hours a day.

E--Evening. The baby often cries more in the late afternoon or evening.

The goal is to help parents understand that this frequent crying of most often normal and does not necessarily mean anything is wrong with the baby. The hope is that educating parents on this issue may help prevent cases of Shaken Baby Syndrome, which is more common among babies that are especially fussy.

I am so glad that more information about this PURPLE crying phase is being distributed into the parenting community. Even with a background in child development, I was somewhat unprepared for the amount of crying my son went through as a young infant. It can be very stressful and emotionally draining, but I think it a little easier if you know that it is just a phase and you will get beyond it. The great news is that more and more research is finding that these fussy babies are often very well adjusted later in life, if they receive sensitive and attentive parenting. These babies seem to be especially sensitive to their environment, but that also means they are very receptive to good parenting and tend to thrive if properly supported by their parents.

I encourage you to spread this information to new or soon-to-be parents and maybe it will give them some peace of mind.




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