Your bundle of joy may not always be joyful. Many parents are unprepared for the amount of crying a newborn does in the first few months of life.
It's called the period of purple crying. That does not mean that your child turns purple; it is an acronym.
Peak of crying.
The period of purple crying begins when your child is two weeks old and can last three to four months. It can seem to peak when your child is 4 to 6 weeks old. Afternoon and evening is often the most frequent time of day to see the crying.
All infants pass through this stage. Some infants will cry more than others. When babies go through this period, they may seem to be difficult to soothe. Some babies might cry for 20 minutes; some might cry for hours. It can be very frustrating and scary for a parent as their infant might seem as if he or she is in pain.
This period of purple crying can be a reason for a new parent to get frustrated and can lead to child abuse or shaking the infant.
What are the best ways to soothe a crying baby?
>> Stay calm. You may be feeling frustrated, angry or scared. Work to not project those feelings onto your infant.
>> Ask yourself if your baby needs something. Has the baby been fed? Has the baby burped? Is the baby sleepy? How does the diaper look and smell?
>> Increase the comfort of your baby. Carry your baby in a sling. Being close to a parent – feeling their warmth, hearing their heartbeat – can be soothing to your infant.
>> Use white noise. Some infants are soothed by white noise or background noise such as the vacuum, bubbles in an aquarium or a car ride.
>> Move. Walk your baby. Taking a step outside on these nice spring days can be a breath of fresh air for both mom and baby.
>> Take a warm bath. Warm water and massaging your baby’s arms, legs and tummy can help to relax the infant.
>> Make eye contact with your baby. Singing to your baby or talking in a calming voice can help to soothe your crying infant.
>> Sucking. Most infants are soothed by sucking. A pacifier or breastfeeding can soothe your crying baby.
What shouldn’t you do to soothe your crying baby?
>> Don’t use medications. Any medication marketed for soothing should be discussed with your child’s doctor before you give it to them.
>> Don’t place your child on top of a dryer. It might soothe him or her, but it also puts them at risk for falls.
As a parent of a newborn who may spend many waking hours crying, it can be very frustrating. That’s why it’s important to enlist help. Ask a grandmother, sister or partner to watch your baby for a short time and get outside, take a walk, or watch a favorite television show.
It is important to know that all children move through the period of PURPLE crying and that, as a parent, you are not alone. Talk with your primary care doctor if you are feeling overwhelmed or that you might endanger your infant.