The Period of PURPLE Crying® is an educational program based on infant development and crying research by Dr. Ronald Barr, MCDM, FRCPC, with the National Center on Shaken Baby Syndrome. This program utilizes positive messaging with the aim to prevent shaken baby syndrome by helping parents and caregivers understand the frustrating features of crying in normal infants that can lead to shaking or abuse. The characteristics of normal infant crying can be explained through the acronym PURPLE and this stage of crying can begin at two weeks of age and continue until around five months of age.
This program is currently being implemented in CMHH’s Neonatal Special Care Unit. Parents are provided a booklet and DVD with tools to understand how to soothe their baby during this time, cope with frustration, and that this type of behavior in their baby is normal and will pass.
The common characteristics of this phase are described using the acronym "PURPLE":
Peak of crying: Crying peaks during the second month, then decreases during months three to five.
Unexpected: Crying may come and go unexpectedly for no apparent reason.
Resists soothing: Crying may continue despite all soothing efforts by caregivers.
Pain-like face: Infants may look like they are in pain, even when they are not.
Long lasting: Crying can go on for 30-40 minutes at a time, and often for much longer.
Evening: Crying may occur more in the late afternoon and evening.
To learn more about the program and spread the word to your community, please visit The Period of PURPLE Crying® Website.
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