What is PURPLE Crying?

PURPLE CRYING Babies cry and we, as parents, want to make them feel better and soothe their cryingBabies cry and we, as parents, want to make them feel better and soothe their crying.  So, why does it seem that babies go through a period in their life where they cry for no particular reason and nothing seems to make them feel better?  The answer may be: the period of PURPLE crying.

The term “the period of PURPLE crying” was developed to help parents understand this time in their baby’s life.  It is not because a baby will turn purple while they are crying!

Instead, it is an acronym that helps describe what parents and babies go through.  This period generally starts around 2 weeks of age and will continue through 3-4 months of age.  It is something all babies go through, but some babies will cry a lot more than others.

During this period babies are inconsolable and things that will usually soothe them will not help.  Babies are otherwise healthy and normal, and will grow and eat like a normal baby.  Babies may act or look like they are in pain during this period but they are actually not in any pain.

The acronym PURPLE is used to describe specific characteristics of an infant’s crying and reminds us that this period is normal and a phase that is part of the child’s development.  The word “period” is important as it serves as a reminder that this phase is temporary and will eventually come to an end.  Here is what the letters in the word PURPLE stands for:

P: Peak of Crying- Your baby may cry more each week, the most in month 2, then less in months 3-5.

U: Unexpected- Crying can come and go and you don’t why.

R: Resists Soothing- Your baby may not stop crying no matter what you try.

P: Pain-Like Face- A crying baby may look like they are in pain, even when they are not.

L: Long Lasting- Crying can last as much as 5 hours a day, or more.

E: Evening- Your baby may cry more in the late afternoon and evening.

If you have never heard of PURPLE crying before, chances are your friends and family have not!  Feel free to share this post with them!

Staying calm is key! If it gets to be too much, take a breather. Remember to NEVER shake your baby! To learn more about preventing Shaken Baby Syndrome, click here.

You can also download our free brochure on Shaken Baby Syndrome.

Looking for ways to stay calm while your baby is in the PURPLE phase?  Please read our “Staying Calm When You Don’t Feel Calm” post!


At Choices Pregnancy Center, we are available to help you learn how to meet the challenges of parenting–including crying babies. Please contact us to find out how we can help.