The Period of PURPLE Crying

The Period of PURPLE Crying is a way to help parents understand the time in their baby's life, which is a normal part of every infant's development. The Period of PURPLE Crying refers to the very normal developmental phase of a baby’s life beginning at about 2 weeks of age and continues until about 3–4 months of age. All babies go through this period. It is during this time that some babies can cry a lot and some far less, but they all go through it. There are common characteristics of this phase, or period, which are better described by the acronym “PURPLE”.


The acronym is a meaningful and memorable way to describe what parents and their babies are going through. The letters in PURPLE stand for:


P – Peak of crying; Baby may cry more each week, the most in month two,

      and less in months 3–5

U – Unexpected; Crying can come and go and you don’t know why

R – Resists soothing; Your baby may not stop crying no matter

      what you do

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 five hours a day,

      or sometimes more

E – Evening; Baby may cry more in the late afternoon and evening.

      The word Period is important because it tells parents that it is only

      temporary and will come to an end.


The PURPLE program attempts to bring about a cultural change in attitudes and behavior about normal infant crying in parents and in society. The program is designed to educate parents and others about the normal properties of early infant crying, and to reduce the stress and frustration parents experience when they have a baby who cries. The PURPLE program has been designed to change the way we understand early increased infant crying so that parents and caregivers will have reasonable expectations for their baby and for themselves as caregivers.


The Period of PURPLE Crying video is given to families of new babies, in the hospital, after the birth of their baby. It has good information for parents about how to soothe a crying baby. Hospital Birth Center nurses are trained and present the material to families of new babies delivering in their hospital. Each family receives the 10-minute DVD and 11-page booklet about PURPLE Crying to take home with them. Click here for more information or talk to your pediatrician.



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