Period of Purple Crying Survival Tips

Period of Purple Crying Survival Tips
Alex Warrack

Alex Warrack

Hey new momma! In case no one has told you today, you are doing an amazing job adjusting to your precious little baby!

I need to say this because I wish I heard this every minute of every day in those first few months after having Adeline. Especially, once she was two weeks old. 

My beautiful little girl who seemed to literally eat, poop, sleep and very rarely cry started to cry excessively in the early evening. NOTHING I did would soothe her or stop the crying. My first thought was “Oh no she has colic!” 

I ran to my pediatrician asking “does she have colic!?!” The doctor reassured me that she was completely fine.

My second thought was “am I doing something wrong?” Why would she be happy all day and then like clockwork at 5:00 pm she would cry excessively for an hour or sometimes longer? Then she’d stop as if nothing had happened?

What I did not know at the time was that Adeline had entered the Purple Crying Period!

What is Purple Crying Period?

Typically, when your infant is 2 weeks old, crying can increase dramatically, especially in the early evening hours. You may have heard of the expression the witching hours? This is also known as the period of purple crying.

I want you to know that all babies go through this period of crying as a part of normal infant development. Some babies cry more than others. It’s completely normal and there is nothing wrong. Adeline wasn’t broken, thankfully!

Side Note: if your baby is crying more than usual and you are concerned, a call or a well-check with your pediatrician is a good idea to make sure it isn’t something more.  

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Why Is It Called Purple?

The word purple does not mean that your baby turns purple. It is an acronym and each letter stands for a characteristic of this normal period of infant crying. 

  • P = Peak. This is the peak of babies crying pattern since birth. Peaking in the second month and decreasing thereafter.
  • = Unexpected. The crying starts unexpectedly with no clear reason or cause. 
  • = Resists Soothing. The crying may not stop no matter what you do to try to soothe baby.
  • P = Pain. Your baby will look like they are in pain, but they are not.
  • = Long. These episodes can last for hours.
  • = Evening. Usually, these periods of crying happen in the later afternoon or early evening. 

And the word “period” means that the crying has a beginning and an end. The crying will stop. The normal timeframe for the end of this period is in between 3-4 months.

How To Survive The Purple Crying Period

Here are my top 5 tips on how my husband and I survived this time of more intense crying.

  1. Keep moving around with baby. My husband would turn on music and we would move around the living room and sometimes dance with Adeline. Holding Adeline close to our bodies so she felt comforted and felt our warmth and the music allowed us to tune into something other than her crying.
  2. Go for a walk with baby in a carrier or stroller. Most movements help soothe baby and getting out of the house even if baby is crying helps ease some of the tension of baby crying.
  3. If it is safe to do so, put baby down (in a bassinet, the playpen, or crib) and give yourself a 5-minute breather. You know baby is fed and OK. So, it is important to give yourself a moment to catch your breath. 
  4. Ask family and/or friends to come over at this time to hold baby as you take a moment. I had a very hard time hearing Adeline cry and not being able to soothe her. I found it very helpful if my mom or mother-in-law came over to hold Addie and I could step outside to take a breath and relax or have a shower.
  5. Run the vacuum cleaner. I would wear Adeline in a sling and vacuum the house slowly. The noise of the vacuum provides white noise for baby and also would help drown out her crying. Again, she was on me for comfort and warmth. And in the end, it was a good time to clean the house too! 

If you are in the period of purple crying now, hang in there, mama! Remember this is a normal phase of infant development and it will end! In the meantime, the tips above should help!

If you want to learn all about newborn sleep and setting up healthy sleep habits from the start, I recommend signing up for a newborn sleep consultation. You can also schedule your free discovery call to learn more.

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