During the first few months of life, many babies will cry for hours at a time, often in the evening. Colic is a term often associated with babies during this period of life, conjuring to mind images of sickly infants and poor health. But babies who exhibit signs of colic are often quite healthy and may simply be exercising their lungs. In fact, according to the Nemours Foundation, an estimated 40 percent of infants may experience colic during the first three or four months of life.
A Positive Spin on a Common Occurrence
To help parents understand that frequent crying is not always a sign that a baby is in distress, a developmental pediatrician developed the concept of the Period of PURPLE crying. An acronym that describes the first few months of a baby’s life and unexplained periods of constant crying, PURPLE crying may be broken down as follows:
- Peak of crying—The first three months of life are often marked by long periods of crying.
- Unexpected—Constant crying may occur at any time and often without a visible cause.
- Resists soothing—Your baby’s crying may be beyond your control.
- Pain-like face—Unhappy facial expressions may not always indicate discomfort.
- Long lasting—Periods of crying may last for hours on end day after day.
- Evening—Crying is most common later in the day, occurring in the afternoons and evenings.
If your baby has been crying more often than you expected, remember these points and try to relax. More than likely, your child is simply doing what he or she is supposed to do during these developmental months.