When Your Baby Won’t Stop Crying ?>

When Your Baby Won’t Stop Crying

There are so many things I wish I would have known before having my kids. Like most new Mamas I studied my copy of “What to Expect” and scoured the internet for information like I was on a mission. I learned it all, or so I thought. Then my beautiful first daughter arrived and I realized that for as much information as I had amassed, I knew so little. Some things are random “fun facts” people forget to mention, like the post-delivery giant mesh panties. Most others are lessons you just have to experience yourself to really learn, like the superfast diaper exchange to keep from getting sprayed by your newborn son (hello, second kid).
If you make a really good mom friend, she might be willing to share some of this hard earned knowledge. But there is one thing that so few people talk about, that no research could have prepared me for. The period of purple crying.
My daughter went through the first 2 weeks of her amazing little life textbook average. She ate, slept, pooped, ate again. Then she started crying more often. At first I just figured she had found her voice and was exercising her right to use it. Diaper check, swaddle, nursing, and back to sleep. As the coming weeks went on however, the crying became more and more frequent. To the point where she was spending more time crying than sleeping. I called our doctor’s office and was told to check for fever, hair wrapped around appendages, bug bites, gas, but found nothing. After a particularly long crying spell I brought her to pediatric urgent care. There had to be something I was missing. The doctor quickly checked for those previous things and said “It’s colic, I’ll give you a prescription for Mylicon”. Now to preface, I am not anti medication or treatment, but I firmly believe in only giving what is needed, especially to a one month old infant. I asked the doctor what the baby’s signs of colic were and he said because it isn’t anything else, it has to be colic. Nope, not good enough for me. He said I could try an elimination diet on myself to see if there was an irritant in my breastmilk, common culprits were dairy, broccoli, beans, etc. I decided to try that to see if the troubles my child was experiencing were of a gaseous nature. They weren’t. I cut out anything that could possibly make anyone toot and the crying only got worse as the days went on.
The worst evening, my husband came home to find both of us sobbing uncontrollably. There was nothing I could do to soothe my baby. This was supposed to be the best time of my life and I felt like I was failing. He took over while I took a long weepy shower. That evening I turned to my trusty friend google for “reasons besides colic that babies cry” and “what to do when your baby won’t stop crying”. I came across a website, purplecrying.info that was like the sun finally shining down on me. All the symptoms listed were exactly what my baby was having. Turns out, it’s actually a thing, this happens to many more people than we know about, and best yet, there are solutions! And an end in sight.
P.U.R.P.L.E. crying is an acronym for a developmental phase most, if not all, babies go through. It begins at 2 weeks, peaks at 6-7 and fades out by about 12. For some infants it’s so mild that you just chalk it up to a rough week, or (ahem…) colic. The symptoms are P-peak crying, U-unexpected, R-resists soothing, P-pain-like face, L-long lasting, and E-evening.
The website explains everything in much more detail, however, it no longer provides a link for soothing techniques that saved my sanity 4 years ago, which is why I’m writing this. (an online search will also provide articles from Seattle children’s hospital, Henry Mayo, and multiple mom forums with valuable info) Soothing is trial and error during this time, what might work for some, doesn’t for others. For my child, the magic trick was multi-sensory stimulation. Other children respond well to a change in environment like a walk outside, or things like shushing noises, rocking, warm baths, or skin to skin contact. The combination of white noise, rocking, and a tight swaddle was enough to calm my baby a lot of the time. Other times she just cried, and I learned from further research that it was perfectly ok to place the baby in a safe location like her crib, with no additional hazards like toys, bumpers or blankets, and step away for a couple of minutes to calm down, breathe deep, and be able to return to her with a calm demeanor to try again.
***A huge danger during this period is Shaken Baby Syndrome, and while none of us ever want to think we could ever hurt our baby, it’s SO IMPORTANT to have a clear head and not lead with our emotions while dealing with an infant during this very frustrating time.***
The most important part for me though, was the hope. It was knowing that it wasn’t forever. We can tell our bodies and minds we can deal with almost anything as long as we have an ending point. I knew we when we were in the worst of it and soon began to see the symptoms fade.
Coming out of this, I began to talk more to fellow moms and many shared similar experiences, but nobody knew it was an actual developmental phase. I have made it my mom-mission to share a little about this with all soon-to-be parents I know.
So if you are a new parent struggling to figure out why your baby won’t stop crying even after you’ve exhausted all options, look into PURPLE crying, and know there is both help and hope.

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5 thoughts on “When Your Baby Won’t Stop Crying

  1. I was lucky enough to have a pretty lazy baby He just wanted to sleep all the time and rarely cried. It wasn’t until I started being a nanny for a newborn that I got to really experience the endless hours of screaming off and on! I have never heard of that website! Great resource !

  2. This brings back vivid memories to when my first son (now 9) was born, and went through something similar! We were so stumped (and tired…), and felt like we tried everything and nothing worked. It was a time of feeling really defeated. This should be something one knows going into parenthood — thanks for putting the word out there!!

  3. Great post! My 3 are past this stage now (fewf) but I remember how hard it was when they would cry and nothing I did would comfort them. It’s frustrating and heartbreaking. Love your tip about putting baby in a safe place and just stepping away to take a few moments.

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