Saturday, 16 October 2010

SBS: Puple period explained

BY KRISTIN SYLVESTER •  October 6, 2010
It's no secret that babies cry. They cry when they're hungry, when they're tired, when they need a diaper change, and sometimes for what seems to be no reason at all.

New parents are offered a barrage of tips, tricks and sworn methods to soothe their fussy infant, from car rides to lavender baths.

Sometimes, these techniques seem to work like a charm. Other times, it appears that no amount of soothing can help stop the crying.

Unfortunately, the frustration caused by an infant who continues to cry can cause some parents and other caretakers to lose patience. The results can sometimes be tragic. From 1995 to 2007, more than 50 Iowa infants died from a condition known as shaken baby syndrome, making it the leading cause of death in child homicides.
Shaken baby syndrome is a form of abusive head trauma resulting from shaking an infant or small child. Help is available through the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH).

The Period of PURPLE Crying program promotes awareness about normal infant crying. The program helps people understand the meaning of increased crying in infants and the connection between frustration associated with infant crying and the danger of shaking as a response.

The letters in PURPLE stand for:
Peak of Crying: Your baby may cry more each week. The most at 2 months, then less at 3-5 months

Unexpected: Crying can come and go and you don't know why.

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

Painlike Face: Crying babies may look like they are in pain even when they are not.

Long Lasting: Crying can last as much as five hours a day, or more.

Evening: Your baby may cry more in the late afternoon and evening.
The Period of PURPLE Crying concept was developed by Dr. Ronald Barr, a pediatrician and researcher of normal infant crying for 25 years. He found that while the amount of crying varies from infant to infant, there is a common crying pattern all infants share. This pattern shows crying increasing at around 2 weeks of age, peaking at around two months, and eventually decreasing around 3 to 5 months.

Using materials from the national Period of PURPLE Crying campaign, IDPH is working with Iowa hospitals to distribute an educational DVD and booklet to every new birthing family. In addition, IDPH is promoting the national campaign's website, There, parents and caretakers will find information on sleeping, crying, soothing techniques and other practical tips. For example, the site teaches parents that if they become too frustrated, it's OK to put the baby down in a safe place and take a few minutes to calm themselves before attempting to calm their infant.
The Period of PURPLE Crying campaign has helped parents and caretakers manage this stressful time more easily, protect the wellbeing of the infant and understand that all that crying won't last forever. While this knowledge is helpful, parents should never hesitate to take their baby to a doctor when they have concerns about the baby's health.

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