Campaign to Help Parents Cope With Crying Baby

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DES MOINES, Iowa –All babies cry, and there is now a name for the period when they do it the most. It's called the period of purple crying, and there's a campaign to raise awareness about this time that can be frustrating for new parents.

Sherry Murtle loves knitting. "I can't just sit and watch T.V. I have to be knitting," she said. She hopes her work can remind parents to relax. "I knit baby hats for other times, and this is dedicated to the purple hats," she said.

She is making the caps for the Click for Babies Campaign. Volunteers knit hundreds of the purple hats to be given out in November. The goal is to let new parents know about the period of purple crying. Blank Children’s Hospital Pediatrician Amy Shriver said, "The period of purple crying is a time in a baby's life, usually about three weeks to three months of a baby's life when they have an increase in their crying."

Dr. Shriver says doctors used to call this colic, but now refer to it as a period of crying that is a normal part of a baby's brain development. "We call it the period of purple crying to help families understand that it will end someday, and then we try to support families by giving them tools," she said.

Doctors say parents should follow the five S’s to help soothe babies during the period of purple crying:

  1. Swaddle the baby with a swaddle blanket.
  2. Provide a pacifier or finger for the baby to suck on.
  3. Hold the baby sideways so they can look out instead of up.
  4. Swing or sway the baby.
  5. Provide a shushing noise.

Dr. Shriver said, "If it's 2 a.m. and your baby is very fussy, bring them into the bathroom and turn off all the lights and turn on the fan, and that gives that same kind of whirring, shushing noise."

The goal is to prevent shaken baby syndrome, which is when a parent or caregiver shakes a baby, leading to brain injury or even death. Kathy Leggett with the Blank Center for Advocacy and Outreach said. “Because this is something that can be prevented. It's a very tragic incident that happens and can really injure children."

Volunteers hope the purple caps can help. The purple hats will go to all babies born at Methodist, Methodist West or Iowa Lutheran in November. You can donate purple baby hats to the hospital through Friday, October 21st.