November 14th, 2013

Every baby born at Great River Medical Center in November is leaving the hospital wearing a handmade purple cap. The caps are reminders to parents that all infants cry – sometimes inconsolably – and the most important thing parents and caregivers can do when feeling frustrated is to put the infant in a safe place and take a short break. Parents also receive a DVD and booklet on “The Period of PURPLE Crying.”

 November is National Shaken Baby Awareness Month.

 “’The Period of PURPLE Crying’ is a new way to help parents understand that crying is a normal part of infant development,” said Lora Stauffer, manager of Great River Women and Family Center’s Obstetrics Unit. “It often is called colic, but that implies that something is wrong. PURPLE is an acronym that describes what babies are going through, and the word ‘Period’ is a reminder that this phase will end.”

 The letters in PURPLE stand for:

P – Peak of crying. Babies may cry more each week until peaking in the second month. They cry less in each of the third through fifth months.

U – Unexpected. Crying can come and go, and parents don’t know why.

R – Resists soothing. Babies may not stop crying no matter what caregivers try.

P – Painlike face. Crying babies may look like they are in pain, even when they’re not.

L – Long-lasting. Crying can last five hours a day, or more.

E – Evening. Babies may cry more in the late afternoon and evening.

 Each year, more than 1,400 babies are shaken and abused when a parent or caregiver becomes frustrated with an infant’s crying. Research shows that frustration with a crying infant is the No. 1 trigger for shaking and abusing infants. Most shaken infants suffer a variety of significant and lifelong injuries ranging from seizures to cerebral palsy. Some infants die.

 Great River Medical Center provides information on shaken baby syndrome to parents year-round. For more information about the Period of PURPLE Crying program or the National Center on Shaken Baby Syndrome, visit