Understanding the Shift: When Purple Crying Usually Starts to Decrease

Written by: Megan Stander


Time to Read: 8 min

Delve into the world of purple crying. In this article, we will:

  • Unravel the complexities of purple crying, a normal but challenging phase in infant development.

  • Offer practical coping strategies and emotional support for new mothers.

  • Highlight the value of Raising Mama's supportive network in navigating early motherhood.

What Is PURPLE Crying?

Purple crying is a term describing a phase of increased, intense crying in infants, typically starting in the first weeks after birth. It's a normal developmental stage characterized by crying that peaks, is often unexpected, and may resist soothing methods. Understanding this phase helps parents recognize it as a natural part of their baby's growth, not a sign of distress or poor parenting.


Defining Purple Crying: This stage in an infant's life involves increased, often inconsolable crying. It's a normal part of development, characterized by more crying than any other time in infancy, and is experienced by many infants.


Breaking Down the Acronym: PURPLE stands for Peak of crying, Unexpected, Resists soothing, Pain-like face, Long-lasting, and Evening episodes, each describing this phase's characteristics, including peak crying levels, resistance to soothing, and prevalence in the evening.


Normalizing the Phase: New mothers should understand that purple crying is a standard developmental stage, not indicative of any parenting issues or infant distress. Recognizing it as natural helps parents manage it with greater ease and less worry.

How Long Does PURPLE Crying Last?

Purple crying typically begins when an infant is around two weeks old and usually peaks at about two months. The intensity of crying generally starts to decrease as the infant approaches three to four months, marking a significant developmental transition.


Onset of Purple Crying: Typically starting at around two weeks old, this phase is marked by an increase in crying, signaling a normal developmental stage, not discomfort or illness.


Duration and Decrease: Purple crying often peaks at about two months old, with intense crying episodes. Reassuringly, this phase is not endless. When purple crying usually starts to decrease frequency and intensity usually begin as the baby nears three to four months, marking a developmental transition.

Baby crying - Understanding the Shift: When Purple Crying Usually Starts to Decrease - Raising Mama - When Purple Crying Usually Starts to Decrease

When Does PURPLE Crying End?

Purple crying is a temporary and normal stage in an infant's growth. This section aims to clarify when parents can expect this phase to diminish, offering much-needed reassurance.


The Temporary Nature of the Phase: This phase gradually subsides over time. Parents generally notice a reduction in crying as their baby grows, especially as they approach the three to four-month mark. This understanding can bring comfort during challenging times.


A Message of Reassurance: Although intense, this stage of development does pass. Parents need to remember that this is a normal, albeit difficult, phase that is not permanent. Knowing that purple crying is just a phase helps parents cope better with the demands it brings.

PURPLE Crying and Shaken Baby Syndrome

Shaken baby syndrome (SBS) is a serious injury that can occur when infants are shaken out of frustration during intense purple crying phases. It emphasizes the importance of understanding and managing caregiver stress to prevent such dangerous incidents.


Understanding the Risks: Serious brain injury can be caused by violently shaking an infant. It can sometimes result from a caregiver's overwhelmed response to persistent crying. It's vital for caregivers to recognize the dangers of shaking a baby and to handle moments of frustration with utmost care. 


Prevention and Awareness: Education about SBS is key in prevention. Parents should be informed about safe ways to cope with stress during challenging crying episodes, like taking a moment to step away if needed. Raising awareness and providing coping strategies can significantly reduce the risk of such incidents.

Coping With When Purple Crying Usually Starts to Decrease

Dealing with the purple crying phase requires patience and a variety of strategies. This section is dedicated to helping parents navigate through this demanding period with practical soothing techniques for their baby, as well as essential self-care tips for themselves. Implementing these strategies can make a significant difference in managing the stress and challenges of this phase.


Soothing Strategies: Techniques like gentle rocking, soft singing, and maintaining a calm environment can help soothe some babies. Experiment to find what works, understanding that it's normal for these methods to not always be effective due to the nature of purple crying.


Parental Self-Care: Taking care of yourself is crucial. Don’t hesitate to take short breaks, seek help from others, or step away for a moment. Joining support groups or communities like Raising Mama can provide additional emotional support and practical advice.

 Baby emotional wellbeing- Understanding the Shift: When Purple Crying Usually Starts to Decrease - Raising Mama - When Purple Crying Usually Starts to Decrease

Supporting Your Emotional Well-being

Maintaining emotional well-being is crucial for parents during the challenging phase of purple crying. 


This section focuses on acknowledging and addressing the emotional impacts this phase can have, and emphasizes the importance of seeking support, whether it be professional or through a community.


Addressing Emotional Impact:

Parents may experience frustration, helplessness, and heightened stress during this phase. Recognizing these feelings as natural responses to a challenging situation is crucial. Awareness of these emotions is key to preventing postpartum depression and anxiety.


Encouraging Professional Support:

Seeking professional help is encouraged for overwhelming emotions. Therapists, counselors, and support groups offer valuable coping strategies. Open communication with family and friends also plays a significant role in emotional support. Remember, reaching out for help is a sign of strength.

Community Stories: Shared Experiences of Purple Crying

The journey through the purple crying phase is unique for every family, but there's immense value in sharing and hearing each other's experiences. In this section, we bring together real-life stories from parents who have navigated through this challenging period. Their accounts offer not just empathy and understanding, but also a reminder that no one is alone in this experience.


Sharing Real-Life Experiences: 

Featuring anecdotes from parents who have experienced purple crying, these stories offer relatable insights, practical tips, and emotional reassurance, helping parents feel understood and less alone.


Fostering Community Support: 


By connecting parents with similar experiences, these stories build a sense of community, offering comfort and a reminder that they are not alone in their journey through early parenthood.

Baby crying with mom - Understanding the Shift: When Purple Crying Usually Starts to Decrease - Raising Mama - When Purple Crying Usually Starts to Decrease

When to Consult a Pediatrician

This section is designed to help parents understand when it might be necessary to seek medical advice regarding their infant's crying. It's crucial for parents to distinguish between the normal aspects of purple crying and signs that might indicate a more serious health issue.

  • Guidance on Health Concerns: We guide parents on recognizing signs that may warrant a consultation with a pediatrician, helping them differentiate between normal purple crying and potential health concerns.


  • When to Seek Medical Advice: Advice is provided on seeking medical evaluation for any concerns that go beyond the typical patterns of purple crying.

The Village: Raising Mama's Support Network

This section introduces "The Village," a supportive network within Raising Mama, designed to empower and connect new mothers during challenging times like the purple crying phase.


Introducing Our Support Network

"The Village" is a cornerstone of Raising Mama, offering a safe space for new mothers to find guidance, empathy, and understanding from those who have walked similar paths.


The Benefits of Community

Joining this network provides invaluable benefits such as emotional support, shared experiences, and practical advice, fostering a sense of community and belonging that is crucial during early motherhood.

Purple Crying baby - Understanding the Shift: When Purple Crying Usually Starts to Decrease- Raising mama - When Purple Crying Usually Starts to Decrease

Purple Crying is a Normal Phase and Manageable With the Right Support

  • Purple Crying is a normal phase in infant development, characterized by increased, intense crying that typically starts around two weeks old, peaks at two months, and gradually decreases by three to four months.


  • Caregivers should be aware of the risks of caregiver stress, including Shaken Baby Syndrome, and seek education and support to manage stress during challenging crying episodes.


  • Emotional well-being, self-care, and seeking professional help when needed are essential for parents during the Purple Crying phase, and connecting with supportive communities like "The Village" within Raising Mama can provide invaluable support and understanding.

Disclaimer: Articles published by Raising Mama are not intended as medical advice. For any concerns about your baby's health, please consult a pediatrician. In case of an emergency or life-threatening situation, dial 911 immediately. Your child's well-being is our utmost concern.

Can PURPLE Crying Occur in All Babies, or Are Some More Prone to It Than Others?

While PURPLE crying is a phase that many infants go through, the intensity and duration can vary widely from one baby to another. Factors such as temperament, environmental stimuli, and even parental response can influence how pronounced this phase is. All babies are capable of going through this developmental stage, but the experience can differ significantly in terms of how often and how intensely they cry.

Are There Specific Techniques to Calm a Baby Experiencing PURPLE Crying That Parents Should Avoid?

Yes, while many soothing techniques can be beneficial, there are certain practices parents should avoid. For example, it's not recommended to overstimulate the baby with loud noises or vigorous rocking as this can sometimes exacerbate the crying. Instead, gentle, consistent soothing actions are encouraged. Also, never shake a baby in an attempt to stop the crying, as this can lead to severe injury or even death.

How Can Parents Differentiate Between PURPLE Crying and Signs of Illness in Their Baby?

While PURPLE crying is characterized by periods of intense crying without an apparent reason, signs of illness may include fever, vomiting, diarrhea, or a significant change in feeding or sleeping patterns. If a baby shows signs of illness or if there's a concern beyond the typical patterns of PURPLE crying, it's important to consult a pediatrician.

What Role Do Pediatricians Play in Supporting Families Through the PURPLE Crying Phase?

Pediatricians can play a crucial role by educating parents about the PURPLE crying phase during routine visits, providing reassurance that this is a normal developmental stage, and offering strategies for coping and soothing. They can also help differentiate between normal crying and potential medical issues that may require further investigation or treatment.

Are There Long-Term Effects of PURPLE Crying on a Child's Development or Parent-Child Bonding?

There is no evidence to suggest that the PURPLE crying phase has any long-term negative effects on a child’s development or on the bond between parent and child. In fact, navigating this challenging phase can strengthen the bond as parents learn more about their baby's needs and how to effectively comfort them. The key is for parents to remain patient, seek support when needed, and continue to provide loving care throughout this phase.