KGH Volunteers Knit Caps to Raise Awareness of the Period of PURPLE Crying

A New Way to Understand Your Baby's Crying

The Period of PURPLE Crying® is a new way to understand the crying that otherwise healthy babies do in their first five months of life. It explains what is normal, what parents and caregivers can expect, and how to keep the baby safe. The program is based on over 25 years of research on infant crying by leading child development and medical experts.

Part of the program is a cap-knitting campaign that aims to raise awareness about the Period of PURPLE Crying, which educates parents and other caregivers about the normalcy of increased crying that is a frequently misunderstood, but typical, developmental stage in early infancy. Increased infant crying can be very frustrating and is the key trigger to shaking and abuse. The Period of PURPLE Crying promotes infant-parent bonding, coping strategies and other crucial parenting skills.

"We recognize that child abuse is a national problem," says Beverly Russell, RNC, Director of KGH's Family Birthing Center and Special Care Nursery. "Often times, parents get frustrated by their baby's crying and don't know what to do. The Period of PURPLE Crying program helps parents to understand the situation and deal with it in a safe manner."

The letters PURPLE stand for:

  • P - Peak of crying - Your baby may cry more each week, but most in month 2, then less in months 3-5
  • U - Unexpected - Crying can come and go, and you don't know why
  • R - Resists soothing - Your baby may not stop crying no matter what you try
  • P - Pain-like face - A crying baby may look like they are in pain, even when they are not
  • L - Long lasting - Crying can last as much as 5 hours a day or more
  • E - Evening - Your baby may cry more in the late afternoon and evening

As a way to increase awareness and decrease shaken baby syndrome, KGH volunteers and other community volunteers came together to feverishly knit and crochet tiny purple caps using the softest of yarns. "Many dozens of hats have been collected and will be distributed to new parents in our birthing center along with the PURPLE DVD and booklet," says Russell. "Each new parent can select the hat of their choice, which are all proudly displayed at our nursing station in the birthing center. It serves as another awareness element and is one additional piece of educational material that KGH offers new parents."

Russell notes that it's important for parents to understand that the Period of PURPLE Crying will come to an end. "The DVD shows real-life parents with their struggles and strategies," adds Russell. "The booklet offers tips, explanations and resources for helping through a potentially difficult time because sometimes a parent or caregiver gets so angry or frustrated because of the crying, they lose control and without thinking, shake their baby."

Shaking a baby is very dangerous and can cause blindness, seizures, death, learning disabilities and physical disabilities. It's important for parents and caregivers to know that it is never okay to shake or hurt a baby. The PURPLE program encourages parents to tell others who might care for their baby about the Period of PURPLE Crying and action steps they can take. If the person caring for their baby has problems handling frustration or has a quick temper, it may be dangerous to leave the baby with that person.

KGH is committed to keeping our babies and children safe, as well as achieving all of the goals new parents aspire to for their children. The Period of PURPLE Crying program is one element of this ongoing commitment.

Source: National Center on Shaken Baby Syndrome, USA, and developmental pediatrician, Ronald G. Barr, MDCM, FRCPC.