Crying

Author: Ronald G. Barr, MDCM, FRCP(C)

New parents have wonderful and not so wonderful experiences with their new infants, but crying has got to be one of the most challenging. There are a couple of basic reasons why this is so. First, new parents want and expect a wonderful, mostly smiling, responsive baby. But when the baby cries for five hours, the crying is unsoothable and nothing the parents do seems to help, the disappointment can be profound. Second, many parents do not know that there is a very typical and completely normal set of features of crying that all infants do in the first weeks and months of life. These are the features that are described as the Period of PURPLE Crying.

"New parents want and expect a wonderful, mostly smiling, responsive baby. But when the baby cries for five hours, the crying is unsoothable and nothing the parents do seems to help, the disappointment can be profound.

In this section, we are going to describe these features and indicate why we know that they are typical for normally developing infants. Understanding these features should help parents know that, even when their infant is crying like this, they still have a wonderful, normal baby who, with a little help from their parents, will turn out to be a wonderful child later. The crying can be frustrating, but your baby can still be a completely normal child.