All parents know their baby will cry.
What many parents don’t realize is all babies experience a period of increased crying in the first few months of life, which can lead to much confusion and frustration. Sometimes parents resort to shaking their infant as a desperate solution.
A national campaign called The Period of PURPLE Crying has risen to address this situation and help parents, especially new ones, in the struggles of early parenting.
PURPLE is an acronym used to explain the baby’s behavior.
“P” stands for Peak of crying. Babies may cry more each week, the most in month two, then less in months three through five.
“U” stands for Unexpected. Crying can come and go without any clues as to why.
“R” stands for Resists soothing. Babies may not stop crying no matter what parents try.
“P” stands for Pain-like face. A crying baby may look like they are in pain even when they are not.
“L” stands for Long lasting. Crying can last five hours a day or more.
“E” stands for evening. Babies may cry more in the late afternoon and evening.
Once parents are warned of these tendencies, they will be less likely to abuse their children, namely give them shaken baby syndrome.
As a reminder, parents are given purple hats as they leave the hospital. The hats are made by volunteers all over the country as part of the Click for Babies campaign.
Lorrie Kessler, owner of Oh Yarn It in McPherson, is one of those volunteers.
She has been clicking needles since she was a girl. And she also worked for a number of years for a non-profit coalition that helped needy families, which specifically addressed this problem.
Once she heard these two worlds could collide, she signed up right away.
“It’s just great these parents get this education because babies don't come with owners manuals,” she said. “It’s just the idea that something as simple as a hat to remind the parents that they can do this. It sort of fuses my former life and my current one in one in helping people out.”
Kessler has recruited 12 others this year to help her in her quest to make purple hats, which are knitted or crocheted in all shapes and sizes. Her goal is to compile as many as possible between now and October, after which she will take them to the Kansas Children's Service League in Wichita.
Kessler welcomes anyone in the community to contribute. The only requirement is the hats must be washer-friendly and without items infants could pull off and choke on.
Page 2 of 2 - As they piece them together, Kessler said they think of those who will soon wear them.
“When you’re knitting, you’re thinking, ‘This is going to a kid some place. A new life,’” she said. “It’s a good feeling.”
Theresa Nelson is one of Kessler’s recruits and thinks of her niece. Her niece was a newborn last year and cried a lot, so Nelson’s sister benefited greatly from the educational program.
“It motivates me,” she said of knitting the purple hats. “I can picture my niece. When you can put a face to it, it makes a difference.”
Contact Jenae Pauls at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on Twitter @PaulsSentinel