Saturday, 26 June 2010

The second night and the period of purple crying

Yesterday while we were driving, Shaune reached over and touching my chin said: hey your face is losing that chub.

As you can imagine, this was not well received by me. He tried to back out of this comment by saying that if pregnancy and giving birth were his responsibilities, we would be childless.

No kidding.

I notice people say lots of things about pregnancy, birth and babyhood in general that aren't necessarily true. When I had Deaglan, the second night in the hospital was really tough. He cried the entire night and I was a wreck. Some people said that he was that fussy because I was a nervous new mom and he sensing this was reacting.

Not true.

The hospital staff on the second day of Naveen's life gave me a pamphlet entitled The Second Night. It explained that after the first 24 hours, babies begin to realize that they are no longer in the womb. This is why they have such a difficult next few days. The nurse taking care of me that day explained that she wanted to prepare me for the night ahead, that I should know it was perfectly normal for the baby to be unsettled and that there was likely very little I could do to soothe him.

I can't tell you what a blessing that preparation was.

During Deaglan's first three months, for about three hours every evening, he cried and cried and we could do nothing to quiet him. It was frustrating. We were always asking other parents for solutions - maybe it was gas, or maybe I wasn't nursing right, maybe he was suffering from some mysterious internal ailment.

Before we left the hospital this last time, we were asked to watch a 10 minute video called The Period of Purple Crying. The video which is mandatory to watch for parents of new infants in Ontario, explains how most babies will cry unconsolably for a few hours every day and this is perfectly normal. The video and and accompanying pamphlet are meant to decrease shaken baby syndrome.

Wow. What a difference a little education and preparation can make.

I know that people will always have their opinions about pregnancy and babyhood. Most of this is based on their own experiences. Sometimes I take it with a grain of salt and other times I embrace it.

I can tell you that Shaune is not an insensitive jerk by nature. And boy did I make him sorry he ever uttered that comment.


  1. I never heard of this and find it interesting. I have heard that babies need to cry. if fed, and diapered and held lovingly and they still cry then they need to cry. maybe it is needed to strengthen their lungs, maybe it makes them move which strengthens their muscles. I read once that when a baby cries you can hold them and blow gently past their ear and it conforts them.... don't know if true, you are right what is true anyway. from what you write your mothering instincts are good....

  2. It is very helpful for a mom to be prepared for those very tough crying periods with newborns. I remember crying along with the baby often myself.

    Well, my husband showed his bit of insensitivity today when he said, "Your hair doesn't look that crazy." Thanks, I appreciate the notice. LOL

  3. I've never heard that either but it is great info. My hubby while not most of the time, has his insensitive moments as well.

  4. People tried to warn me in advance about how much harder it is with a second child because you don't get to rest when the baby rests - too busy dealing with the older child. I thought they were exaggerating, but I was so wrong!

  5. Isnt that knowledge such a blessing? I could have kissed the nurses who gave me that info! Hope things are going better for you now and youre sleeping a bit more. I'm a few weeks ahead of you - and we got a stretch of SEVEN hours last night. It will happen for you too. Also - LOVE your new header photo but i'm going to complain about the black background and white font - really hard to read and makes me see stars when I click off your site!

  6. i think the US should make all parents watch this video as well! the period of purple crying is true around here! gracie is the cryer of the bunch!

  7. This past weekend I asked my husband if I was high maintenance. He looked at me with the same look when I ask "Do I look heavy?" - it's a no win question. No matter how he responds I won't be happy so he's learned to not respond at all. Guess this does make me high maintenance.

    I do know in my experience with my babies, that the crying peaks around 6-8 weeks. Both the kids had daily crying fits during those periods. But it started waning and by 3 months when I was about to go crazy, it magically stopped. Now, sometimes we have to remind ourselves that we even have a baby because she is so good natured.

    Hang in there. And so glad they are offering this info to parents - even non-new ones.

  8. First, I LOVE the new look. ;)
    Second, sometimes our men just don't think first...

  9. Yep, they should definitely be handing out that pamphlet and video to ALL new moms! It would have helped me so much with my first. No one ever told me about that 'second night' rule, either, but in my experience with my own five babies I've found it's absolutely true, but either nights 2 or 3. I always think it's because the baby's natural 'hunger' is starting to kick in - inconveniently BEFORE my milk is in.

    Trevor has been a TRUE colicky baby. Every single night between 7 pm and 10 pm he cried nonstop. I was told that he'd outgrow it by 3 months or so. And you know what? He really did. Some evenings he's fussier than others, but it's really so so much better.

    Also, I ran to the store when Trevor was 5 days old and left him at home with Nana. A kind gentleman in the grocery store stopped to say hello to Sylive, who was in the cart. He then said to her: Oh, it looks like you're going to be a big sister soon... :/

  10. Kim,

    Thank you for sharing your story and the Period of PURPLE Crying info on this blog.

    We have launched a new parent education website at with in depth information about the Period of PURPLE Crying and other infant care issues.


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