Trios Birth Center spreads awareness on PURPLE Crying

KENNEWICK, Wash. – Two horrific cases of infant abuse in the Tri-Cities, has reaffirmed the need for healthcare workers like those with Trios Health, to educate new and experienced parents who come through their birth unit.

“It’s really, really challenging,” Rebecca Carlson, a registered nurse with Trios’ Neonatal Unit said.

Between the crying, and lack of sleep, the first days out of a hospital can throw any parent for a loop.

Around two to three weeks of age, some babies go through what’s known as the Period of PURPLE Crying.

Purple is an acronym for peak of crying, unexpected, resists soothing, pain like face, long lasting and evening.

“So what usually happens is the babies will cry a lot; they can be fed, they can be changed, they can be rocked, they can be held and no matter what you do for them they still cry,” Carlson explained.

That never-ending crying has driven some parents or caretakers to their wit’s end.

“It can be a split moment of frustration which means a lifetime of disabilities for a baby that can be shaken,” she said.

Some of the ramifications of shaken baby syndrome include seizures, lifelong impairments and death.

Carlson said if your baby is inconsolable, make sure you met all their basic needs, and if that doesn’t help, it’s okay to set your baby in a safe space, or let a trusted individual watch them while you cool off.

“They can lay the baby in a safe spot, they can lay the baby in their crib and they can take a breather. Even if it’s like a five minute break, it’s amazing what five minutes will do for a new mom,” she said.

Carlson said in Trios’ Birth Center, they educate parents about PURPLE Crying as well as signs of postpartum anxiety and depression.

As a reminder that babies may go through PURPLE Crying, they hand out beanies, knit by volunteers with the CLICK For Babies Campaign.

“You know seeing that purple hat it hopefully relates to something they heard in the hospital or learned and helps them connect those two things and realize, “this is okay, I need to take a minute, I need to take a breather because I’m feeling frustrated,” she said.

Carlson wants parents to know it’s okay to get frustrated; what’s important is that you recognize when you need to step away and take a break.

“Feeling frustrated is normal, it doesn’t make you a bad person, it doesn’t make you a bad mom. They can not manipulate and you cannot spoil a baby,” she said.

Nurses hope to continue this program in 2022 when the Trios Women and Children’s Center moves from their location off of Auburn Street to the Southridge Campus.

If you’d like to get involved in the CLICK for Babies Campaign, there is a state chapter run by Seattle Children’s Hospital.