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Healthy mothers healthy babies: PURPLE Montana.

copyright--originally published in Montana Parent magazine; reprinted with permission

Daylyn Porter wasn't a panicked new mother, unaccustomed to the crying of a newborn, or exhausted from the experience of giving birth for the first time. She wasn't overwhelmed from the unknown demands of an infant or unaware of a new baby's need. She was a pediatric nurse with years of professional experience under her belt and the very real, personal experience of having already birthed and mothered a child.

And yet she was frustrated that her new baby cried. And cried and cried. Every day there was a period of time in which her baby girl was inconsolable, unable to stop crying on her own. It was as if she was in pain and was trying to release it. It just went on and on, and seemingly never stopped. Daylyn tried the soothing techniques that she knew about: she used a blow dryer to create white noise, she took her baby on long drives, she used constant movement and motion to distract her. Nothing worked. Finally, Daylyn took her baby to the doctor, who examined her and diagnosed the baby had colic.

Colic is a condition in which an otherwise healthy baby cries or displays symptoms of distress (cramping, moaning, etc.) frequently and for extended periods, without any discernible reason. The strict medical definition of colic is a condition of a healthy baby in which it shows periods of intense, unexplained fussing/crying lasting more than 3 hours a day, more than 3 days a week for more than 3 weeks. So it is no more than a collection of symptoms and not a medical event.

As a pediatric nurse at Helena's St. Peter's Hospital, Daylyn had also treated cases of Shaken Baby syndrome (SBS), and was seeing the incidence of babies suffering from SBS increase at an alarming rate. She now understood that any parent can become so frustrated with inconsolable infant crying that the baby can be roughly shaken in an attempt to get the baby to stop crying. Daylyn became passionate about advocating on behalf of the victims of SBS, and ultimately worked to pass legislation that requires information on prevention of shaken baby syndrome to be provided to new parents. Now she has joined with Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies, which has secured funding to make this educational process possible. The Montana Children's Trust Fund recently awarded $110,000 towards this goal.

Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies, The Montana Coalition in Helena has introduced a new awareness campaign: PURPLE Montana. Designed to help parents of new babies understand a developmental stage that is not widely known, infant crying, PURPLE Montana provides education on the normal crying curve and the dangers of shaking a baby.

The program proposes a new educational approach in how parents, caregivers, and everyone in the community deal with the normalcy of early infant crying and the dangers of reacting to an infant's crying with frustration or a lack of patience. The program is based on 30 years of scientific research on infant crying, and the connection between the crying curve and the incidence of Shaken Baby Syndrome.

All infants go through thru an early in life crying period, and while some are easily soothed, other babies are not. The common characteristics of this phase, or period, which are better described by the acronym PURPLE.

The acronym reinforces that crying is a normal process and not an illness requiring medication or a condition that needs treatment. Parents, caregivers and educators can now access Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies and Purple Montana at for comprehensive information on The Period of Purple Crying[R], a now recognized period of time beginning at about 2 weeks and continuing into the 4th month of a newborn's life. Understanding infant crying as a development phase is just the beginning in approaching this stage in infant behavior and finding coping strategies that work while crying is at its peak.

PURPLE Montana starts in the hospital where nurse-educators utilize the newly-developed booklet and DVD entitled The Period of Purple Crying[R], that shows the dangers of shaking a baby out of frustration, and continues in healthcare provider settings such pediatricians' and doctors' offices. HMHB is building these efforts to use The Period of Purple Crying[R] as a tool to educate the parents of all newborns in Montana.

For more information on PURPLE contact Daylyn Porter at And to get the most up to date information on topics of concern to new parents, check out HMHB on their website at

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Title Annotation:Around the State
Author:Bruce, Demaris Rae
Publication:The Pulse
Article Type:Reprint
Geographic Code:1U8MT
Date:Jun 6, 2013
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