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Crying is a normal way for your baby to communicate with you. They are unable to talk, point or move to explain their needs and will therefore cry. Your baby is likely to cry at times to let you know that they need feeding, comforting, changing, they have trapped wind or they need cuddling. Don't compare your baby, they are all different - some cry more and some cry less. But they do tend to cry most in the late afternoon and evening.

Your response to their crying is extremely important as helps to meet their basic needs and will reassure them that they are safe and loved. 

There may be times when you feel anxious because you have responded to your baby's needs and they're still crying, and sometimes your baby will cry for a prolonged period of time. Prolonged crying in an otherwise healthy and well baby in the early weeks may be referred to as ‘PURPLE’ crying.

Purple crying can begin at about two weeks and can continue until about three to five months. Your baby might be happy one minute and then start crying the next for no apparent reason.

P – Peak crying: Your baby might cry more each week, the most in the second month, then less in months three to five

U – Unexpected: crying can come and go and you don’t know why

R – Resists soothing: your baby might not stop crying no matter what you try

P – Pain-like face: a crying baby might look like they’re in pain, even when they’re not

L – Long lasting: crying can last as long as five hours a day or more

E – Evening: your baby might cry more in the late afternoon and evening

  • Feed your baby responsively when they appear hungry - young babies have tiny stomachs so cannot hold much milk, it's not unusual for them to need feeding every 2-3 hours both day and night.
  • Wind your baby by gently patting and rubbing their back; if you are worried that there is a persistent problem with trapped wind, speak to your health visitor.
  • Check if their nappy needs changing, and look out for any sore nappy rash that may be causing discomfort.
  • Check their temperature by touching their tummy, and check that their clothing is not too tight.
  • Hold your baby close, making eye contact with them to make them feel secure and comfortable, and sing or talk softly to them.
  • Try carrying your baby around in your arms or in a sling so that they feel close to you, and the rocking motion can sooth them.
  • Bath your baby - often babies will find a bath relaxing.
  • Baby massage is a great way to bond with your baby and relax them, and also helps with any trapped wind. View the video below to learn how to massage your baby.


  • It is normal to find crying stressful to listen to when it continues for a long time.
  • If you recognise that you are becoming distressed or upset and struggling to cope, ask your partner or a close family member to help while you take a breather.
  • If no one else is available to help immediately, place your baby down gently in a safe place such as their crib or cot, a crying baby will not be harmed by being left alone in a safe place for a few minutes.
  • Allow yourself to calm down before trying to comfort them again.
  • Never, ever shake your baby, it can cause lasting brain damage or even death.
  • Remember that as hard as it feels now, this crying period is temporary. Look after yourself and make sure you are getting enough sleep so that you can rationally respond to your baby.

If you’re worried about the health of your baby, such as a fever over 37.5 F or a failure to gain weight, talk to your GP, a member of your health visiting team or call NHS 111 for advice.

If you feel you might harm your baby because of their constant crying, get help immediately. You can speak to your Health Visitor or a Social Worker.

You can also call Cry-sis Centre on 08451 228 669 if you need support.

If you need some more information or support the following resources may help.

  • NHS choices: information on how to sooth a crying baby.
  • A UK charity offering advice and support to parents and carers with babies who cry excessively. They also have a helpline available 7 days a week from 9am to 10pm.
  • The NSPCC has produced advice on topics such as holding your baby safely and dealing with crying.
  • ICON has some brilliantly informative videos on how to cope, and specific information for Dads.