The parents of newborns at Waldo County General Hospital and Pen Bay Medical Center will be receiving hand knit purple hats for their babies during the month of November and December as part of the Click For Babies campaign. This effort was organized by the National Center on Shaken Baby Syndrome who connected with states that had infant abuse prevention programs and had the capacity to implement local campaigns. Currently Maine is one of 14 states and two Canadian provinces participating in this effort.

Patrick Walsh, child abuse and neglect council coordinator at Broadreach Family & Community services, said more than 112 hats have been donated for Waldo and Knox counties at this point. Eighteen knitters from Waldoboro to Pittsfield to Bucksport have donated their time and materials to ensure that each baby born at the hospitals in November and December will receive a beautiful, lovingly crafted hat. The “click” in the “Click for Babies” title refers to the clicking sound of the knitting needles as the hats are created.

Along with the hats, parents will receive an information package titled The Period of PURPLE Crying that provides those parents with important information about their newborn. PURPLE is an acronym that helps to inform parents that: P is for Peak of Crying – “your baby may cry more each week with the most at 2 months then less at 3 to 5 months. U is for Unexpected – “crying can come and go and you don’t know why”. R is for Resists Soothing – “your baby may not stop crying no matter what you try”. P is for Pain-like face – “a crying baby may look like they are in pain even when they are not”. L is for Long Lasting – “crying can last as much as 5 hours a day or more”. E is for Evening – “your baby may cry more in the late afternoon or evening.”

Research tells us that children are vulnerable during this period to being shaken by a stressed out caregiver who feels frustrated that they cannot understand their child’s apparent discomfort and can do nothing to soothe them. In the past we may have attributed this crying and apparent pain to “colic”, and equated that with a medical condition. Research shows that this type of crying is “normal” and reduces over time.

Walsh said that “this is one small but significant effort that communities can take to ensure the well-being of its young children.”

For more information or to find out how you can be involved in Click For Babies, contact Walsh at Broadreach Family & Community Services at 338-2200 ext 109 or pwalsh@brmaine.org.