16 Helpful Tips For You To Deal With Baby’s Witching Hour

During the late afternoon and evening, you may notice your newborn wailing and crying all of a sudden. Many people refer to this as the baby’s witching hour (1). It usually happens between 5 pm and 12 am and occurs when your baby is around two to four weeks of age (2). The howling may last anywhere from thirty minutes to an hour, and some babies may even cry for hours on end.

While your little one crying uncontrollably is a cause for concern, the witching hour is a totally normal phenomenon and can be managed with the tips we’ve mentioned in our article. Read on as we tell you the causes of baby witching hour and how to cope with it.

When Do Babies Grow Out Of The Witching Hour?

Babies grow out of the witching hour by the age of three to four months (1). Some babies may continue to have it even after reaching five months. But they come out of it by the end of that month.
You can be better prepared to face the witching hour when you know why this happens.

Causes For Baby Witching Hour

Some possible causes of a baby’s wailing during the witching hour could be:

1. Colic

If your baby cries endlessly for hours, there is a chance that they might be colicky (3). Multiple institutions conducted a study to examine the prevalence of infantile colic. The study revealed that among infants aged 0-6 months, the reported occurrence of colic varied from 10% to 15%. Babies suffering from colic make intense calls, clench their fists, arch their backs, or turn red in the face while crying (4). See a doctor if the cries are intense and continue for long.

2. Fatigue

Fatigue could be one of the primary reasons for your little one’s nighttime fussiness. Bad sleeping patterns usually trigger fatigue (5). If your baby misses sleep often, the accumulated fatigue could make them cranky, leading to the witching hour wails.

3. Overstimulation

In most homes, daytime activities are stimulating for the baby due to lights, noises, and loads of activities. By the end of the day, they may feel exhausted and turn fussy (6). Also, the silence at night can annoy them.

4. Tummy trouble

Stomach problems may cause excessive wailing in the little one

Gastrointestinal and stomach problems, such as flatulenceiXA condition in which gas expels from the stomach and bowels., constipation, or gas may cause excessive wailing in the little one (7). If you are a nursing mother, check if something you ate has troubled the baby’s tummy. Spicy foods, carbonated drinks, chocolate, and caffeine are the most common culprits. Consider quitting them for a while.

5. Hunger

Babies tend to ‘cluster feed’ in the evening. Cluster feeding means that they feed far more frequently than they do during the rest of the day. Sometimes, babies feed once every hour. They do this to sleep for longer stretches at night. Babies who cluster feed have their longest stretch of sleep once they finish their feeds. Evening cries in such babies could be for initiating cluster feeds.

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6. Hypersensitivity

Life outside the uterus is still new for infants. So, they may be oversensitive to sensations, noises, and activities (8). As they adjust to the new world, they can get overwhelmed.

7. Lack of attention

Lack of attention could be a reason for your little one’s evening fussiness

Late afternoon or early evening is a busy time for everyone. The older kids come home from school; your partner comes home from work, and you have to get the food ready on the table. All these chores make it difficult to pay attention to your baby. The lack of attention could be one of the reasons for your little one’s evening fussiness (9). After all, the infant feels lonely too!

Prepare meals in advance and get all the household chores done earlier in the day, if possible, because your baby needs your attention.

Tips To Deal With Witching Hour

Your infant’s continuous wails drain you out physically and mentally. Follow these simple parenting tips to cope with the arsenic hour (10) (11).

1. Accept the situation

Accept that witching hour is unavoidable, at least for a few weeks after your baby is born. But remember that it will not last forever. Do not panic, but wait for the phase to be over. A few weeks from now, those early evening wailing sessions will be a thing of the past.

Studies have revealed that infants experience a gradual increase in daytime crying during the first two to three months, followed by a peak and subsequent decline. However, there is variation in the timing of crying peaks, with some babies reaching their peak at three weeks old while others may do so at eight weeks.

As the graph below shows, the duration of crying may vary from one baby to another, with some infants crying for as little as 20 to 30 minutes a day and others crying for up to five to six hours a day.

Early infant crying duration by baby’s age

Source: Why Does My Baby Cry So Much?; The Period of Purple Crying

2. Make yourself comfortable

Finish your chores and take time to snuggle with your baby

If you are comfortable, you can make your baby feel comfortable. Take a few minutes to shower and change. Finish your chores and take time to relax. It will give you time to face the situation and also snuggleiXTo move close for comfort or with affection. with your baby.

3. Plan calming activities

The age-old soothing strategies to calm the crying baby may sometimes work, but not always. Therefore, try various ways. Take the infant for a walk, talk to them, show them the sky or the birds or a pet — do whatever that can amuse them. Here are some calming strategies to try:

  • Swaddle
  • Set your baby down in a rocking chair
  • Bounce your baby on an exercise ball
  • Massage
  • Sing them a lullaby

4. Stay calm

One of the best ways to survive the witching hour is by staying calm. Your inability to soothe your baby does not make you a bad parent. Any stress and anxiety you feel will only make them wail louder.

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5. Engage the little one

Keep your baby occupied, yet make them feel that you are focusing on them. For older babies, play a hunting or guessing game and let them search for the hidden toy. Set up a picture book or toys exclusively for the hour.

6. Get some peace

Just like you find it hard to switch off after a stressful day at work, your baby may struggle to disengage after seeing something exciting for the first time. So, let your baby relax during the witching hour. Your darling will find it easier to calm down in a soothing environment.
Switch off all the electronic gadgets (including mobiles) and spend some quality time cuddling the little one. Your body warmth is the most reassuring thing for your baby.

7. Give them a bath

Bathtime is a great time for bonding! It also helps establish a bedtime routine. Fix a tub of warm water and get along with your baby. Play some soothing music and dim the lights to relax your little one. Water should not be too hot or too cold.

8. Comfort feed your baby

Comfort feeds are quite natural, and if they help your little one calm down during the witching hour, just go ahead. It does not mean overfeeding. If you are sure that your baby is not hungry, try a pacifier before feeding again.

But if your little one is formula feeding, you should be careful. If they just had a bottle of formula milk, do not offer them more. Try a pacifieriXA soothing device that resembles a nipple, usually given to calm babies. instead. Check for possible milk protein intolerance or other problems that could have triggered the wails.

9. Burp

Help your baby release gas to make them comfortable

Sometimes, gas trapped in your baby’s stomach may lead to discomfort and make them cry. If you suspect gas to be the culprit, give your baby a few gas drops. Wind your baby after every feed by trying techniques to encourage burping (2).

10. Use white noise

The noise from blenders, vacuum cleaners, or hair dryers can calm a baby down. According to child experts, some babies get comforted by white noise because the sound replicates the life in the womb. You can download white noiseiXA combination of various sounds in a vast range of frequency. applications to soothe your fussy baby (12). Or you can also put the baby in a bouncy seat in the bathroom while you shower. The white noise of the shower will calm the baby. You can also turn on the bathroom fan for added effect. However, while you do so, check with your pediatrician once.

11. Play music

Music serves a dual purpose. It creates a soothing atmosphere and helps drown your baby’s constant wailing (13). You may play any kind of music – jazz, rock-n-roll or melodies — if it helps you and your baby calm down. Watch out for the baby’s cues. If your little darling continues to cry, then you may have to try some other trick.

12. Offer something to eat

If your baby has begun taking solids, give them water, apple, cucumber or carrot purees before dinner. Do not expect them to clean the plate. Let them snack something healthy. Snacking can cut down the crankiness to an extent.

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13. Observe for early hunger and sleep cues

Identify early hunger and sleep cues, such as licking their fingers, sucking their hands or sticking their tongue out if they are hungry, yawning, rubbing their eyes, and giving jerky head movements if they are sleepy.

14. Prevent over-tiredness

Ensure that your darling gets to sleep a lot during the day to avoid over-tiredness. Let them take naps every one-two hours in the first two months. The baby’s daytime sleep would not interfere with the night’s sleep. In fact, an excessively tired baby has a tough time falling asleep during the night.

15. Shift duties

Seek your partner’s help in soothing the baby

Seek your partner’s help in soothing the baby. Keep shifting duties, so that you can recharge before getting back to the task at hand. One of you can try to calm the baby, while the other can rest for a while.

Aaryn William, a mother of three, shares the collaborative efforts she and her husband employed to calm their baby during the witching hour. She says, “With Resse (my third baby), the one thing I know that will keep her calm is if I stand up and sway her side-to-side. But it’s hard for an entire hour to do that, so switching positions and teamwork with Nick (my husband) helped. We hand her to one another back and forth until she’s finally ready to go to sleep (i).”

16. Keep yourself available

Give the little one what they want. Wondering what that is? It is you. Be there for your infant. The witching hour is the time when the baby needs you more than anything. The more relaxed and available you are for your baby, the better for you both. Focus on the baby and take care of the pending household chores later.

17. Skin to skin

Close skin contact with your baby can do wonders. When your child feels the reassuring contact of your skin against theirs, there’s a good chance they will feel relaxed and stop crying. Moreover, as you engage in a cozy snuggle, inhaling the delightful fragrance of your baby, you’re likely to find a similar sense of calm and contentment.

A baby’s witching hour usually occurs at two to four weeks during the late afternoon and evening hours, but they grow out of it by three to four months. Several conditions, such as colic, getting overstimulated, weariness, hunger, and lack of attention, may be to blame. You may experience increased irritability and powerlessness, but keep calm and make every effort to keep your infant happy during this period. You may try various soothing strategies to calm your baby, including engaging them in play, cuddling with them, comfort feeding, playing music, using white noise, and ensuring they don’t become overtired.

Key Pointers

  • Baby witching hour happens from 5 pm to 12 am and lasts 30 minutes to an hour.
  • Possible causes include colic, fatigue, overstimulation, tummy trouble, hunger, hypersensitivity, and lack of attention.
  • Comfort your baby with swaddling, massage, lullabies, white noise, or music.
  • Watch for early hunger and sleep signs, stay calm, engage with your baby, and take turns with your partner to soothe the baby.

Uncover expert techniques and strategies to proficiently handle witching hours for babies.

Article written by Baby Plumbing

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