The Witching Hour - Understanding and Coping with Your Baby's Fussiest Time
Babies are known for their erratic sleep patterns, and parents are often left struggling to get them to sleep through the night, or even to sleep at all! One of the biggest challenges faced by parents is the phenomenon known as the witching hour.
This is the time of day when babies become fussy, cranky, and inconsolable, making it difficult for parents to calm them down and get them to sleep.
The ‘witching hour’ is a common occurrence, but many parents don’t understand why it happens or how to cope with it. Below we will explore what the witching hour is, why it happens, and provide some tips and tricks for parents to help soothe their babies during this challenging time.
What Is A Witching Hour For Babies?
The witching hour for babies refers to a period of time, usually in the late afternoon or early evening, when babies become fussier, more irritable, and harder to soothe than usual. During this time, babies may cry, fuss, and appear agitated, even if they are not hungry, wet, or in need of a nappy change.
The witching hour typically begins around three to four weeks of age and can last until the baby is about three to four months old, although the duration and timing may vary from one baby to another.
What Causes Babies Witching Hour?
The exact cause of the witching hour is not fully understood, but there are several theories. One possibility is that it’s related to a baby’s immature digestive system, causing discomfort, gas, and colic.
Another theory is that it’s due to overstimulation, as babies may be tired and overwhelmed after a long day of sensory experiences. Hormonal changes, growth spurts, and changes in sleep patterns can also contribute to the witching hour.
Regardless of the cause, the witching hour can be a challenging time for parents, as they try to soothe and calm their fussy babies.
It’s important for parents to understand that the witching hour is a normal phase that many babies go through and that it will eventually pass. However, there are some strategies that parents can use to help their babies through this difficult time, as you will see below.
How To Calm Your Baby During Witching Hour
Coping with a fussy or irritable baby during the witching hour can be challenging, but there are several strategies that parents can use to help soothe their little ones. Here are some tips to help calm your baby during the witching hour:
- Try different feeding positions: If your baby is bottle-fed, experiment with different feeding positions to help reduce the amount of air they swallow. If you’re breastfeeding, make sure your baby is latching properly and consider switching sides to ensure they’re getting enough milk.
- Use white noise: White noise can help soothe your baby and drown out other sounds that may be overstimulating them. Try playing calming sounds, such as ocean waves or a heartbeat, to help your baby relax.
- Rock or sway your baby: Gentle rocking or swaying can help calm your baby and ease their fussiness. You can try using a rocking chair, a baby swing, or even carrying your baby in a baby carrier while walking around.
- Change your baby’s environment: Sometimes, a change of scenery can help distract your baby and calm them down. Take your baby for a walk outside or move to a different room to help them relax.
- Offer a pacifier as they can be soothing for some babies
The witching hour is a challenging phase that many parents face when caring for their newborns. It’s essential to be patient and calm during the witching hour, as babies can pick up on emotions.
It’s also important to prioritize the baby’s needs during this time, setting aside other tasks and responsibilities and focusing solely on soothing and calming the baby.
You may need to experiment with different strategies until you find the combination that what works best for your baby and family. Additionally, seeking help from friends, relatives, or healthcare professionals can provide much-needed support during this challenging time.