Let’s talk about the witching hour, which is that intense fussiness during the late afternoon and early part of the evening. What causes the witching hour and what can we do to help minimize it? Is it colic?
It’s often thought that colic is responsible for this fussiness. However, true colic is only experienced by 15-20% of newborn babies. So what does this mean for the other 80% of babies who experience this extreme fussiness?
Here is a list of the top four factors that can be responsible for this fussiness, as well as what you can do about it!
If your baby isn’t sleeping enough during the daytime, this can cause a HUGE bout of crying in the evening. See, as the day goes on and your baby continuously stays awake for too long between naps and only sleeps for very brief periods, he’s often exceptionally overtired by the evening. As a result, all he wants to do is wail non-stop! Tip: Focus on daytime sleep! Good quality daytime sleep is absolutely essential for babies of all ages, but especially with newborn babies. Do what you need to do to ensure that your baby naps frequently during daytime hours.
Want to know how much sleep your baby needs? Download my FREE sleep chart that outlines suggested sleep totals, wake windows, and number of naps! http://mysleepingbaby.com/sign-free-sleep-chart/
This is especially common with babies who live in very busy households. Perhaps you’ve got older children running around your house, or maybe your home is just always busy! Even though your baby might not be participating in these non-stop household activities, she’s definitely taking everything in. By early evening, a baby who’s been overly stimulated all day can experience sensory overload and cry non-stop. Tip: Babywear! Get yourself a good quality baby carrier so that you can put your baby on your chest and have your hands free. Wear your baby close to your chest as it will help relax his little nervous system. For many parents, babywearing is their savior until their little baby outgrows this phase.
This is when younger babies try to eat more frequently during the early hours of the evening in order to “tank up” before giving you a longer stretch of sleep during the first half of the night. Tip: Allow your baby to continue to eat as frequently as she wants before going to sleep.
If you don’t burp your baby well, or if she is sensitive to a food you eat that is passed down through your breast milk, you might not have a happy baby. Tip: Make sure that your burp your baby well after each feed. Otherwise, all these air pockets might accumulate throughout the day until your baby has so much gas that he becomes extremely uncomfortable.
Remember that some of this behaviour is normal and unavoidable! However, applying these tips should make this phase more manageable for you in the long run!