Baby witching hour is one of those terms you hear thrown around when you have a baby. Before you experience it, you might have pictured a scene from a scary movie in your head. Well, you’re not far off. When the clock strikes and the fussiness begins, you may be feeling like you’re living in a horror film. But hey, you are not alone, and we are about to fill you in on everything you need to know when your baby gets a case of the witching hour.
WHAT IS BABY WITCHING HOUR?
Baby Witching Hour isn’t exactly a medical term. The origin of the witching hour refers to when the witch’s powers are the strongest. When it comes to the baby witching hour, the term refers to the time of day when your baby is the fussiest.
So, what time is the witching hour? Well, that varies from baby to baby depending on their schedule. This fussy period can last for a few minutes up to a few hours and usually occurs around the same hour each night for weeks at a time. A scary time for everyone!
WHAT CAUSES BABY WITCHING HOUR?
There is no conclusive answer to what causes these fussy periods. It’s one of those unsolved mysteries you might just have to roll with as you start to understand your unique baby’s needs.
- Your baby may be overtired from not getting enough hours of sleep earlier in the day and this stretch until bedtime is hard on you both.
- Your baby may be overstimulated from all the commotion in the house during this time of day. In the early evening when people in the house are getting home from work or siblings getting home from school or activities, dinner needs to be made, and the baby may not be getting as much attention.
WHAT CAN YOU DO TO HELP CONSOLE YOUR BABY?
Now that you are prepared for what it is and when it may happen, you probably want to know how to help your baby through this. There are a few techniques that you can try to help calm your baby!
Swaddle your baby
Babies love the comfort and safe feeling of being wrapped in a swaddle blanket.
Baby’s feed for comfort too and letting them cluster feed for a little longer is fine. Be careful not to overfeed your baby which can cause more discomfort.
Introduce a pacifier
Babies love sucking to help them self-soothe. If your baby will take a pacifier, take advantage of it during this time.
Get the gas and bubbles out
Massage their tummy in a clockwise direction and gently bicycle their legs. This can help to relieve tummy pain and make it easier for wind to be passed.
Cuddle with your baby
Hold them or safely wear them in a carrier. It’s also a good way to get some burps out of the baby and, between your warmth and some up-and-down movement in a carrier, it can help soothe them.
Get outside and take them for a walk
A little fresh air and a change of environment might just do the trick.
Turn down the lights and noise
If your baby is overstimulated, it can be hard for them to regulate their nervous system. If you typically have a lot going on at this time of day, try slowing down and minimizing the commotion to help them calm and relax.
Check for digestive issues or food sensitivities
Some babies can be extra sensitive to certain foods like dairy or gassy vegetables while their digestive tract is still developing. If they seem to have gas pains or discomfort during this time, you might want to look into eliminating certain foods to help them.
WHEN DOES BABY WITCHING HOUR END?
As with most of these undesired stages of development, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Most baby experts say your baby should outgrow these miserable moments by about 4 months old. For more information and resources, we recommend checking out Taking Cara Babies.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Why do babies have a witching hour?
There is no conclusive answer to what causes these fussy periods. It’s one of those unsolved mysteries you might just have to roll with as you start to understand your unique baby’s needs. They may be overtired or overstimulated.
How do I stop my baby’s witching hour?
You can’t really stop it but your baby will likely outgrow doing this by about 4 months old. To soothe them, there are a few things you can try like swaddling them, heading outside for a walk, or turning the noise and lights down low to avoid overstimulation.
Why is my baby crying every night at the same time?
If your baby is crying at the same time every night, it may be what many parents refer to as the witching hour. This fussy period can last for a few minutes up to a few hours and usually occurs around the same hour each night for weeks at a time.
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