It’s that time of the day when your baby begins to scream and cry like a banshee. It’s called the witching hour for good reason — you dread it. Yes, babies are known for crying, and they do this throughout the day, but during the witching hour, they take their crying up a notch. It’s the end of the day and the evening when you’re tired, and your feet hurt. All you want to do is sip on a cup of tea on your couch. But no, your little one chooses this very moment, every single day, to cause a ruckus. What is this behavior in the evenings, and what can you do? Read on to know more about this particular pattern that your baby is displaying.
What Is This Sorcery And What’s Causing It?
The witching hour, unlike what the name suggests, has nothing to do with witches and spells. It’s a window in the evenings when your baby starts to cry — sometimes, ‘wail’ would be a better word. You will notice the onset of this phenomenon when your baby is around two or three weeks old. It reaches its peak when your baby is around six weeks. By the time your baby is three to four months old, you will see that the witching hour is history. The causal factors behind your little one’s evening fussiness are as follows:
1. Your Baby Is Too Tired
The chances are that your baby gets overly tired during the witching hour. Essentially, overtiredness causes one to sleep. However, sleep might not come that easy to your baby, especially since they’ve been doing that since morning. Your baby has had a long, tiring day. All that eating, sleeping, and repeating can tire your baby out, thereby making them highly cranky in the evenings.
2. There’s Too Much Stimulation
From the calm and comfort of your womb to this big, noisy outside world, your baby has come a long way. Throughout the day, your baby is seeing and hearing so many things. All of this can be overwhelming for the little munchkin. By the time it’s dusk, even a little light can be too much external stimulation for your baby.
3. Evenings Get Too Busy
At the end of the day, people are slowly getting back home. For example, if you have other kids, they’ll be back from school or play. If you’re a working mom, you’re back from work as well. Dinner has to be cooked, so there’s a lot of moving around during this time. With so many things happening, your baby might feel a lack of attention. This is enough to set your baby off into a crying spree.
4. The Demand For Cluster Feeding
It is usual for babies to demand a higher supply of milk in the evenings. This is simply because they are preparing themselves for a long night of sleep. It can be frustrating when your baby demands one round of feeding after another, but your little one can’t help it. Many people refrain from feeding their child frequently at this time, thinking that it is not necessary. Don’t do that. This is just your baby’s way of preparing for the night.
5. Possible Discomfort
Babies are prone to digestive problems such as diarrhea, acid reflux, or gas (1). What they’ve had during the day tends to cause issues during the evenings. This can be another potential cause of evening fussiness in babies.
What Can Be Done?
So we know what the witching hour is and what factors are responsible for evening fussiness. Let’s dive into how you can make this time easier for you and your baby.
- Limit Background Noise – Turn off the television or keep your baby away from it. Try to use only warm, dim lights in the evening.
- Watch Your Plate – Change your diet if you think that the food you are eating is causing stomach issues for your little one.
- White Noise Works Wonders – White noise has a wonderful effect on babies. It can calm them since it mimics the noise of the womb.
- Observe Nap Hours – Make sure that your baby is well-rested through the day but not over-rested.
The witching hour lasts only for a brief period at dusk, but it might seem like it goes on forever. Babies are lovely, but there is no denying that taking care of them can be overwhelming. It requires patience. However, the good news is that the witching hour is just a phase. It’s here to stay only for a few months, after which things will get much better. Have you been going through this phase with your baby? Let us know how you’re dealing with it in the comments below!