So, when we talk about a baby’s witching hour, we do not necessarily mean that your baby engages in witchcraft. No, they are not getting an invite from Hogwarts either. In fact, the meaning of witching hour stands to be something completely different from its literal sense.  

Let us give you some hints and see if you can catch onto them. Think about it: does your baby tend to get too fussy every evening around the same time? While an occasional occurrence of it is still acceptable, an everyday habit may become less bearable. For new parents especially, this becomes even more frustrating as they lack the idea of what is actually going on.  

Are you stuck on the same path too? Let us help you out then. Your baby is probably going through its witching hour, and yes, sometimes it becomes the most unbearable thing in the world. When your baby first arrived, they may have slept for hours at a stretch, which is normal for newborns to do. But, this period of calm only goes on for a few days. Just a few weeks later, your baby starts to scream for hours at a stretch. This fussy period is what we call the baby’s witching hour, even when it can sometimes stretch for up to 3 hours.  

If you want to know more about your baby’s witching hour, you are just here at the right place. In this article, we will unveil all the reasons why your baby might be experiencing such a fussy phase and what you can do to help them with it.  

What Is The Baby’s Witching Hour?  

What Is The Baby’s Witching Hour

A baby’s witching hour usually starts by the second or the third week of their life and usually happens during the evening. This period oddly starts from 5 PM and can stretch till 11 PM, just when you thought the day was ending and your baby would finally relax and get some sleep. But parenthood is not that easy, is it? While you may have planned to relax, your baby had other plans. They would just start to get fussier than ever and, in time, may become full-throated wailing.  

Crying is obviously the most common thing for babies, given it is the only way they know how to communicate. But, many newborn babies get particularly fussy during their witching hour, with immense crying that continues from six to eight weeks. Witching hour is sometimes also confused with colic, as babies that have colic usually cry in the very same way for two to three hours straight.  

While your baby’s witching hour may get pretty frustrating for you, you need to realize that it is developmentally normal for them to cry at this age.  

What Are The Causes Behind Your Baby’s Witching Hour?  

What Are The Causes Behind Your Baby’s Witching Hour

So, now you know that witching hour is not actually a myth, and your baby might go through it too; it is only better that you know what are the actual reasons behind it. While there are multiple theories that explain the occurrence of witching hour in babies, the most definitive ones are listed below:  

The Hustle And Bustle  

While you may not be able to realize it, the tempo in your house suddenly starts to pick up later during the day. From parents coming back from work to other kids to coming back from school and so on – a lot goes on during this time. This may cause a certain degree of overstimulation in babies. The crying could mean that your baby needs some more peace and a quiet environment.  

Too Tired  

Starting from their birth to reaching the 12-month mark, babies tend to get too tired – overtired, in fact, in some cases. In case of overtiredness, adrenaline and cortisol get released in the bloodstream. When this happens, it becomes especially difficult for you to soothe your little one with all the wake hormones floating around in their bodies.  

This is the same in the case of adults, too. It becomes particularly difficult for us to sleep when we are overtired.  

Lower Supply Of Milk  

As is the case with most moms, their milk supply tends to become less plentiful towards the end of the day. Possibly, this may happen with a drop in the prolactin levels in their body by the end of the day. Lower prolactin levels imply a slower milk flow. And that certainly is frustrating for a baby who needs food.  

Growth Spurts  

During the first year of their lives, your baby tends to go through multiple growth spurts. Usually, these will appear around two to three weeks, six weeks, three months, and six months old. While these milestones are worth every celebration, know that your baby will be fussier, and it will become more difficult for you to deal with them.  

Remember, an hour is not necessarily an integral part of a baby’s growth. In fact, not all parents even have to go through the trouble of dealing with a child during the witching hours. While some babies become too fussy during this time, others just pass through it seamlessly. So, if you are preparing for the arrival of your little one, all you can do is pray that their witching hour goes as seamlessly as possible.  

When Will Your Baby’s Witching Hour End?  

When Will Your Baby’s Witching Hour End

So, coming to the most important question of the hour – do babies even grow out of their witching hour phase? Well, yes, they do. However, there is not a specific age when babies stop being fussy at night. In fact, experts believe that there is a range of when it might happen. 

As per medical professionals, a baby’s witching hour may gradually start to improve when they reach three or four months of age. In fact, once they reach the age of two or four months, it becomes easier for parents to prevent their child from getting over-tired. This will, in turn, help them deal with their baby’s witching hour, as overtiredness is one of the most common reasons behind your baby’s witching hour.  

The best you can do is sleep training. However, that will only work when they have a proper recognition of their own sleeping patterns. Too small babies do not understand sleep patterns; hence, sleep training is not very effective for them.  

How Do You Help Your Baby’s Sleeping Hour? 

How Do You Help Your Baby’s Sleeping Hour

If you are also struggling with your baby’s witching hour, there are a few hacks that can help you soothe your baby and get over their witching hour. However, it is to be kept in mind that every baby is different, and so are their needs, so there is no guarantee that these will effectively work.  

However, these are the most definitive techniques and may work out better than others.  

Cluster Feed  

If you have been breastfeeding your baby, you are most probably nursing them for an average of about two to four hours every day. If you have chosen to give them the formula, you probably have started to give them one to two ounces of formula every two to three hours and increased it if your little one still looked hungry.  

However, these numbers fail when it comes to the witching hour. During these hours, your baby might need a cluster feed – a feed every thirty minutes or more. And that is fine. They are possibly going through a growth spurt and looking for some extra comfort or are just filling their belly up for a longer sleep at night. And what is better than your little one sleeping for long hours at night, right?  

Pop In A Pacifier  

You may have noticed that babies love sucking. Anything you give them, they just put it in their mouth with the intention of sucking on it. In such a case, you may try giving them a pacifier instead of giving them a bottle. While cluster feeding is indeed a great solution for a baby’s witching hour, feeding them too much might just overload their digestive system. Instead, giving them a pacifier comes as a second-hand advantage.  

Check Them For Burps 

If your baby has gas stored in their belly, it might just make them fussy. So, make sure that you burp your baby enough to let go of all the gas in their belly. You may do so by gently patting them on the back by holding them over your shoulder or placing them on your lap. Also, keep a handy cloth in case your baby ends up spitting. Also, if your baby falls asleep while feeding, there is no need to wake them up for a burp. If they fall asleep, it means they are sleeping comfortably – the ultimate goal at the end of the day, literally!  

Think About Your Own Stress Levels 

You surely may have noticed how a fussy baby suddenly calms down when someone holds them. Yes, babies can easily read the emotions of their caregivers. If you are not in the right headspace, your baby is going to be fretful, too. If you are calm enough, your baby, too, will be relaxed. So, before you make any physical contact with your baby, make sure that you are relaxed enough for it. Some meditation might just go a long way.  

The ultimate mantra during your baby’s witching hour is to make yourself believe that you indeed are the best parent and you can do it.  

Go Outside  

If it is at all possible, try to go outside for a while. Maybe take a short trip to the nearest park or just walk around the block for a while. Being outside gives you a little time to think less about everything that is going on back home.  

Move Around 

Small babies are more used to movements. You may have noticed how babies tend to get particularly fussy when lying down. So, if you find them becoming too fussy during the waking hour, just move them around in a soothing motion to calm them down. If your arms start to ache because of it, you may also use a baby carrier.  

Try Out Skin-To-Skin  

Having close contact with the baby just works like a charm. Your baby will possibly relax when they feel the warmth of your skin against theirs. And, as you snuggle up and take in the baby scent, you will probably relax, too.  

Change The Caregiver  

As a parent, you should never feel shy about helping. If you are getting frustrated every night trying to get your baby to sleep or just need a little break, you may easily ask your partner or a family member to help you out. Who knows, they may have been waiting for you to ask.  

When Is The Right Time To See A Doctor About Your Baby’s Witching Hour?  

When Is The Right Time To See A Doctor About Your Baby’s Witching Hour

While a baby’s witching hour is absolutely normal, things might become a bit more concerning if it becomes more than normal tears. You should consult with your pediatrician if the baby’s crying seems something more than normal and lasts for over three hours. Never forget to call if the crying is accompanied by other symptoms like vomiting, fever, diarrhea, or loss of appetite. If they seem particularly uncomfortable, it might be a sign of reflux.  

The Bottom Line  

In most cases, a baby’s witching hour is just as normal as it can be. There is nothing that you need to worry about. Your baby goes through multiple developmental phases, and the witching hour is just the result of it.  

If your baby goes through it, there are a number of ways to try out that may soothe them down. However, you need to remember that every baby is different. Hence, what works best for one baby might not be as effective in your case.  

But the secret here is to keep trying. And remember, your baby’s witching hour has nothing to do with you as a parent. In no way should you doubt your capabilities as a parent or hold yourself responsible for it. Remember, you are a great parent, and you are doing exceptionally well. Things with parenthood may go beyond your understanding at times, and that is absolutely okay.

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