The witching hour baby is what it’s also called colic or arsenic hour. It’s the time between 4 p.m to around 10 p.m when a baby gets fussy and cries all the time. It happens when your little one is around 3 weeks old and the worst period is when they are 6 weeks old.
But after they’re 3 months old, it all stops. Even if parents often think that something is wrong with their baby, in most cases, it’s just this period of time that affects them. If your baby didn’t have enough naps throughout the day, chances are higher that your baby will be nervous. An overtired baby will cry because that’s the only way they know to show you that they need more sleep.
That’s why early evenings can be a real nightmare for all parents, especially moms because they’re always with their babies. When your baby is crying during the witching hour, there is no way you can calm them down. The only thing you can do is to make a normal sleep schedule for your little one to avoid evening fussiness. I know it’s really hard for new moms to overcome this period, but here are some useful tips you can use to make it easier for you and your baby.
1. Overstimulation is your baby’s enemy
If your baby is overstimulated, they will cry. Just imagine your little one having only one nap a day and having so many activities. Of course, they’ll start being fussy after some time. And no, food won’t solve the problem. It is proven that babies won’t be eat so well because they’re overtired.
That’s why you need to listen to their needs and make a good sleep schedule for them. For example, many moms revealed that morning naps are the most important ones. After your baby wakes up you need to feed them. But be careful about your milk supply because your baby will be hungry if there isn’t enough of your milk. They can nurse for the same amount of time, but if there is nothing to eat, they’ll cry. But in case you have enough milk supply, you can breastfeed your baby and then keep them active for a while.
That time will be fun for both of you because your little one will be in a good mood. But after 2 hours, it’s time to put your baby to take a nap. That nap is the most important one. and whatever you do, don’t skip it. Overstimulation is not a big deal if you know how to handle it.
2. Try to cluster feed
Cluster feeding is what you can try if your baby becomes fussy in the late afternoon. For those who don’t know what it is, I’ll be glad to share the definition with you. Cluster feeding is when your baby asks to breastfeed very often at short notice.
So, you can breastfeed for 15 minutes and expect your baby to be hungry again in half an hour. This happens when your baby goes through certain changes, and it’s normal that they behave the way they do. If you cluster feed your baby, chances are higher that they’ll be more satisfied. They can sleep for longer periods of time, and you’ll be able to get some rest during that time.
Also, you can use that time to clean or cook or do whatever you need while nobody disturbs you. This advice is particularly important for new moms because they’re already traumatized by all those new things that have changed in their lives. I’m sure that once you start with this method, many things will change in your life.
3. Don’t let your baby experience overtiredness
An overtired baby needs to express their mood in some way. The only way they communicate is crying. Colic hour happens when your baby cries for more than 3 hours and when you can’t do anything to calm them down. New parents get freaked out when something like this happens, and it stresses them out.
They think something is wrong with the child, and they often hurry to the hospital. Some of them are a bit more patient, so they use pacifiers or try to use a stroller to calm down the baby. I don’t even need to mention that nothing helps. A crying baby only needs a normal feeding and sleep routine, and they won’t get fussy. In order to avoid problems like these both for you and your baby, just make sure that you organize things well and that you educate yourself enough.
4. Swaddle your baby
One of the things you can do during the witching hour is to swaddle your baby. You can let them lean their head on your heart because that is the rhythm they used to listen to for the past 9 months. That’s always a good way to calm down their fussiness. You need to listen and to feel what your baby needs. That is the only way you can help your colicky baby.
After you hold them in your arms for a while, you’ll feel they’re calming down. Most babies will probably fall asleep in your arms because it’s warm and cozy. They feel your smell, and they feel they’re safe. That way, both of you will overcome the witching hour much easier.
5. Breastfeed your baby more often
Making a deeper bond with your baby is what every new mom should try. The most natural way you can do it is through breastfeeding. When you breastfeed, your baby’s nervous system develops better, and the baby is more satisfied. The only thing you need to pay attention to is that you have enough milk supply. You can breastfeed your baby at any time of day or when your baby asks for it.
When you do it, your child will be in a better mood because they get enough vitamins and minerals through your milk. That is one more tip to prevent having a fussy baby at the end of the day. Also, every pediatrician will tell you to make this kind of bond with your little one. Just make sure that you take the baby in your arms after feeding them, so they can burp. Remember, burping is as important as feeding because you don’t want your baby to get cramps.
6. Bathing can help
When the witching hour strikes again, you can try one more trick that moms swear to. You can take a bath with your baby because it’s known that babies like water. After all, they have spent the first 9 months of their life ‘swimming’.
If everything is okay with them, the water will usually calm them down. Actually, bathing your baby is the best way to comfort them in every situation and to calm them down when they’re fussy. If you haven’t tried this method before, you can try it because you have nothing to lose.
7. Have a normal sleeping routine
A normal sleeping routine is something your baby needs more than you think. When you have a baby, you need to realize that you need to put your old life on hold for a while. That means that you can’t go around with a baby when they need to get some sleep. You can’t go to the mall or have drinks with your friends at the time of the day when your baby needs some sleep.
I know many moms who think that taking babies all over is good for them because they’ll get tired and sleep better. But that is the biggest myth that exists. A baby needs a normal sleeping and feeding routine, so they can function well. So, if you’re experiencing troubles with a colicky baby, you can try this method and see if it works well for you. But in 99% of cases, it’ll work.
8. Involve your partner in the process
When you’re experiencing this kind of sweet trouble, you need to ask for some help from your partner. You can’t handle the whole situation alone, and to be honest, you shouldn’t. Even if you want to take care of your baby the whole time, you won’t be able to do it for a long time. You’ll get exhausted after some time, and you’ll need someone’s help.
That’s why you need to involve your partner in the whole process. Maybe he’ll be afraid to do anything regarding the baby, but he’ll soon be okay with all. He’ll even be ready to stay with the baby for some time while you go out to take care of something. Asking for help doesn’t mean you’re weak or that you can’t be a good mom. It just means that you’re a human being who needs some rest. Remember, you need to be good to yourself so you can be good for your baby.
9. Comfort your baby
Another great thing that can help you when the witching hour strikes is holding your baby close and comforting them. In some cases, this will help, but in some severe cases, it won’t. Yet, when you don’t know what to do anymore, you can try this. If your baby is tired, they’ll fall asleep soon. If you keep holding your baby close, they’ll hear the beat of your heart and that’ll calm them down.
Babies like familiar things, and your heartbeat is what they’ve been listening to for the past 9 months. I know this phase is hard to handle, but you need to be there for your baby and comfort them because you’re the only person who can do that. Just remember that it gets better over time and that fussy period finishes sooner or later.
10. Use white noise when your baby is sleeping
Raising kids is much easier nowadays than it was 20 years ago. There’re so many hacks and improved technology that can help you with everyday problems. One of them is the so-called white noise that masks other sounds that could wake up the baby. Also, this is a great thing if you have other kids who are older and don’t nap anymore.
With this device, you can put your baby to sleep and use the white noise while your other kids can play normally. They’ll probably make some sounds but because of the white noise, your little one won’t hear it. That’ll give them enough time to get some good rest and wake up satisfied. And that’s what actually matters, right?
11. Take a walk with your baby
Another great tip that I got is to go out with my baby every day. That way I would feel better and my baby would get some fresh air. We’d both have some great time outside. It meant a lot to me to actually feel like a normal person (because you don’t feel so normal after you need to get up every hour to calm down your baby).
The most important thing when you’re leaving the house is to prepare your baby. That means that your little one needs to eat well, you need to change their diapers, and dress them warmly if it’s cold outside. Make sure that you come back home before your baby starts being whiny because it’ll be pretty hard to comfort them later.
Also, always have a pacifier with you to calm them if they cry. You can use a stroller if you need to walk for a lot. It’ll be much easier just to push them than to carry them in your arms. I’m sure your baby will be satisfied and happy and that spending time outside will be your new hobby.
12. Baby’s witching hour is not the end of the world
The witching hour your baby goes through is completely normal, and you shouldn’t worry about it. It’s hard to handle, but it passes after some time. All you need to do is sleep when your baby sleeps, so you’d have some energy for the rest of your work. Another thing that I’d like to mention is that you shouldn’t blame yourself because your baby has colic. All kids go through it, and there’s nothing to worry about.
You can only be patient and ask for some help because it’s not easy to go through it all alone. In fact, everything about babies is hard and only moms can understand how hard some things can be. That’s why moms are true heroes and fathers who help them deserve all the luck in the world. Things like these pass quickly and the only thing you should be happy about is that you have someone to take care of. That’s a real blessing, you know.
13. Listen to the pediatrician
When you have a colicky baby, you start to lose your mind in one moment. But when you feel that you can’t help your baby anymore, just ask for advice from a pediatrician. He’ll know what to do and how to help you and your baby during the baby’s witching hour. Maybe he has some good methods that can help both of you.
Those methods might make the whole process less painful for you and your child. Also, whenever you feel like you don’t know what to do and how to act in a certain situation, your pediatrician is always there to help you. If you’re a new mom and you don’t feel good staying alone with your child, you can always ask someone to be with you at least until your husband comes home from work. The most important thing that you need to do is to listen to your gut and act accordingly. Please bear in mind that a mother’s instinct is never wrong.
14. Remain calm
One of the most exhausting things during the witching hour baby is thinking that you’re not doing something right. But that is simply not true. I’m sure you’re doing your best to be the best mom ever, but sometimes you just don’t have any energy left. When you’re so exhausted, the easiest thing you can do is to fall apart.
But that is not what you need even if it looks like the logical thing. When you feel like you can’t do it anymore, just push as hard as you can. That is the moment when you grow and when you become the best version of yourself, the strongest one.
Even if nothing is right, just remain calm because that’s the best you can do at that moment. I’m sure your baby won’t be happy if they feel that you’re not well—and kids can feel emotions at a very early age. If you wish to start crying, do it when you stay alone. But all other emotions are something that you need to save for yourself only.
Don’t let your baby see you like that. Try to be in a good mood when being with your child. Think how blessed you’re to hold something so precious in your arms. When they fall asleep, take some time for yourself only just to feel alive. Only one hour a day is known to have an amazing effect on new moms. So, try it—there is nothing you can lose.
15. Try some music
Music is something that makes most of us relaxed. So, why it wouldn’t affect newborns that way as well?
You can play different music to your baby when they’re in a good mood and see which one they like. Then, when you feel the baby witching hour strike again, you can try the one which was their favorite. That can calm them down and can help them fall asleep if the music is slow and sounds like a lullaby.
If this works, then you don’t have to worry about your baby’s moodiness. Many moms told me that this worked well with their babies and that it was literally a lifesaver. But babies are just like adults when something is not right, and music is there to calm them down. Now, you only have one task, and it is the hardest one though.
You need to find out what kind of music your baby loves the most. Is it the one daddy likes to listen to in his free time or maybe the one mommy likes the most. I’m sure this will be an amazing task, right?
16. Be careful about what you eat if you breastfeed
If your baby constantly cries and you can’t calm them down, be careful about what you eat if you breastfeed. Maybe you’re causing them problems unconsciously. You need to avoid food that causes gas and fussiness no matter how much you like it. Your baby is probably having problems with their tummy, but since they can’t speak yet, they just cry.
Try to eat some light food to prevent causing problems to your child while breastfeeding. If you see that it helps, you’ll know the problem was the food all the time. With just a little bit of effort, both you and your baby can be satisfied. Many moms don’t know this, and they bring their kids to the pediatrician as soon as something like this happens. But before you ask for some help, make sure that you are not the reason why your baby cries.
In the end, I just want to say that new moms don’t know it all, and that they need a lot of time to get to know their babies. That’s pretty normal and you should never blame yourself for not knowing something.
Trust me, there isn’t any other person in the whole universe that can calm down your baby. You, as a mom have so much power, and you’re not even aware of that. Just try to listen to your child’s needs, and both of you’ll be fine. Raising kids is definitely the most challenging job that you’ll ever have, and for now, you’re doing it just fine mom!