While we prepare ourselves for motherhood, nothing can really prepare us for what is coming. The witching hour baby phase was definitely one of the things I wasn’t ready for. No one is.
We all read, but nothing is like the real deal. Some mums are lucky and get kids that literally sleep like a baby. I didn’t have that luck…. TWICE.
What is the Witching Hour Baby?
The witching hour baby is a phase when babies reach about 6 weeks, and some of them start to cry… A LOT…
- The term “witching hour” is often used to refer to a period of time in the evening, usually between 6 pm and midnight, when babies may become fussy and difficult to soothe. (For us it was from 9 pm till 5 am)
- During this time, babies may cry more frequently and have trouble falling asleep. It is not related to any kind of witchcraft or supernatural activity.
- The exact reason why babies experience the witching hour is not fully understood, but it is thought to be related to a combination of factors such as overstimulation, fatigue, hunger, and gastrointestinal discomfort.
- If you have a baby who experiences the witching hour, I have some genius strategies that will definitely help you!
There is a great article on the topic from Desiree Baird on pediatricsleepcoach.com. You can read it HERE.
Want to save this article for later?
My Experience with the Witching Hour
My girls would start in the evening around 9 pm, and sometimes till 5 am. Nothing could soothe them. My friends and family’s reaction was: Oh, I’m sure it’s colic…
Trust me, these were not colic! My baby didn’t curl up in pain from belly issues. It was nervous crying with stretched hands and feet, screaming her throughout. It just seemed endless.
- The worst part lasted for about two months.
- Then it slowly subsided… I mean really slow.
I even took advice from our pediatrician and gave my older daughter drops for colic. He was absolutely sure that was the right diagnosis… but after 2 days she started to get real colic pain with cramps …. So I stopped colic therapy.
And decided I needed to find a solution for my witching hour baby phase ASAP! So after two babies and a lot of experience on the subject, I really think this advice will save you a lot of sleepless nights and to manage and stay sane.
**Disclosure: This page contains affiliate links. If you choose to purchase after clicking a link, I may receive a commission at no extra cost to you.
My Tips for Witching Hour Baby
Babywearing is my no.1 hack for a witching hour baby. My older daughter found comfort and calmness whenever I placed her in a baby wrap. It always worked like magic. She would fall asleep the moment I placed her in her wrap.
Babywearing has numerous benefits for both parents and the child, and I must say I enjoyed this experience! It was priceless.
I will not go through those benefits right now as it is not our topic. The most important thing is that it really worked with our witching hour phase!
I will only tell you that the best baby carrier for the newborn is Boba Wrap and after 3 months Ergobaby is a definite winner.
#2 Pilates Ball
Bouncing on a Pilates ball really does wonders to soothe a crying, witching hour baby! I have read that the movement reminds babies of the time in the womb while mommy is walking and moving around.
- The moment I would start bouncing she would stop crying. Unbelievable!
- First I had to bounce higher, and as she calmed down I would slow down
- Dads can also help with this method. My partner used to bounce by the bed and when she was totally asleep I would prepare myself in the bed in a nursing position and she would just start nursing and sometimes just continue to sleep. We did this as many times as needed until she would sleep.
I can still see myself on the pilates ball at 2 a.m., bouncing and crying from the pain in my hands and shoulders….. the wonders of motherhood, right?!
But this too shall pass…. Trust me…
#3 White Noise on YouTube – I Have Discovered the Best!
My secondborn didn’t like to be carried. She was a totally different baby. The bouncing did help, but I needed some fresh ideas.
I knew about the white noise to sleep. I even broke one blow-drier with my firstborn. She wouldn’t sleep without my breast in her mouth until 10 months old. The blow-drier kept her sleeping for some 10 minutes while lying alone, or kept her calm while changing….
With my second daughter, I discovered the magical WOMB SOUND on YouTube. There are lots of those sounds, but one was the best! Even now when she’s almost 2 years it helps sometimes when she cries at night. I don’t know who this guy is but he has got almost 10 million views…. and I hope he gets rich out of it 🙂
– Here is the BEST SOUND to soothe your witching hour baby, trust me!
- Imagine a baby screaming like someone is poking her and you put the sound and all of a sudden she peacefully closes her eyes and sleeps. The video lasts for 10 hours, but we never used it that much, LOL.
- Oh, how many nights have we slept with this white noise on YouTube? First I would put it loud, and little by little I lowered the volume.
And when your baby finally falls asleep listen to Sleep-O-Phants Meditation for parents. It`s a 10-minute video to relax and take some time for yourself.
One Useful Tip
For ones that are online addicts like me… While you are on YouTube, you cannot go online or on social networks…. I spent months reading comments on that YouTube site ha-ha.
But then I discovered that on most mobiles you can put the screen in half. One half is YouTube, and the other is whatever you want! Maybe you will laugh at me and know about this already, but if you are like me…it will be a lifesaver!
RELATED ARTICLE: What kind of shoes do babies need
More Useful Methods to Soothe a Crying Baby:
- Swaddling the baby in a blanket provides a sense of security and comfort
- Sing or hum: Sing or hum a lullaby or any soft and calming song to the baby. Making a shhhhh sound worked many times for us!
- Classical music can be a great way to soothe a crying baby. Choose symphonies that have calming and soothing qualities.
- Pacifier: Offer the baby a pacifier to suck on, as this can be a soothing action.
- Gentle baby massage: Rub the baby’s back or stroke their head softly to relieve tension.
- Take a walk: Take the baby for a walk in a stroller or baby carrier to change the environment and distract them.
- Ask for help: You are still a great mom even if you ask someone else to hold the baby if you are getting stressed or frustrated. Remember that it is okay to need a break and ask for help!.
What Causes Witching Hour in Babies at Night?
Here are the most common causes of the witching hour:
- One of the main contributors to this is an overtired baby who has been overstimulated throughout the day. When a newborn experiences too much stimulation, it can lead to fussiness and general crankiness.
- When combined with cluster feeding, which is common in the evening, the witching hour can get even worse.
- A baby may also have reflux, which can make the fussiness and overstimulation even more intense.
So, if you’re dealing with a fussy and overstimulated baby during the witching hour, it’s important to try and stay calm and provide some type of soothing stimulation. Hope my tips will help you as they did many of my friends
- In my experience, the witching hour was the worst after we had some visitors who overstimulated my daughter. Every visit I knew we were not going to sleep!
- Remember, the witching hour may be tough, but it won’t last forever!
Colic Vs Witching Hour Baby
- Colic is when a baby cries a lot and seems to be in a lot of pain. This can happen any time of day or night.
- But the witching hour is when a baby just gets super fussy and unhappy in the evening. It usually lasts for a few weeks in a row and can seem like it will never end.
- The difference is that babies with colic are in actual pain, while the witching hour is just a phase of fussiness.
- It’s important to talk to your pediatrician if you suspect your baby has colic, as there might be specific things you can do to help soothe them. But if it’s just witching hour, hang in there! It’ll pass eventually, even if it feels like it will never end.
- To me the difference was quite obvious, you can tell when the baby has belly pain vs nervous crying
RELATED ARTICLE: Non-toy gift ideas for Kids
When Will Witching Hour End?
Many parents desperately want to know when the witching hour will end. Most babies outgrow this fussy evening phase by 12-16 weeks old. Keep trying soothing techniques like swaddling, rocking, white noise, and pacifiers to help your baby. Having realistic expectations helps reduce parental stress.
So, hang in there, and in the meantime, try my soothing techniques that will surely help!
What If Baby Won’t Stop Crying?
It’s very stressful when your baby cries nonstop during the witching hour. First, check their basic needs – are they hungry or need a diaper change? Try our top soothing techniques like babywearing, bouncing on an exercise ball, or playing white noise. If crying persists over 3 hours or seems painful, contact your pediatrician. They can help rule out issues like colic or reflux.
When Should I Worry?
It’s normal for babies to have fussy evenings, but contact your pediatrician if crying lasts over 3 hours consistently or if nothing seems to comfort your baby. Crying that sounds painful or happens after feedings may indicate colic or reflux. Understanding your baby’s cues and sleep cycles with a baby monitor can provide insight. While the witching hour is tough, it’s rarely a medical concern. Still, always reach out to your pediatrician with any worries.
Are Fussy Babies Smarter?
I read somewhere that babies who cry a lot are smarter, intelligent. If that’s the truth, my girls are about to be geniuses! Anyway, maybe it will give you some comfort during this phase.
I always asked myself this question. My friends’ babies sleep – eat – poo – sleep… I was so jealous.
Now, I believe that my babies are different, curious, and always in need of some stimulation…. And one day they will achieve a greater good… That’s how I see it. I always try to find the bright side of everything!
If you are reading this, write a comment on how you coped with it, or how did my advice work for you. Let’s share knowledge…because…
WE ARE STRONGER THAN WE ALL THINK!