Dealing With The Witching Hour Of Your Baby
The witching hour is as its name suggest, the time during the day when all hell breaks loose. This typically happens when a baby is around three weeks to four months of age. The baby is inconsolable, fussy and crying incessantly for no reason.
Add to that the rush because the dinner has to be cooked, the older toddler cries for attention, as the dog barks to add to the confusion. You are too tired to do a hundred things on your feet and here you have a little child that cries nonstop.
The witching hour can test the patience of even the gentlest parents out there. Why does it happen? How can you cope and soothe baby while maintaining your sanity?
Decoding The Witching Hour Spell
The witching hour might sound like a myth, but this is the reality for most parents. You might be one of those non-so-lucky parents who got their endurance tested during this “twilight hours” ordeal.
Your baby is too fussy and unpredictable, you don’t have any idea what had gotten him. There is much gnashing of baby teeth (or gums) and there is a lot of wailing loud enough to worry the next-door neighbor. Do not worry as this is just a common albeit difficult rite of passage.
What’s comforting is that you don’t have to wait for your little one to turn a year old before this stop. So let us demystify the spell that engulfs this so-called witching hour. The reasons for this behavior can be one or a combination of these factors:
1. Baby needs to tank up on milk/cluster feed for the night
Your baby craves for your undivided attention as you make dinner because he needs to cluster feed for the night. It is common for babies to nurse a lot before and during their parents’ dinner time.
The reason behind this is because their bodies are preparing them to sleep longer, hence they need to store lots of breast milk for their long slumber. Do not worry as breastfed babies rarely overfed, even if he is latched for hours at a time. It can just get too tiring as you might need to cook dinner while nursing.
2. Gas or colic is to blame
Most parents attribute this cranky behavior to gas or colic. This might be true but not always. The time when babies usually cry due to colic also coincides with the witching hour, hence the reason why colic is always to blame.
There are a lot of factors that contributes to a baby’s formation of gas or colic. If this is the case, you must relieve baby from this sickly feeling by using some techniques such as burping, movement or tummy massage.
3. Overtiredness or overstimulation
A baby might just sleep due to tiredness or he can wail and cry ceaselessly due to this exhaustion. This reaction differs every day; so you have to make sure that he gets his sleep throughout the day.
Fussiness can also be due to over-stimulation, particularly if the house is too noisy. Tone down that background TV and give your baby some silence to prevent this from happening.
There are a lot of things that you can do to prevent or minimize this fussy behavior of your little one. You can never predict when he can flare up and cry, but you can abate this by recognizing the signs. You’ve got to work out the reason behind his cries.
This can get too tiring as parents are usually exhausted from work during this time. It’s not your fault, but you got to do something about it. Do not take it all on your own! Take care of your needs first and find somebody to help you with calming the baby.
Patience and preparation are the key. Sit down, loosen up a bit and eat something. Afterward, hold your baby, feed him if you must and let him feel your warmth. Just like with every phase of parenthood, this too shall pass.