Bet you’d never even heard of the witching hour before you had a baby?! Nope, we hadn’t either. Who knew?
So, what exactly is it?
The witching hour typically impacts newborns, and it isn’t actually an hour long sadly! It’s more like an evening long! It tends to start at the end of the day, in the late afternoon, when you’re tired and ready for some quiet time – typical eh?
The good news is that it doesn’t last forever. Most babies will be through this rough period around the 3–4-month mark.
What happens in witching hour?
Typically, your baby will be more fussy, and cry more and is usually more difficult to settle or comfort during this time. The length of time they fuss for varies depending on the baby.
Why does it happen?
There are a few reasons it happens including:
Overstimulated baby – there tends to be a lot more activity at the end of the day, especially if siblings are arriving home and you’re busy with dinner and bedtime routines.
Overtiredness – if your baby hasn’t napped well in the day they might be overtired by the evening, which can cause fussiness.
Hunger – newborns like to cluster feed in the evening in preparation for a longer stretch of sleep overnight. Your baby might be wanting to feed constantly during the witching hour.
Discomfort – if you suspect that your baby is in pain speak with your health visitor to rule our colic or reflux.
How to survive it:⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Try to avoid an overtired baby by keeping an eye on their daytime naps. Check out our nap guide for appropriate wake windows and tips to help with naps.
Make the environment as calm as possible. Lower the lights, eliminate background noise and try to stay calm.
Consider using white noise to mimic womb noises- this can help calm your baby.
A change of scenery can help. Some fresh air and a gentle walk can work wonders.
Most importantly just go with the flow. Accept all offers of help. Cut yourself some slack and do what it takes to get through the evening. Remember it won’t last forever.