There are some parts of the newborn phase that are just plain challenging. The witching hour is one of them. While it is hard, the attitude you have towards it can really impact the level of difficulty that you’re faced with. It is okay to admit it is hard and unpleasant, but it is also important to recognize how to approach it.
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Know That It Is Temporary
This is such an important fact to keep in mind. Parenting is made up of seasons. The witching hour is one of those seasons, and despite how challenging it is, in the scheme of things it is very short-lived. Most babies grow out of the witching hour by 16 weeks. While you’re in the trenches take the time to remember that you will get your evenings back again and your little baby won’t be fussy forever. I promise. See –> THIS POST for 3 other newborn things that won’t last forever.
Don’t Worry About Bad Habits
There is a time to be concerned about forming bad habits or sleep crutches, but the witching hour is not it. Keeping your newborn from getting overstimulated and overtired is your number one concern. (See –> THIS POST for the newborn sleep hierarchy.) Actually, getting everyone through that fussy time with sanity intact is the ultimate goal. Holding, rocking, and cuddling your baby is absolutely fine and what is often required during that unsettled time of the day.
Share The Load
If you have help, use it. Ask your significant other to hold the baby so you can prepare/eat dinner. If you have older children, ask them to entertain the baby if you need to get something done. Share the load whenever you can.
Plan Your Day For It
My firstborn had a witching hour that started like clockwork. From 4pm – 7pm he would not sleep unless held. The problem was that that was when dinner needed to be prepared. So, I started using the slow cooker a lot more. It meant we could have a nice wholesome dinner but I was also available to hold my son when he needed me.
Tools For Surviving
If you’re like most parents, you’ll try just about every tool in the book to help settle your baby during the witching hour. Having a baby carrier of some sort is vital. White noise, a tight swaddle, a bouncer, or a swing are also some highly valuable tools. Figure out what works for your little one and go with it.
Before you know it, the witching hour will be a thing of the past and you’ll be thankful for it. It is the one part of the newborn stage that I do not miss at all. However, knowing what I do now, I would have stressed far less over it.
Until next time!