The Witching Hour
The "witching hour" is typically at evening time and is usually when babe becomes a lot more fussy, cluster feeds and cries more.
How can we manage this time?
Establish a pattern of effective feeds and sleep: I believe newborns do better when they have a proper feed, so a meal full feed, then a proper sleep. This not only gives their tummies time to rest and digest but it also means they are getting more emphasis on better sleep which is essential to settled babes. Meaning far less irritability. The more snack feeds our little ones have this can also mean the more wind they take in.
Feeding: Ensure your baby is well-fed and burped before the witching hour hits. Hunger or gas can contribute to fussiness. Cluster feeding can be normal in the early days and you may want to check your little one is getting enough milk in the afternoon early evening. If you are going to use a bottle this may be a great place to start. I also highly recommend using a lactation consultant if you have a really unsettled babe to check latch and feeding.
Comfort: Swaddling, gentle rocking, white noise, skin to skin, baby wearing and a dummy can be really beneficial to your little ones during witching hour and unsettled periods.
Change of Environment: Sometimes a change of scenery can help distract your baby and break the cycle of fussiness. Take your baby for a short walk, sit in a different room, or even step outside for some fresh air.
Overstimulated: Creating a calm and dimly lit environment during the witching hour can really help your little one if they are overstimulated and over tired. Keep things low key.
How is your energy: Babies are sensitive to their parents' emotions. Staying calm and composed can help soothe your baby. If you're feeling stressed, take a moment to breathe or a little space before you step back in.
Witching Hour Team Effort: Reach out to your partner, friends or family. Your little one will be ok if you step back and let someone else help.
Baby Massage: Gentle baby massage can help relax your baby's muscles and promote a sense of calmness.
Self-Care: Taking care of yourself is crucial during this challenging time. Make sure you're getting enough rest (where/if possible), do not over schedule, eating well, and seeking support when needed.
Remember, the witching hour is a phase that many babies go through, and it usually improves as your baby gets older. If you're concerned about your baby's fussiness or if it seems excessive, consider consulting your GP or Paed to rule out any underlying issues.
This article was kindly written by Tara, The Gentle Sleep Specialist, for Snuggle Hunny's community.