What is THE WITCHING HOUR for Babies? — Sleep and the City



The good news?  They have automatic wine bottle openers these days.  Better news? The Witching Hour doesn’t last forever, usually ending around the 4 month mark.  The bad news?  When an Infant is increasingly fussy in the late afternoon/evening, they aren’t able to settle easily, causing short or missed naps.  These “disaster” naps turn normally calm babies into overtired, overstimulated babies, and with the added stress hormone from lack of age-appropriate sleep, you’ve got a full meltdown-mode newborn on your hands.  

  • Baby is overtired: Depending on the child’s age, baby needs anywhere from 4-7 hours per day of napping under 4 months old. If the nap needs aren’t met for the day by the early afternoon, or the wake window is too large, your little bundle of joy will take a turn for the worse.

  • Baby is overstimulated: Gone are the days when baby was a month old and could physically shut down or “habituate” to block out overstimulation when family visits or during a birthday party at a loud restaurant. When babies are no longer able to habituate, baby becomes overstimulated very easily.

  • Baby has tummy/gas/digestion issues: Dietary and medical issues such as reflux, silent reflux & GERD, especially when undiagnosed, can make baby wail for hours in the evening. Gas bubbles can also cause major discomfort, causing the child to writher & squirm (and cry), so make sure baby is burped after every feeding, and you pay attention to your own diet when breastfeeding to see if there is anything that triggers increased lengths of crying.

  • Baby wants/needs to cluster feed: If you look at your own body’s rhythms, the end of the afternoon is a natural time to have low energy, and babies often look to soothe themselves during these times. Children often feel the most safe or soothed feeding with Mom, or “tanking up.”

    Here is an example of cluster feeding during The Witching Hour that you can “pin” to save for later:



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