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The witching hours

Most of the time, evenings are pretty pleasant around here. Tom gets home from work, and Livi and I are both ecstatic to see him. We give Livi a bath, jammie/lotion/brush hair, feed her, story time, and put her to sleep. It’s nice because she’ll usually go to bed fairly early (around 7-8) and we’ll get to enjoy a little bit of alone time to catch up and hang out before calling it a night. We’re getting to a point where Liv’s on a pretty good schedule throughout the day and gets plenty of naps… so most of the time, the evenings go pretty well.

Other times, we’re subject to the witching hours: random crankiness before bedtime, where pretty much nothing seems to put that lovely smile back on her face.

dad and liv

Sometimes, it’s just a little bit of grunting and crying, or it can be full-out shrieking, which echoes throughout the house. We go through the checklist: check her diaper (usually the first reason she’ll cry- she HATES wet diapers), burp her, see if she’s hungry, and if nothing seems to work, we bounce, rock her, or sing to her until she eventually burps, decides she is indeed hungry, or falls back asleep.

All of my friends with little babies have experienced the same thing- you never know what’s going to happen around 5-6pm. It’s not considered colic because it only happens occasionally and doesn’t last very long (colic occurs where a baby cries for at least 3 hours in a row, 3 nights in a week, for 3 consecutive weeks. Whew! My little brother had colic and it was intense), but is still no picnic. Usually having one of the nanas here does the trick –they have that magic touch- but sadly, they don’t live here 😉

Anyone have advice or tips for the witching hours? How long does this phase last? (Please don’t say forever, haha)

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79 Comments

  1. Natalie on February 22, 2012 at 12:08 pm

    My first son had this exact same kind of fussy period, every day for a few hours in the evenings, but the rest of the kids did not. I nursed him using the clock, about every 2-3 hours… with my second and third I just offered the breast much more often and if they wanted to nurse and seemed content, they would eat a little and either sleep or just be happy, never had this fussy time with them…. so I believe that what I did differently with my second son and daughter in terms of nursing through this difficult time daily time period is what helped! Seemed to disappear! They go through growth spurts at around 6 weeks (I know there are more of them but can’t remember exactly when!) and they need the extra nourishment, may be that she’s hungry or just needs to nurse to get through the fussy time. Also, milk supply is at it’s lowest in the evenings, highest in the mornings so it may mean you need to offer the breast more often during this time. I remember reading a lot of helpful info on kellymom.com about this too. Good luck and hope this helps! I love all your workout while pregnant posts, I am currently pregnant with our 4th and still working out so it is very encouraging to read!

  2. LisaG on February 22, 2012 at 12:12 pm

    What about a swing, or the vibrating bouncy seat thing? Also, I would put mine on top of the washing machine (while running) in their bouncy seat/ or car seat. (And of course stay by them since they could vibrate off.) If you are desparate take them for a car ride.

  3. mary on February 22, 2012 at 12:32 pm

    It didn’t last long for mine. And the doc said despite the cries, the baby is not in distress or uncomfortable or gassy, usually. They just are wired to cry and can’t help it and they’re fine. Who knows. I do know none of the treatments did a thing for mine (gas treatments and home remedies and such).

    Try car rides or a walk in the stroller, when you get sick of vacuuming. ; )

  4. Morgan on February 22, 2012 at 12:38 pm

    Two words. BABY SWING

    • Fitnessista on February 22, 2012 at 12:55 pm

      We have one and she doesn’t like it. Loves the bouncy seat though

  5. Tiffany on February 22, 2012 at 1:21 pm

    Ours lasted until about 7 weeks, but it was awful. Sydney would scream from 9pm-1 am every night for 5 weeks. Count your blessings that it is only every once in a while. Our daughter never liked the swing or bouncy seat, just wanted to be held and jiggled. Even at 14 weeks, she is still not a fan of anything that confines her.

  6. Susan on February 22, 2012 at 2:43 pm

    I found that nursing helped a lot. Sometimes when my son was fussy in the beginning, he didn’t necessarily seem hungry, but nursing seemed to meet to his need for sucking. And that meant sometimes every half an hour, especially in the evenings. It went away by about 3.5 months. I think it also helped that I *tried* not to let him even start crying (it did happen though…) . I know people say it’s ok to let them scream for a while (to take a shower, etc.), but it just doesn’t work for me. It breaks my heart. I’m a firm believer that you can’t spoil a baby until a certain age (even though one of my friends told me my 5 and 1/2 old tried to manipulate me into holding him by crying…?!) . I know it’s hard when you don’t know what’s wrong with them, but the witching hour WILL go away faster than you think!

  7. ErikaMC on February 22, 2012 at 3:35 pm

    Most babies have a “fussy time” and it is typically 5:00-6:00. I have read that it is from being stimulated all day that by evening they have just had enough and don’t know how else to deal with it. Our 6-month has gone through it but is over it for the most part. There is still a night here and there that he is a little cranky for no apparent reason. It’s just babies being babies.

  8. Lisa on February 22, 2012 at 4:32 pm

    Hi Gina! I love reading your blog and get so many wonderful food and fitness tips from you. My daughter had colic and it was terrible. I tried anything that anyone would suggest. I learned by chance that the sound of the vacuum cleaner made her instantly stop crying. Guess who spent a little time in the bouncy seat or swing next to the vacuum cleaner running? I would leave it on, in the upright position and she would stop crying and eventually fall asleep. The other tidbit I picked up was running the water in our garden tub on full force. I don’t know what it was, but the sound would put her to sleep. These suggestions may sound crazy, but I was desperate and when I learned something that soothed the wailing after every other effort was exhausted, like feeding, burping, changing, I jumped on it. Your little one is precious, you guys will be great parents.

  9. Maddy on February 22, 2012 at 5:30 pm

    I remember the bewitching hour so well. I think my neighbors probably do too. One thing that sometimes helped was taking him outside-even if it was freezing cold outside. Sometimes it worked right away, other times we strolled around as he howled and I think being outside at least helped me!

  10. Ali on February 22, 2012 at 5:39 pm

    Yep, I remember that hour… it lasted Sophie about a month. We would play music pretty loud (she liked Jimmy Eat World lol) swaddle her and bounce her in our arms. SO random but it was the one thing that worked! I’ve heard music really helps, you just have to find that one song 🙂

  11. Mandy on February 22, 2012 at 7:56 pm

    My guy went through a phase like that around 7 weeks.. it probably lasted a month or so at most. It wasn’t too bad, really!

  12. ACB on February 23, 2012 at 3:17 pm

    Have you tried the techniques from The Happiest Baby on the Block? I don’t see anyone mentioning that, but it may help.

    • Fitnessista on February 23, 2012 at 5:56 pm

      Yes- lots of swaddling and shhh-ing over here 🙂

  13. Dominique on February 26, 2012 at 8:32 pm

    I don’t think I had colic as a baby but your description of it (since I clearly did not know what it entailed) is horrifying. I feel bad for any parent who has to deal with a colic-y baby.

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