Do you get nervous when the clock is inching closer to evening (aka the witching hours)? That nervous energy builds up as the afternoon passes by and you start thinking, “How bad is it going to be tonight?? Is mine the only baby fussy at night?”
I used to walk in circles around the house from 6:00PM until 9:00PM. It was the same loop through the kitchen and into the dining room every night. The loop was the same and so were the questions I’d ask myself: Am I good mom? What else could I try???
Why are babies fussy at night
- They are overstimulated –Some babies just don’t thrive in a busy environment filled with a lot of action, especially at night. They have already had a full day and are ready to wind down just as school lets out and work wraps up. Your spouse walks in the door from work and is excited to reconnect with your baby. On top of that, your other children are garnering for attention and you’re starting to prep for dinner. This sort of love and attention, along with the banging of pots and pans, can actually be a little startling to a new baby who is craving a little peace and quiet.
- They might be hungry – The evening is a prime time for cluster feeding. They just can’t get enough milk in their tummy. They might also be too tired to get a good latch and instead feed for few minutes then rest for a few minutes.
5 things to try when your baby is fussy at night
1.Baby wear – First off, rest your arms. A baby carrier is a life saver in these situations. If your baby just wants to be walked put him or her in a carrier. Oftentimes, my husband and I will go ahead and swaddle our baby with no intention to put him to sleep. We just want her to have the feeling of being held and swaddled while also being walked around the house. Obviously we were up for trying just about anything at that time. The book Happiest Baby on the Block by Harvey Karp gives so many suggestions on how to soothe a crying baby. It is a lifesaver! My husband watched the DVD (he wouldn’t read the book) and he said it gave him real tips that he could use. I swear this video and the tricks it taught gave my husband the confidence to handle a crying baby on his own.
2. Gripe water/ Gas drops – If your baby seems to be in pain it could be gas. Gripe Water and Gas drops can really help lessen the pain for your baby.
3. Get outside – My husband always seemed to have the magic touch when it came to getting our babies to stop fussing. That was until I figured out his secret weapon! He used to always walk them out onto the porch.He used to always walk them out onto the porch. The different scenery and fresh air seemed to completely change our baby’s disposition. They would stare at the sky and listen to the different sounds. It’s easy to forget that a simple change of scenery can change your mood.
4. Check for an ear infection –Did the fussiness just start in the past day or two? If so, this could be a sign of an ear infection or other illness. My son once spent an entire day crying which was out of character for him and left me totally confused and frustrated. Finally, my mom suggested an ear infection and sure enough she was right. What a relief to actually figure out what was wrong. Did you know you could buy your own otoscope? It’s surprisingly inexpensive and would have saved me so many trips to the doctor!
5. Have a glass of wine –Take a step back and relax. If you’ve tried trick after trick and checked with the pediatrician, you might just need to pour yourself a glass of wine and keep repeating, “This is just a phase!” This practice came in handy with my youngest. 🙂
When Do the Witching Hours End?
This was a question I googled MANY times and most of the research says that witching hours start between 2-3 weeks old and ends between 3-4 months of age.
So, hang in there Momma! You can do this.
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robin rue says
Both of my boys were sleeping through the night by about 12 weeks. I don’t know what I would have done if they weren’t both good sleepers.
Kansas Bonanno says
Great points! Babywearing for the WIN! Some days its the only thing that saves one’s sanity. I have baby number 4 due in a few months and these points are alot of the main ways to soothe baby.
Jessica Joachim says
baby wearing was and is a life saver for me! I know both of my kids were fussy at night, and a lot of times they just wanted to be walked.
Me too. The Baby Bjorn is awesome.
Melissa Chapman says
Those days seem so long ago for me but it is so important to other moms to have these tips and know they are not alone. I think it is a good to think of everything when it comes to the little ones that don’t speak yet.
La Shell says
I don’t have kids but I lived with many a niece and nephew so I know what it’s like to have a fussy baby at night. Great article.
Beth Davidson says
My son is not quite two and he only started sleeping through the night at about 15 months. But my daughter is only waking up once already and she’s only three weeks. Babies are all so different! At least I can count on wine to stay the same. 🙂
Yes, it is amazing how different each kid can be! It amazes me how genetics works.
Karen Morse says
I have friends who are experiencing or have experienced these things. It’s really a challenge and it’s good to have ways to cope! Parenting is a tough job. Your tips are perfect!
These are some great tips. It’s hard to know what to do at night with babies when you can’t figure out what’s wrong (especially if it’s your first baby).
My poor sister in law is battling with a 10 month old who doesn’t sleep through and wakes up consistently! It can be a tough time for sure
Amber Nelson says
Oh how I remember those days! My kids were super fussy!
Ana De- Jesus says
Gripe water is really handy! In the early days my foster sister was crying the majority of the time as she was so poorly bless her and gripe water did help her a little x
Cindy Ingalls says
These are great tips I’m sure new moms appreciate the help!
Sona Jain says
It must be really hard to manage your lifestyle with a new born and given that he/she might cry at erratic hours.
Baby wearing was definitely a life saver for me…but I’m not entirely sure about the witching hour ending so early on in life! My kids are a terror come dinner time 🙂
Our oldest daughter was never a good sleeper. I honestly can say she was over a year old the first time she slept through the night. THE FIRST TIME. Baby #2 six years later was sleeping through the night at four months old. Each baby is different and it’s hard to not compare. These are great tips to hopefully provide some relief (and rest!) to families with infants at home.
Isn’t it funny how each baby is so different even thought they have the same genetics.
Nancy Johnson Horn says
Spot on! My daughter was so fussy as a baby. From birth to 2.5 months I wore her in a wrap at night to soothe her. It was the only thing that helped.
Kaity | With Kids and Coffee says
Gripe water and baby wearing were SUCH lifesavers when my girls were infants. Many laps around the living room and hallways took place during those months. 🙂
Yes, the evenings seem endless when you are just walking laps. 🙂
Great tips! My daughter just went through a fussy at night phase. We realized it was because I wasn’t the one putting her to sleep it was daddy. Sometimes its the simplest things that can help!
Unfortunately, I do not have a baby but my coworker does! Her baby has been fussy, gonna forward this to her.
Being up with a fussy baby at night were some of the loneliest, longest nights of my life. You have some great tips here!!
Cassie Tucker says
This is great advice! I especially like the idea of just having a glass of wine and trying to relax.
Wonderful tips! I have a newborn and one of the things that help him from time to time is Gripe Water.
Rachel Catherine says
These are really good tips! My daughter was colicky when she was young and my cousin is currently struggling with a lot of crying.
Brandi with Big Fit Fam says
My current youngest was REALLY fussy all the time, day and night, we tried everything and unfortunately nothing really helped (except WINE for me!). He just kind of had to grow out of it…hopefully with the new baby some of these ideas will work!
Yes, wine helps. 🙂 Each kid seems to be so different so I’ll hope for an easy-going baby for you. 🙂
Omg so many helpful tips!! Thankfully I didn’t have any fussy issues with my daughter. It’s also one of the reasons I’m scared to ever have another one. I know I will end up with a fussy baby since my daughter was so calm lol
Sara Geffrard says
I wish I had this list when my niece was born a year ago. She used to be so fussy during the nighttime. What usually work was putting her in a dark and quiet room. It worked everytime.
Debbie-jean Lemonte says
I always go with the hungry option. My god-daughter would go nuts when she’s hungry even if you were on a schedule. And as soon as you feed her, she knocks out.
Fresh air used to work for us too…some great tips here