The Witching Hour: What it is and how to manage this tricky time with baby

Mar 23, 2021 | Key Sleep Tips, Sleep Regressions

Who among us parents hasn’t dealt with a newborn’s witching hour? And, let’s face it, it’s not usually just an hour… it’s HOURS!
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
The witching hour is a fussy period that almost all babies go through, and tends to occur around the same time each day, from about 5-11pm. It peaks at around week 6, and then declines at around the 3-month mark. During this time, baby is also fussier than usual, and difficult to soothe.
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Here are a couple of key ways to manage this period:
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
1 – Avoiding overtiredness – Most newborns can’t handle more than about an hour of awake time without being overtired. So, we want to avoid hours and hours of awake time before bedtime if we can. If this means an “on the go” nap in a wrap or carrier, that’s ok! Get that evening nap in to avoid the overtiredness and overstimulation that make that witching hours tougher. If your baby has an evening nap while you stroll with him around the neighbourhood from about 6:30-7:30, for example, he could then go down for the night around 8:30pm without being overtired.
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
2 – Get outside! This goes hand in hand with the note above! Firstly, babies feed off the emotions of their parents. So, if we are stressed and frustrated, they feel it and feed off of it, and if we are calm, they often relax as well. When the evening arrives and baby is fussier, sometimes just getting outside in the fresh air can make a big difference to our mood and level of stress. This can also be a time to allow baby to get some Zs while you take some deep breaths and take a break for yourself and your babe.
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Remember, Mamas and Papas, much like everything else when it comes to your newborn baby, this phase too shall pass. But, while you’re in it, know that you’re not alone – solidarity, parents! The witching hour can be tough! But we’ve got this.

Erin Junker is a Professional Infant & Toddler Sleep Consultant, and owner of The Happy Sleep Company, working closely with tired parents to help them help their little ones get the healthy, restful sleep they need. Follow The Happy Sleep Company on Instagram and Facebook – let’s get your family the healthy, happy sleep you deserve!

Disclaimer: I only provide reviews and recommendations for products when I feel they are of great quality. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. I am a member of several affiliate marketing programs and, as such, I do receive a commission for purchases made through some product links on this website.

The advice provided by The Happy Sleep Company is not a substitute for medical advice. The advice on this website is provided solely for informational purposes in connection with common early childhood sleep issues that are wholly unrelated to medical conditions. Always seek the advice of your doctor or another qualified health practitioner with questions regarding medical conditions or the health or welfare of your child. 

Read On…

From swaddle to sleep bag – when and how

From swaddle to sleep bag – when and how

Swaddling can be very helpful for newborns to help calm their Moro reflex (often referred to as the “startle reflex” - you know, the one that causes your baby to hit himself in the face and wake up very annoyed? Yeah, that one.). Swaddling is not a sleep prop, but...