Does your sweet child turn into a crying and insatiable gremlin in the evenings? If so, you may be experiencing the WITCHING HOURS!
This tricky time of day often happens between 5 pm and midnight. This is often when you are most tired, and not at your best. Younger babies may want to cluster feed or they may refuse the breast altogether. Many children, regardless of age, may not want to go to sleep even when they are tired!
Strategies that may help you survive the witching hours:
- Your baby may be feeling overstimulated after a busy day. Try “white noise” or calm soothing music to settle them. You can also try going into a dark, quiet room.
- Never underestimate the power of skin-to-skin time, even for an older baby. Try removing your shirt and your baby’s outfit and have a snuggle. Grab a blanket to cover your both for warmth.
- Your baby may need a change of scenery. Try bundling up and going for a walk in the fresh air.
- When you need to make dinner or care for other children try wearing your baby in a baby carrier. You can be skin-to-skin or not. That’s up to you.
- A warm bath with mom can be calming for both of you. Take a plastic cup, a face cloth or some baby toys with you. Remember to plan how you are going to get out of the bath with your slippery baby. Put a clean towel on the floor outside the bath. You can place your baby there safely and then get yourself out of the bath.
- Massaging your baby can help your baby to feel better and is a wonderful way to connect. You can use some baby lotion or olive oil. Or you can leave your baby’s clothes on, if it’s cold and just rub your baby gently over their clothes. If you aren’t sure where to start, check out some infant massage videos online.
If your baby is inconsolable and you are feeling overwhelmed, tell your partner, a friend or family member. IT IS OK to need a break. If you are alone, place your baby in a safe location, like their crib, and take some deep breaths. Reach out to your local La Leche League Leader or healthcare provider for support. You are not alone.