The Witching Hour

Today I wanted to share my experience with Witching Hour and how we cope with it. No, this is not some Halloween related post. This post is about my baby. In particular, when my baby gets fussy and colicky. Sylas was a good baby. I got lucky, really. His only problem was staying up late, but he was happy. Ivan is very different. He was fussy a lot in the early days. He still does it even now at 12 weeks old, just not near as intense, and I’ve learned ways to help him cope. He was really colicky. He cried a lot because he was in pain from reflux. But he also cried for what appeared to be no reason at all. And the weirdest part is that he fussed (and still likes to try) every evening at six o’clock on the dot. It got to where I could tell you what time it was by the way he was acting. I knew babies could be fussy and cry a lot and mamas are sometimes unable to console them. I knew that. I didn’t expect to have a baby that did that; and that “that” is called Witching hour. It is normally seen in young babies and passed off as colic but it comes at the same time every day, usually somewhere between 6 and 10pm. Its really hard to deal with too, as a parent. He was changed and fed and yet, he still cried and cried and cried. I spent countless hours pacing the first floor of our house bouncing and swaying with him over my shoulder. I changed diapers that weren’t dirty because I thought maybe it wasn’t on just so. I tried to nurse him only to have him wiggle and fuss even more. And then around 8pm, it was all over. I did some reading and found that white noise can help, so I got a free app on my phone and tried it one night. Right on time, he started to cry and I played him a shushing sound from my phone. Magically, he got quiet. He didn’t fall asleep, but he would let me put him down in his swing and just stared. As long as the white noise was on, he was quiet. But if I received a phone call or a text, it would interrupt the shushing and he would immediately start to cry again. I would text my family to tell them not to call because I would try to shower or cook or clean and I NEEDED the white noise on for Ivan to stay calm while I did. It was a miracle. But I had read that sometimes, white noise can cause damage to their ears, so I wanted to find another solution. I had noticed that if I bathed him, he would calm down also. (He has always loved baths, so if your baby doesn’t, try something that they do like.) So now, I have him on a pretty strict evening schedule where I feed him and between 6-7pm, he gets a bath every night. I don’t wash him every night though because I don’t want to hurt his skin. Just laying in the water and playing is enough. Then I follow with some bedtime baby lotion. Afterwards, we go back downstairs and we have a little chat with him propped on my legs. I read to the boys and try to make them laugh for a while. Then we nurse again and by then, its 8:30 and he is out for the night. I never had a “routine” with Sylas. I know that lots of books say that you should start your baby on a routine. But I had a good baby so I didn’t think I needed one. Really, I probably did and it would’ve helped him go to bed at a decent hour. He eventually outgrew that, but looking back, I probably could have helped him do it sooner. I had envisioned having a fussy baby while I was pregnant with Ivan. Mostly because everyone always told me how lucky I was with Sylas. They had me convinced that I was going to have this awful baby this time (he’s not). He just takes a little more work to keep him happy.

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