If your baby is an angel during the day, but suddenly becomes incredibly fussy at night (preventing you from having any peace and quiet after 5:00 p.m.), you might be experiencing what’s commonly known as “the witching hour.”
It might start right around dinnertime, and it might seem as though there’s no cause. It can often feel as though nothing helps your baby calm down. Pacifiers won’t hold in the fussiness and the feedings don’t seem to provide any relief.
It’s important to remember that nearly all babies go through this stage of getting fussy during the evening. It will typically happen after they are a couple of weeks old and might last until they are about three months old.
Why does my infant get fussy at night?
There are several reasons why your baby might be getting fussy right around the same time each evening.
Colic is often defined as crying or fussiness that occurs more than three weeks in a row, happens at least three times per week, and will usually last more than three hours.
Colic will only happen for early infants. It’ll start right around your infant’s two-week birthday can is heightened when he is about six weeks old. Luckily it will pass when he is around 3 or 5 months old.
Though no one knows the official cause of colic, some studies indicate that it is a developmental stage.
If your baby is colicky, help your baby with movement and white noise. Movement like bouncing on an exercise ball will simulate what the infant experienced in the womb. The white noise similarly helps a newborn because he is used to constant sound like your heartbeat. Breastfeeding might also help your baby calm down because he needs to “cluster feed.” Cluster feeding is when the newborn is feeding more often at closer intervals in the evening to fill up for the longest stretch of sleep.
Sometimes the crying and issues getting to sleep might be because your baby is overstimulated.
When they are under three months, babies don’t know how to self-soothe. Think about it like this: your baby is brand new to the world and is taking in all these amazing sights, smells, and feelings. Sometimes it can be too much and he tries to cope with it by whining, crying or fussing.
Once your baby starts to feel cranky and starts on the road to a meltdown, it can be difficult for him to calm down.
If your baby has been overstimulated, try taking away some of the stimulation. Cut out unnecessary noise like the TV and take him into a dark room.
However, sometimes fussy babies like to have white noise and movement since that is what they were used to when they were in the womb. Try using a swaddle to create the calming reflex.
Besides being overstimulated, if your infant has become too tired, he might start to get fussy. Your newborn might be tired because he is a bit colicky which causes him to fall asleep when he wants to. This can wreak havoc on creating a sleep schedule.
Once your baby gets a bit older, right around the four-month mark, he will start to need to go to bed earlier. At that age, your baby starts to transition to a better bedtime routine and begins to resemble an adult sleeping pattern.
If your baby is overtired, it might be time to get into a better sleep routine.
Sometimes the fussiness is caused by gas pain. If your baby is squirming around or pulling up his legs, he might be feeling uncomfortable.
Your infant might be getting gas because of the way he is drinking. If he drinks too quickly or too slowly, he might be taking in too much air as he gulps it down. If you are giving formula, air bubbles can lead to gas.
Swaddles, pacifiers, bouncing, and movement can all ease a gassy baby by simulating the womb and releasing endorphins.
Prolactin is the hormone in the mom’s body that causes you to make milk. There is often a natural dip in mom’s prolactin levels as the day progresses. This will cause the milk flow to slow down which might make your little one frustrated.
When the milk volume is lower, your baby has to work harder to get the same amount of milk, and he may want to feed more often.
Don’t worry, this is a very normal process during breastfeeding and feeding your baby often will ensure you continue to have a steady supply of milk.
How can I help my fussy baby?
Skin to Skin Contact
When your little one is fussing, they might need extra attention. By holding and soothing him with skin to skin contact, your baby will calm down. This “Kangaroo Care” can have a lot of benefits like boosting mental development, making breastfeeding easier for your baby and you (it helps you produce milk), reducing baby’s stress and helping him sleep.
Take off the baby’s clothes and lay him on your bare chest.
Simulate the Womb
By simulating the womb with white noise and movement, your baby will start to feel more comfortable with these familiar feelings. Swaddle him or take him to a dark room to help him calm down.
Burping after each feeding can help move the gas through your infant’s digestive symptoms. Air gets trapped in his gastrointestinal system when he feeds and it needs to be released. Burping helps release the gas bubbles up through the esophagus and out the mouth.
Gripe Water Night Time
Mommy’s Bliss Gripe Water Night Time helps your infant relieve some stomach discomfort, particularly if your newborn is gassy or colicky. The herbal supplement which includes ingredients like Chamomile and Passion Flower eases the pain and helps them sleep peacefully.