Colic and “The Witching Hour”
Unfortunately, colic has become a term associated with a lot of negative connotations and fear. My goal is to educate you on colic and “The Witching Hour”, so you can practice pausing and taking a moment if you need it!
Colic is a diagnosis to describe a baby who cries for more than three hours per day, for more than three days a week, and for longer than three weeks in an infant who is well fed and otherwise healthy.
Parents are terrified of their baby developing colic (when it’s not their fault), because of the negative connotations associated with the term. However, that fear makes parents less likely to remember that this is a normal phase and baby will get through it, and so will they!
Also keep in mind, that there really shouldn’t be a standard of what level of crying is “normal”, as all babies have various temperaments!
But why is my baby extra fussy in the EVENING?
Some parents commonly report fussy episodes between 4pm to 8pm and/or in the middle of the night (also known as “The Witching Hour”).
This can happen between 2-7 weeks of age, when colic is also common! It’s likely due to a combination of the following:
- Baby’s heightened awareness of their surroundings: This can lead them to being overstimulated by their environment.
- Their developing digestive system that makes them gassier. (Checkout this free resource where I discuss Infant Gas and provide some tips!)
- Growth spurts.
- Being overtired
How to get through “The Witching Hour”/Colic Episodes
- Remember, some babies can cluster feed during the witching hour, so feed if showing hunger cues! Remember that not all crying is hunger.
- Implement soothing tips from my “Tips to Soothe a Fussy Baby or Newborn” Blog. Pausing is one of them where we allow moments for baby to fuss before we swoop in like the loving parent we are.
- If it persists, consider looking at wake windows to assure baby isn’t overtired and that is why we are getting those overtired periods in the evening.
Red flags to be aware of
- Fever over 100.4 in a baby under two months
- If your baby seems to be fussy the whole day
- If your baby doesn’t seem to sleep at all
- If baby is spitting up and is also fussy
- Blood in the stool
Remember, this does get better. How we respond to it is important in how long the phase can last.
Check out this PedsDocTalk resource: The Power of Pausing, for more tips!