Crying is how babies communicate and yet, it’s not always easy to cope with the witching hour. In this post, Renee Peters is sharing some really wonderful ideas for how to cope in a positive and peaceful way.
When you think about it, a baby has been in a quiet, soothing, relaxing, dim and predictable place for 9 months then they’re not even on earth for that amount of time and are expected to cope with bright lights, loud noises, and everyday life.
As the day stretches on, baby gets a build-up of over stimulation, maybe a build-up of wind and tiredness, so approaching 5 pm is the time baby gets fussy and demanding. This is when the daily routine changes, when the family is all present and all indoors, the TV is likely on and loud, the other kids are likely to playing or arguing and are also loud, parents are focused on dinner, helping with homework, bath time, bedtime and each other. It is not surprising that all of this to a baby seems frantic and overwhelming, the only way they can deal with this is to become fussy and left off steam.
The best way to cope with witching hour and soothe a crying baby is to be realistic, positive and prepared.
10 Things to Remember & Ideas for Coping:
- Stay positive, remember it is normal and it will pass.
- Be prepared for the witching hour: have dinner prepped, don’t be afraid to ask for help so you are able to sit with baby in a calm, dimly lit warm room. Skin on skin is very soothing and helped us connect and calm down.
- Change of scenery or Environment, if possible put baby in a carrier or stroller and get out of the house for a walk, the exercise will rejuvenate you and a change of scenery might be all that’s needed to sooth baby. Or walk into a different room or walk outside, the fresh air sunshine and sounds of nature are full of new sounds and scents. It’s good for the soul and a good distraction.
- Don’t blame yourself, some babies are just fussier than others & like adults, some days just don’t fare well.
- Have a warm bath, if you have room pour a bath for the both of you. Like adults, sometimes a warm bath relaxes and sooths away tension. It helps babies pass gas as well and feels nice for straining little tummies- even if it’s in the middle of the night, it could be what it takes to settle a baby and calm them ready for sleep.
- Don’t feel guilty, and don’t sweat the small stuff. Dont Feel Guilty; A message to new Mums or Parents with a new Role
- Don’t take it personally, it’s not something you’re doing or not doing.
- Learn early hunger & sleep cues, more often than not when a baby is crying it means they’ve physically escalated past the point of needing sleep or food so it takes longer to settle them. Try to put your baby down for a nap when they first show signs of tiredness like rubbing eyes, yawning and jerky head movements.
- Remember Tomorrow is a new day
- Take a Moment, it won’t hurt. If you truly need to walk away, put your baby in a safe place and take a quick break, wet your face and return. Sometimes just a minute is all it takes to gain a new perspective and re-centre. (If another parent or friend can keep baby don’t feel embarrassed to ask for a break!)
- Look After yourself, also an investment in your family, when you’re mentally and physically well your parenting skills are calmer. Rest or nap when you can, eat healthy small portions to keep your energy and strength up, drink plenty of water, don’t forget to stay connected with friends and family, try to do things you love.
Renee has a Degree in Psychology, a Diploma in Counselling, and various study attainments in Childcare, Personality Development, Effective Parenting and Positive Parenting. She is the Author of Adventures at home with Mum and is a hands on playful Mum always looking for opportunities to learn and improve in her parenting. Renee is an Australian Stay at Home Mum to 3 yr. old “Dimples” and a new baby girl.