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Newborn Witching Hour: Its Causes And Solution

A mother is taking care of the new born during witching hour

Newborn witching hour, often affectionately referred to as the “witching hour,” can be an exhausting and trying experience for many new parents during those initial weeks of their baby’s life.

It tends to rear its head in the late afternoon or evening, and during this time, babies become notably fussier, crying more frequently, and struggling to settle down.

While the precise reasons behind this phenomenon are still a bit of a mystery, it’s thought to be a blend of factors like the baby’s exhaustion, sensory overload, and a natural uptick in their crying tendencies during these evening hours.

Parents often find themselves emotionally drained as they do their best to soothe their little ones through this challenging period. It’s important, though, to hold onto the knowledge that this phase typically eases as the baby grows and learns to self-soothe more effectively.

In the meantime, both patience and the application of comforting techniques become vital for both the baby and the parent as they navigate through these demanding moments together.

In this article, we will provide a comprehensive analysis of the key factors that impact the newborn witching hour, including its causes, challenges, and potential strategies for managing it.

What Is The Newborn Witching Hour?

The newborn witching hour typically begins around the second or third week of a baby’s life and may last until the third or fourth month.

Additionally, it is characterized by a sudden and prolonged period of fussiness and crying, often occurring in the late afternoon or evening.

Moreover, while it can be distressing for both parents and the baby, it is considered a normal part of infant development.

Key Factors Impacting The Newborn Witching Hour

Biological Rhythms 

One of the primary factors contributing to the newborn witching hour is the development of the baby’s circadian rhythm.

In addition, during the first few weeks of life, babies are still adjusting to the day-night cycle, and their internal body clock is not yet fully developed. This can lead to increased fussiness during the evening hours.


Infants are exceedingly receptive to their environment and can quickly become overwhelmed. Factors such as bright lights, loud noises, or too much activity can contribute to a baby’s fussiness during the witching hour.

Hunger And Digestive Issues 

Babies may also become fussier during this time due to hunger or digestive discomfort. It is common for infants to cluster feed during the evening, as they prepare for longer stretches of sleep at night.

Sleep Deprivation 

Both parents and babies may be sleep-deprived during the evening, making it more challenging to soothe a fussy infant. Exhaustion can exacerbate the stress associated with the witching hour.

See also: Why Do Babies Sleep With Their Butt In The Air

Developmental Milestones

Some experts believe that the witching hour may be related to the baby’s developmental milestones, such as increased alertness and awareness of the world around them.

See also: Baby Waking Up Too Early

Challenges And Tradeoffs

Managing the demands of a restless infant during the late afternoon or evening can pose difficulties for caregivers. Here are some typical obstacles and compromises to contemplate:

Sleep vs. Soothing 

Parents often face the dilemma of whether to prioritize getting their baby to sleep or attempting to soothe them during the witching hour.

Moreover, achieving the appropriate equilibrium between these two requirements is essential for the welfare of the infant and the mental stability of the parents.

Parental Stress

Dealing with a fussy baby during the witching hour can be stressful and emotionally draining for parents. Finding effective coping mechanisms is essential to prevent caregiver burnout.

Feeding Strategies 

While cluster feeding is common during this time, parents may need to consider whether their baby’s fussiness is due to hunger or other factors. Consulting a pediatrician can help in determining the best feeding strategy.

See also: 24 Month Sleep Regression

Strategies To Manage The Witching Hour

Now, let’s delve into some successful approaches for managing the witching hour:

Create a Calm Environment

Dim the lights and reduce noise levels in your home during the evening. This will aid in establishing a calming ambiance for your infant.

Establish a Feeding Routine

Ensuring your baby is well-fed before the witching hour begins can minimize hunger-related fussiness. Consider feeding on demand to meet their needs. Or Read this about new born feeding routine.

Implement a Soothing Bedtime Routine

Integrate relaxing activities into your nightly regimen, like a gentle massage or a warm bath, to indicate to your baby that it’s time to unwind.

See also: How To Get Baby To Sleep In Bassinet?

Try Different Holding Positions

Try out different holding positions, including the “colic hold,” to assist in relieving gas and discomfort in your infant.

Offer a Pacifier

A pacifier can provide comfort and satisfy your baby’s need to suck, which can be soothing during the witching hour.


Using a sling or baby carrier to hold your infant can offer comfort and closeness during this demanding period.

Related: 13 Month Sleep Regression

Burping And Tummy Time 

Make sure your baby is at ease by burping them after meals and including periods of tummy time during the day to ease gas and discomfort.


Take breaks, ask for help from family or friends, and prioritize self-care to manage parental stress.

Witching Hour vs Colic

Witching Hour

  • Timing: Late afternoon/evening, often around 6 PM.
  • Duration: Typically a few hours daily, but can vary.
  • Frequency: Common in many infants.
  • Cause: Unclear, often attributed to infant fussiness.
  • Symptoms: Increased crying and fussiness during that time.
  • Response to Soothing: Usually responds well to soothing techniques.


  • Timing: Can occur at any hour, no specific pattern.
  • Duration: Persists for a minimum of three weeks, up to three months or longer.
  • Frequency: Affects about 10-20% of infants.
  • Cause: Unknown, considered a distinct condition.
  • Symptoms: Regular, extended periods of crying.
  • Response to Soothing: May not respond well to soothing methods, causing frustration.

See also: 10 Month Sleep Regression

When Do Babies Outgrow Witching Hour

Babies typically outgrow the witching hour phase as they mature and their digestive systems become more developed, usually around three to four months of age.

As they become better equipped to handle digestion and fussiness, the evening periods of increased irritability tend to decrease, and babies settle into more predictable sleep and feeding patterns.

However, it’s essential to remember that each child is unique, and some may experience this phase for a shorter or longer duration. Parents can help ease this transition by implementing calming strategies and routines during this challenging time.

Related: Baby Witching Hour

FAQs About Newborn witching hour
How can I help my newborn witching hour?

To help your newborn during the witching hour, try swaddling, gentle rocking, and soothing sounds. Maintain a calm environment, feed on demand, and ensure a comfortable diaper. Stay patient, as this phase typically improves as your baby grows.

How to survive witching hour baby?

Surviving the witching hour with a baby involves creating a soothing routine, offering comfort through rocking or swaying, using white noise, and ensuring the baby’s needs are met. Maintain your own well-being with breaks and support from others. Remember, it’s a phase that typically improves over time.

Why do newborns have a witching hour?

Surviving the witching hour with a baby involves creating a soothing routine, offering comfort through rocking or swaying, using white noise, and ensuring the baby’s needs are met. Maintain your own well-being with breaks and support from others. Remember, it’s a phase that typically improves over time.

What age do witching hours stop?

Witching hours typically subside between 3 to 4 months of age as babies develop better self-soothing skills and their circadian rhythms become more established, leading to less fussiness and evening crying.

Do formula fed babies have a witching hour?

Indeed, infants fed with formula can also go through a fussy period in the evening. It’s not limited to breastfed babies. Factors like fatigue and overstimulation can affect formula-fed babies, leading to fussiness and crying during the late afternoon or evening.

Conclusion Newborn witching hour

In conclusion, the newborn witching hour, characterized by evening fussiness and crying, is a challenging but common phase in an infant’s early life. It arises from factors like circadian rhythms, overstimulation, hunger, and developmental milestones.

Moreover, parents can navigate this period by creating a calming environment, establishing feeding routines, and implementing soothing strategies.

While it may be demanding, the witching hour typically improves as babies grow, offering hope and reassurance to exhausted parents.

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