It’s 11pm: you’ve tried stepping outside, a change in atmosphere, loud music, driving them in their car seat with the windows down, and your baby is still going apesh*t with no signs of colic since it happens at the same time every night for a short period of time. AND it’s not even Halloween. What do you do? What can you do?
So you tell a close relative or friend (that has children) about what you’re going through and they spit back “Ahh, sounds like the witching hour”. First of all, not everyone who knows about the witching hour is a witch. So don’t try to find out if they are, in fact, a witch.
What’s rad is that this newborn phase is short-lived (roughly 4-8 weeks), and it is different for every baby. Read on to harvest more information about your newly acquired demon baby.
Let’s start off by defining what ‘Witching Hour’ literally means – because I didn’t know wtf it was until after my daughter was born:
In European folklore, the witching hour is the time when supernatural creatures such as witches, demons and ghosts are thought to be at their most powerful, and black magic at its most effective. This hour is typically midnight, and the term may now be used to refer to 3am -6am, or any late hour, even without having the associated superstitious beliefs. The term “witching hour” can also refer to the period from midnight to 3am, while “devil’s hour” refers to the time around 3am. Both “witching hour” and “devil’s hour” refer to the time when people are the closest to death whilst asleep.
It is believed by some in England that the witching hour begins at 11 pm and runs through to midnight. This hour before midnight is also used for the practice of witchcraft.
Okay, so, congratulations. Your child is a demon. Not really, but how awesome would that be. They could melt other children’s faces, devour dark matter, smite your enem– .. I digress.
The translation milage that carries over to nighttime-fussy babies will vary depending on your child’s temperament. The f*cked up part is that there’s no reason and no remedy. It just is. One cannot prove this, but it ‘is’ in the same sense that Mount Everest ‘is’, or that Alma Cogan ‘isn’t‘. Just try to remember that you’re not the only one to have gone or go through it and that it will pass.
The trick here, minus the treats as it were, is to figure out what works to calm and soothe your baby during this period. You’re basically figuring this kid out and they are testing your ability to cope and deal with stress because, let’s face it, it’s pretty tough when there’s no payoff of smiles or “Thank you daddy’s”. This is a mild 4 to 5 hour stress-test, every night, for like 6 weeks. If this doesn’t apply to you then this article is pretty much useless and everyone is jealous of your incredible baby.
A great resource for you to dive into is The Happiest Baby On The Block on DVD by Dr. Karp. Watch this asap because it will change the way you ‘baby’. It’s not just for babies with colic, there are also tools to keep your sanity and get through this early phase much easier.
Another resource I discovered early on was an article on askmoxie.com.
No one knows for sure why this [witching hour] happens, although there are a million theories. Some people think it’s the babies’ bodies working out some kinks. Some think it’s adjusting to all the stimuli they get out of the womb that they didn’t get in the womb. Some think it’s digestive difficulties. (Some people think the babies have gas and that makes them cry, while others think the babies cry and swallow air and that gives them gas.) My mom thinks the babies just figure out they’re no longer in the womb and get pissed off. I think it’s because they’ve figured out that everyone else can move and they can’t even roll over and they get pissed off. Honestly, it’s probably a mixture of a bunch of things, very few of which we have any control over.
I’m going to leave you with these two sources since there is really no one way to correctly soothe your baby. Just be sure to take a deep breath during the witching hour because it will pass. Your emotionally satisfied baby will thank you for your tested patience later with lots of love and trust.