Dear Aunty Tina, I have a 2 month old son who gets REALLY fussy around sunset, sometimes he will cry for two hours! Is there anything I can do that will settle him down?
Oh yes, I like to call this the witching hour, when young babies, often peaking around 6 weeks, will become unsettled anywhere between 5 o’clock and nightfall. It is also interesting that this can be true for older kids who seem to go nuts right before dinner and don’t want to stop playing and come in. Even science doesn’t quite know why babies begin to fuss more at this time of day, yet many babies do. Fussiness is different from colic. It is considered colic if your baby is crying longer than 3 hours, for a few days/weeks or even months at a time and this crying is often high pitched and inconsolable.
For the witching hour I recommend swaddling your baby up and carrying her/him in your arms or in a baby carrier and walk. The closeness to the mother or father (yes, daddies you can get in on the action too) is soothing, as is the constant movement. Walk around the garden and get close to nature. The garden is often cool and quiet at this time of day and away from stimulus. Softly sing to your baby or talk to him/her lovingly. Letting your baby hear running water may also help calm them down.
Don’t be afraid to call in the troops, some people refer to this as the nanny hour too for a reason. And as frazzled as you may feel at the end of the day and countless sleepless nights, try and stay calm – as with all things this stage will pass. It is not a reflection on you as a parent; it might just be your baby’s way to unwind after a stimulating day.