Baby Witching Hour: What it Is and How to Cope

witching hour baby

You’re finally ready to relax after a long day of feeding, bathing, swaddling, and soothing your baby. But like clockwork, they start relentlessly crying for your attention. It just might be your baby’s witching hour, no broomsticks required.

In this article, we’ll tell you what a baby witching hour is and offer tips on what to do about this daily burst of fussiness.

Table of contents

What is a baby witching hour?

witching hour baby

A baby witching hour is a time in the evening when it seems that all of your little one’s pent-up fussiness comes out with such force it earned a moniker that nods to the underworld. But your sweet little baby is no witch — although you may require some supernatural strength.

At first, your little one may cry and you think they’re hungry. You try to feed them, but that’s not it. They sleep for just a moment and then cry again. Nothing you do seems to satisfy them.

The good news is that your baby’s witching hour, like many other things while they’re little, is just a phase.

Generally, it will start to happen when they’re two to three weeks old, then it peaks at six weeks and may continue several weeks afterward. It’s typically over by the time they’re three to four months old.

The so-called witching hour usually happens between 5:00 pm and 11:00 pm, when your baby should be drifting off to sleep. And, although it’s called a witching hour, it doesn’t always adhere to the 60-minute limitation.

What causes a baby witching hour?

There are quite a few things that might be prompting your baby to go off-script in the evenings. Let’s take a look.


First, your baby could be extra fussy because of overtiredness. Perhaps they are not napping as long as they should be during the day.

Crummy tummy

Your baby may be suffering from gas or an upset stomach. If so, it’s no wonder they’re feeling fussy.

Too much stimulation

Siblings playing in a play pen together

The whole world is new to your little one and it just might be, well, a lot. The light, the noise, and all of the activity around them can be a bit jarring for a newborn who has been accustomed to the soothing quiet of your womb.

All the stress from this stimulation can compound in their body, prompting them to express themselves in the one way they know how to: crying.

A growth spurt

If your baby is growing rapidly, this could be what’s at the root of their fussiness. All of that growth requires extra calories, and the crying may indicate that they’re hungry.

Babies often have growth spurts around two to three weeks, and once again at three months.


What you thought was baby’s witching hour might actually be colic, another condition that peaks around the same age. The difference is that with colic, babies cry even more intensely and don’t stick to the same time every day.

Baby witching hour signs

The signs of your baby’s impending witching hour are pretty hard to miss. Your little one will be crying more often and getting clingy. They’ll also start exhibiting their sleep cues.

If you watch your baby carefully day after day, you should be able to see the storm of emotion coming and prepare yourself.

Coping strategies for witching hour

It’s not easy for parents when their baby is going through this phase. You’re already tired from the round-the-clock feedings, and with baby crying incessantly, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed.

We know it’s hard, but try to relax. Your baby’s witching hour is normal and temporary. Instead of stressing, the best thing you can do is try some coping strategies. Let’s take a look.

Ensure baby’s room is sleep-ready.

As the witching hour generally happens before or around bedtime, the first step is to make sure that your baby’s room is calm and conducive to sleep.

It should be dark (blackout curtains will help) and quiet. A noise machine can mask any noise in the house and help your little one relax.

Check their mattress.

If your baby’s mattress is uncomfortable, this could be why they’re so fussy. But if it’s too soft, it poses a safety hazard.

Opt for a firm, breathable mattress, like the Newton Baby Essential Mattress or our Waterproof Mattress, which features a waterproof lining. With our firm, breathable mattresses, baby can breathe right through, giving you peace of mind that they’re safe.

On top of that, Newton Baby mattresses are washable, so you can be sure your little one is lying on a clean surface.

Adjust nap times as needed.

Getting too much or not enough sleep during the day can throw your little one off quite a bit, making them extra cranky. You might want to slightly adjust their nap schedule and see if this helps.

Gently rock your baby.

Your baby needs to be soothed, and gently rocking them will help them calm down. Rock them in your arms, or put them in a carrier and wear them as you go through your ‘to dos’ before bed.

Give baby a bath.

Sometimes a warm bath can soothe your baby and help them relax. After the bath, baby’s body temperature will go down and signal that they’re ready for some shuteye. Yes, please!

Try a pacifier.

Sometimes all that crying is not about being hungry. Give your baby a pacifier to encourage them to calm themselves with this non-nutritive sucking.

Wrap baby in a swaddle.

Another strategy to calm a fussy baby is to wrap them in a swaddle. A swaddle is a cloth that you wrap around your baby so that their arms and legs are close to their body. This replicates the safety and security they felt in the womb.

Try a baby massage.

Calm your little one by giving them a baby massage. Gently massage them while humming, singing, or talking softly to them.

Take a walk.

Sometimes getting some fresh air can make a big difference in baby’s mood. Take a five-minute walk, then hold your baby for another five minutes before putting them back down in their bassinet, crib, or travel crib.

Consider your diet.

If you’re breastfeeding, your baby is going to be affected by what you’re eating. Try to avoid spicy foods, dairy, caffeine, or anything else that could bother them or give them extra stimulation.

Check their diaper.

twins during witching hour baby

Of course, your baby could be crying because their diaper is wet or soiled. This should be part of your daily check anytime they’re fussy, as it’s an easy problem to resolve.

Rule out gas.

You should also check whether the fussiness is due to a buildup of gas. To relieve your little one’s gas, roll them onto their tummy on a flat surface and lift and massage their belly gently.

You can also lay them on their back and make their legs move as if they were on a bicycle. This can dislodge the gas and improve their mood.

Going forward, to cut down on any air they’re sucking in while eating, make sure they’re fully latched on or, if they’re bottle fed, that the bottle’s nipple is full of milk and not air.

Write it down.

Sometimes, it’s hard to know exactly what change to make to help with your baby’s fussiness. That’s why it’s a good idea to log what they’re eating, when they’re sleeping, and any activities so that you can identify patterns.

This is also useful to share with your doctor in case you end up making a visit.

Breathe through it.

Practice box breathing to calm yourself. This relaxation technique is simple.

Inhale for four seconds, hold your breath for four seconds, and then slowly exhale for four seconds. Wait another four seconds before inhaling again. After a short time, you should feel the stress dissipate.

Tag team with your partner.

One person bearing the brunt of your baby’s evening tantrums is not ideal. Instead, your baby’s witching hour is best tackled using the buddy system, with you and your partner taking turns.

When to contact your pediatrician

If what you thought was a witching hour is accompanied by other symptoms, it’s best to visit your doctor and ensure there isn’t something else going on. These symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Lack of appetite

Rest assured!

witching hour baby

Once you know that all the fussiness is thanks to your baby’s witching hour, you can take action. Use our tips to manage this phase, and look forward to a calmer and quieter little one.

Then, when they’re ready for bed, choose Newton Baby Greenguard Gold-certified mattresses for a safe and restful sleep. Our mattresses are firm, breathable, and even washable, ticking all the boxes of health and safety.

Pretty soon, your little one will start to feel better and you’ll enjoy peaceful evenings once again!