Witching Hour Baby

Witching Hour Baby Guide: All You Need to Know About the Dreaded Twilight Meltdown


The witching hour” is a phrase capable of striking fear into the hearts of every parent. It describes your previously calm baby becoming fussy as the clock strikes a certain hour, typically between 5 p.m. and 11 p.m. 


It’s a common phenomenon that leaves parents feeling overwhelmed and frustrated. But why does this occur, and how can it be managed?


We will discuss all you need to know about the baby witching hour and provide reliable strategies to manage it.

Shall we?

Understanding the Baby Witching Hour: When It Occurs and What to Look Out for

The witching hour usually occurs between 5 p.m. and 11 p.m. when babies suddenly become extremely fussy and agitated. Typically, it starts when your newborn is about 2-3 weeks old and ends at 3-4 months. The most common causes include overtiredness, hunger, and overstimulation. Still, you can effectively manage the witching hour.

As we continue, we’ll consider the dreaded witching hours of the day—what it looks like and how to prepare for it. 

As such: 

You can put measures to manage this period till it completely fades. Keep reading to discover them.

When Does the Witching Hour Occur?


The witching hour is a common phenomenon observed in many babies. It is often considered a natural phase in their congenital growth and development.


It is the time of the day, usually between 5 p.m. to 11 p.m., when your content baby becomes easily agitated and inconsolable. As such, it makes it difficult for them to get their much-needed rest and sleep.


This phase begins when a baby is around 2 to 3 weeks of age and peaks when they are about 6 weeks old. 


The witching hour phase is temporal; most babies outgrow it when they are about 3-4 months old.

Note that:

The specific timing and intensity of the witching hour differ from one baby to another. For most babies, the witching hour starts late afternoon or early evening, while others experience theirs at nighttime or early afternoon.

Why Does the Witching Hour Occur?

Get this:

Babies go through various growth spurts and developmental milestones during the first few months of life. One of these milestones includes a disruption in their circadian rhythm

In fact:

According to the National Health Service, newborns sleep up to 18 hours daily, decreasing to 12-15 hours at 12 months. These changes can foster increased fussiness, irritation, crying, and sleep struggles for your baby.


They are natural responses as your baby’s nervous and digestive systems are still developing, making them more sensitive to external stimuli. 


Let’s look at other factors known to cause the witching hour in babies.

1. Exhaustion

It’s no news; newborns get tired too. 

Matter of fact:

It is very easy for babies to become very tired because they have small wake windows, depending on their age. The fatigue they experience is often due to inadequate nap time or overstimulation.

When babies are exhausted, hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline flow into their bloodstream. This makes it harder to soothe and put them to sleep.

2. Cluster Feeding


Babies get fussy when they’re hungry. And newborns around 2 to 3 weeks of age experience growth spurts which could cause them to be hungrier than usual. 


They’ll want to feed every 30 minutes to 1 or 2 hours rather than following a more regular feeding schedule. This frequent need for food is known as cluster feeding. 

Cluster feeding can be demanding and challenging for parents, especially if they are breastfeeding exclusively. 


Failure to meet their feeding needs triggers the witching hour.

3. Overstimulation

Throughout the day, babies are exposed to various stimuli like loud noises and bright light. The accumulation of these sensory inputs could be too much for your baby’s developing nervous system to handle.

As such, it’ll be harder for your baby to settle for rest at the end of the day.


Ensure your baby gets enough rest and is not overexposed to these stimuli. Doing otherwise only results in them getting extra cranky.

Annie baby monitor instagram

How Can Parents Manage the Witching Hour?


The witching hour is challenging for many parents, as babies tend to become cranky and difficult to soothe. It is an unpleasant experience that deprives them and their little ones of rest.


With the right know-how, parents can efficiently control the witching hour and create a more comfortable environment for their infant.

Here are some comprehensive tips on how to cope with the witching hour:

1. Create a Consistent Sleep Schedule

Babies experience the witching hour because they cannot get enough sleep during the day. Thankfully, establishing a consistent sleep routine solves that problem effectively.


Study your baby’s natural sleep patterns so you can tailor their nap schedule to take advantage of the time they would tire naturally. 


You should consistently incorporate activities such as swaddling, rocking, and using white noise before putting your baby down to sleep. 

These activities help infants form sleep cues and healthy sleep hygiene. Additionally, an effective sleep schedule ensures that your baby gets enough rest and reduces the severity of the witching hour.

2. Establish Routines

Establishing routines for your baby involves creating predictable and organized daily schedules, including regular feeding, sleeping, and playtime sessions. 

Fact is:

Babies thrive on routines because it makes them form desired habits. When they have a routine, they start to recognize the pattern of events throughout the day. 

This predictability can help reduce anxiety and fussiness during the witching hour.


Pay attention to your baby’s cues while trying to stick to the routine as consistently as possible. It may take some time for your baby to adjust, so be patient and give them time to adapt.

Note that:

While having a routine is essential, it’s equally important to remain flexible. Babies’ needs can change, and some days might not go as planned. Essentially, be prepared to bend your schedule when necessary.

3. Incorporate Balanced Feeding


Babies have small stomachs and relatively high metabolic rates. This means they require frequent feedings to support their growth and development.


Balanced feeding refers to providing your baby with appropriate and regular nourishment throughout the day. This way, their energy level remains stable.


Pay attention to your baby’s hunger cues and feed them on-demand, especially during the early months.


Crying is a late hunger cue. So watch out for earlier signs of hunger, such as rooting, restlessness, lip smacking, or sucking on their fists.

Again, if your baby becomes fussy during feeding, experiment with different nursing or bottle-feeding positions to see what works best for them.

Pro Tip:

While ensuring your baby gets enough nourishment, do not overfeed them. Overfeeding can lead to discomfort or an upset tummy, which may worsen fussiness during the witching hour.

4. Create a Calm Environment

A calming environment during the witching hour is essential to help soothe a fussy baby and promote a more peaceful atmosphere. It helps make the witching hour more manageable for you and your little one.

As such:

It’s advisable to use warm or soft lighting in your baby’s nursery. White noise machines and gentle lullabies also offer comfort by mimicking the soothing atmosphere of the womb. 

In addition:

Swaddling helps to provide a sense of security for newborns and keeps them relaxed. Lastly, maintaining a comfortable room temperature facilitates the baby’s overall comfort during the witching hour.

5. Give Massages and Baths

During the witching hour, your baby is in extreme discomfort. But you can soothe them with baths and massages.

We all know: 

The feel of water on the skin calms everyone, and babies are no exception.

If your baby is agitated, bathing can help calm their fuss. Massages also do wonders, helping your baby relax and fall asleep. It helps ease accumulated stress or pressure points in the arms, legs, or shoulders. In addition, Healthline advises starting from the head before moving to the feet. 

But remember:

No one size fits all solution exists, as no two babies are the same. They each have specific needs, and you must be attentive to them.

Can the Witching Hour Be Prevented?

Get this: 

The witching hour is a natural phase in your baby’s growth and can not be prevented entirely. 


It’s a sign of their neurological and physiological development, and most babies tend to outgrow this phase on their own—with parents’ help, of course.


These help measures parents can apply usually include maintaining a consistent sleep schedule tailored to their baby’s natural sleep pattern. A well-established sleep routine involves setting regular bedtimes and wake-up times. 


Introducing white noises and activities such as rocking, swaddling, and warm baths assist in preventing the witching hour.


Create a conducive sleep environment for your baby. The sleep environment goes a long way in determining sleep quality.

This space must have no noise, bright lights, or safety hazards. A calm, predictable sleep environment helps your baby feel more relaxed and at peace, reducing the chances of the witching hour.

Final Tip: Annie Baby Monitor – Your Baby Sleep Solution Helper

When you’re dealing with the fussiness of your baby during the witching hour, you need all the help you can get.

That’s where Annie Baby Monitor’s baby tracker feature comes in handy.

You can easily track and analyze your baby’s activities during this crucial time and use the insights to create a sleep routine that will turn the witching hour into a peaceful bedtime transition.

With Annie Baby Monitor by your side, you’re sure to conquer the twilight meltdown and enjoy restful nights and calm evenings with your little one.


In summary:

The witching hour begins around late afternoon or evening (5 p.m. to 11 p.m.). During this time, your 2 to 3-week-old baby becomes fussy, agitated, and difficult to settle. Also, the witching hour can be caused by factors such as overstimulation, hunger, or exhaustion.


Managing the witching hour requires tactful know-how and applying tips like:

  • Cluster feeding your baby.
  • Giving massages and baths.
  • Creating a calm environment.
  • Establishing schedules.


I hope you found this article helpful. Feel free to share your tips and experiences with the witching hour in the comment section.

FAQ: Witching Hour Baby

What Is the Witching Hour, and Why Does it Happen?

The witching hour is a period during the late afternoon or evening when your baby suddenly becomes fussy and agitated. It happens due to its developmental changes and maturing circadian rhythm. Hunger, overtiredness, and overstimulation usually aggravate it.

How Can I Soothe My Baby During the Witching Hour?

To soothe your baby during the witching hour, try creating a calm environment with dim lighting and gentle white noise. Use gentle movements like rocking or swaying, offer a pacifier for non-nutritive sucking, and provide skin-to-skin contact to promote comfort and relaxation. Remember, figuring out what works best for your baby requires patience and persistence.

Are There Any Ways to Prevent or Minimize the Witching Hour?

The witching hour is not entirely preventable. However, establishing a consistent sleep routine and a serene sleep environment can help minimize the intensity and occurrence. Engaging in soothing activities and avoiding overstimulation close to bedtime also helps minimize the likelihood of the witching hour.

Do All Babies Go Through the Witching Hour?

No, not all babies go through the witching hour. While many babies may experience this phenomenon, not every baby goes through it, and its occurrence varies from child to child.

Scroll Up Back to articles

Share your experience with us!

Don't miss anything!