I’m sure my husband refers to this term for fussy evenings as the bitching hour in his head. Except it’s not an hour. It lasts all bloody evening and leads to endless expletive-filled rants from me questioning what the hell this baby wants from me.
Where did the name “the witching hour” come from? It’s completely inaccurate. If it were an hour I would be totally cool with that. An hour of fussing a day for the first few months would have been a total breeze by comparison.
Bubba One would fuss in the evening until about 9pm. She was utterly inconsolable and all we could do was sit rocking her back and forth while singing. It only lasted until about week six so we were extremely lucky. She was easy compared to what came next.
If one is a serene baby who occasionally lets out a squeak of annoyance and 10 is a baby who can wail at full blast with their red little face screwed up in a way that looks like they might explode then Bubba Two fussed at about a 15. She just wouldn’t settle all evening. By all evening I mean until midnight by which point I had given all hope of her calming. From here she downgraded her protest to a six broken up by about 45 mins of sleep here and there until morning. It lasted 12 weeks. It was horrifying.
Nothing breaks the spirit of a new parent more than endless crying. It’s not just the worry that you don’t know what they want and you’ve tried literally everything, it’s that the crying is a total brain drain. One evening as Bubba Two screamed into her second hour of fussing my husband turned to me and said: “you know the military play recordings of babies crying as part of their torture and interrogation techniques.”
I turned to the place that all mums spend about 10 years of their life visiting for answers – Google. It’s normal, it said. It won’t last, it said. Try white noise, blah blah blah.
In the end I went for a consistent approach. I went through a bedtime routine every evening at 7pm even when it went out the window every time. Eventually she calmed and went to sleep in her own bed without help or a fuss.
The fact is all we could do in the end is ride it out. If you’re experiencing this now you have my utmost sympathy. Know that it does end, things do get easier.
In the meantime try taking an hour off when you can to do whatever chills you out. A glass of wine or, dare I say, treat yourself to a shower. Just a little break can make the world of difference before you steel yourself for another bedtime battle.