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Lullababy SOS – A Detailed Guide for Managing the Witching Hour and Colic

sleep and excessive crying

A Comprehensive Guide to Navigating the Witching Hour and Colic

If you find yourself cradling a fussy baby during the mysterious witching hour or suspecting colic, you’re in the company of many tired moms seeking solace. In this in-depth guide, we’ll explore the nuances between these challenges and equip you with detailed strategies to ease these demanding moments with your little one.

Understanding the Witching Hour:
The witching hour, stretching from late afternoon to evening (approximately 5 pm to 9 pm), can persist for several weeks, peaking around 6-8 weeks and gradually improving by 3-4 months. While often mislabeled as colic, the witching hour is a normal developmental phase affecting babies under three months old.

Sensitive Babies and the 4th Trimester:
With over two decades of experience, I’ve discerned that some babies, particularly those who are premature or exhibit a robust startle reflex, may benefit from an extended “4th trimester.” These babies, prone to quick mood changes, frequent feeding, and an affinity for constant holding, may necessitate a unique approach to soothing.

Detailed Tips for Managing the Witching Hour:

  1. Preventing Overtiredness:
    • Limit passing your baby around during visits to prevent overstimulation.
    • Allow quiet time after outings, offering a low-stimulation environment for your baby to process experiences.
  2. Flexible Routine Implementation:
    • Introduce a flexible routine early on to help babies acclimate to the external world.
    • Establish a predictable daily flow, which can provide comfort and security for your baby.
  3. Low-Stimulation Choices:
    • Opt for simple, black-and-white toys, minimizing bright and colourful distractions.
    • Create a serene environment, especially during the early evening, with dim lights and calming music.
  4. Embracing Fresh Air:
    • Take a leisurely walk in the park, benefiting from the quiet, green surroundings and the contrasting blue sky.
  5. Winding Down Techniques:
    • Gradually decrease stimulation as the evening approaches, creating a positive bedtime routine, such as the Lullababy SOS routine.
    • These intentional practices send strong signals to your baby that it’s time to unwind and settle for the night.
  6. Soothing Techniques for Upset Babies:
    • Swaddle your baby tightly to decrease the startle reflex, aiding in calming.
    • Darken the room, utilize white noise, and offer a feed or dummy to create a soothing environment.
    • Engage in rhythmic rocking and patting in a cradle position, mimicking the heartbeat noise, until your baby calms down and falls asleep.

Understanding and Managing Colic:
Recognizing when your baby is overstimulated is crucial. Elevated cortisol levels can lead to stress and prolonged crying. To address this, we turn to Dr. Harvey Carp’s Five S’s.

Extended Discussion of Dr. Harvey Carp’s Five S’s:

  1. Swaddle:
    • Emphasize the importance of a tight swaddle, even for babies who initially resist it.
    • Highlight how this initial step sets the foundation for subsequent calming techniques.
  2. Side or Stomach Position:
    • Clarify that while the back remains the safest sleeping position, holding a fussy baby on their side or stomach during wakeful periods can provide comfort.
  3. Shoosh:
    • Discuss how loud shooshing can effectively mimic the womb’s sound, providing familiarity and reassurance.
  4. Swing or Sway:
    • Elaborate on the benefits of repetitive rocking or swaying to create a rhythmic and comforting motion for the baby.
  5. Suck:
    • Stress the importance of encouraging sucking, whether through breastfeeding, bottle feeding, or a dummy, as a final step to calming.

By consistently applying these comprehensive techniques from the onset of colic or the witching hour, you not only reduce nightly struggles and upset durations but also foster a more serene environment for the entire family. Remember, each baby is unique, so feel free to adjust these strategies to cater to your little one’s individual needs. With the right knowledge and a touch of patience, you’re well on your way to soothing your baby through these challenging phases.

Practice builds confidence. You’ve got this!

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