I’m gonna give my 9-week-old baby some serious props right now. So far, homegirl is a go-with-the-flow type gal. She sleeps great. The hours she’s awake? Happy camper. She’s been smiling since 4-weeks old, coos and ahhs, and gives ample warning when she has a need (eat, change diaper, go to sleep). Sometimes I am amazed at how well she adapts to positions and situations that I, personally, would freak out about if I were in (example: naked and cold from the waste down with very little control over my limbs, at the mercy of these people I just met – aka, diaper change).
Here is the but…
A few weeks ago, this weird thing started happening. Some nights, between 7-10pm, there is a possibility of this hour or two where all of a sudden the easy going small person was all of a sudden not going so easy. Maybe bouncing, nursing, or swaying would work for a minute… maybe two… but that.was.it.
Now, my first daughter never had this mysterious nightly fuss hour because she was fussy from the moment she woke in the morning until she went to bed at night (tummy troubles). Having a baby be happy in the day during the first few months of her life (aka, the 4th trimester), was a foreign concept to me. So when my second daughter showed up happy to be out of the womb, I was, well, confused.
But back to the fussy hour. After a little help from some mama friends I discovered that it’s not just my child experiencing this odd night time fussiness. Nope. This is global friends, and it has a name.
It’s called, The Witching Hour.
Now wikepedia (tride and true resource for absolute truth) claims that the witching hour “refers to the time of day when supernatural creatures such as witches, demons, and ghosts are thought to appear and to be at their most powerful and black magic to be most effective. It may be used to refer to any arbitrary time of bad luck or in which something bad has a greater likelihood to occur.”
So basically, in reference to the experience of apparently most babes world wide, for some reason, around supper time, babies around the world (time zone by time zone of course) begin to lose their cool. I just get this picture of a baby chorus, like a bell choir, with varying pitches of screaming occurring at timed intervals and moving it’s way around the globe as the sun sets on each part of the world.
So then of course lies the question, what the heck can you do for a baby who has no reason (apparent to adults) to cry much other than to just exercise their right to be heard (as well as their ability to raise the blood pressure of new parents and annoy the ears of veteran parents.)
My answer? DISTRACT
I have come up with 5 distraction tactics that could possibly save many families nights of suffering through frustrated, tired, angry, inconsolable baby hour (and I’m not talking about the babe feeling this way, I’m talking about everyone else around him/her… )
1. A DANCE PARTY
Nothing distracts like a bunch of new sounds, rhythms and beats mixed with your family moving around like total goofballs. Throw on some Michael Jackson or Justin Beiber and get goofy. I’ll speak from experience and say it really helps to throw a silly toddler into the mix. If loud noise bugs your babe, keep it soft or make it a silent dance party with the occasional explosion of laughter. If this doesn’t work, move on to #2…
2. BABY BONGO
The “baby bongo”, recently coined by my sister, is one of our tride and true cures for the baby blues. It’s like it sounds. Place your baby face down on your lap (make sure you are sitting please…), with their belly in between your two legs, their head hanging off the side of one leg and their feet hanging off the opposite side of the other leg. Softly pat their back and booty. If you’re not enjoying the sweet sound of a silent happy babe, move on to #3…
3. RED, WHITE, BLACK
Last night, during the worst WH yet, we laid our baby on the pack n’ play in our playroom to check her diaper. She looked to the left and was instantly silenced from her chronic crying. I was confused, until I looked to her left. She was staring at a Chinese lantern hanging from the ceiling. Nothing special about a latern except that ours is BLACK AND WHITE. Google can tell you all about an infant’s special love for high contrast imagery. Put a baby in front of a contrasting image and BAM! Peace inside both of your souls. But if you try this and you’re finding no relief, move on to #4…
4. PUT THE BABY ON YO BACK
SAFELY) wearing your baby on your back can free up your arms and give you a bit more ease to focus your energies on doing things your baby might like… bouncing, squatting, jiggling, walking, etc… and, bonus, it high tails your booty into exercise mode. Or just frees up your hands to get at that mile high pile of dishes. Or drink a couple glasses of wine (one in each hand). If this is seriously failing, get to target and buy yourself a #5…
5. BOUNCE IT OUT
Originally bought to aid with labor, our exercise ball has given us hours of assistance with the littles. Our toddler still likes being bounced all swaddled up by her daddy. She calls it “bouncing baby burrito” and laughs the whole time. I’d like to get all fancy on you and give you the sensory explanation for the reason why a screaming baby gets all quiet and happy during the up and down motion (find out why here), but I’ll skip the college lesson and just give you straight advice. Try it. If all else fails, this could… also fail. But, it’s worth the $10 at Target and a college try! And at least your exercising your right to have strong glutes.