Is witching hour the same as colic or are they different? let’s figure out which one it is so you what to do.
Here comes the evening hours and you are gearing up for some tears. Baby is fussy, inconsolable, not wanting to sleep, and you’ll try ANYTHING to try and get baby some relief.
The question is… if you want to put a name on it.
Is it witching hours or colic?
Can you tell a difference?
The answer is: yes.
As a certified baby and toddler sleep consultant and mom of 5 I can tell you that there’s a difference. Having had 5 babies, none of which had colic, but all of which had witching hours from time to time, you can know.
How to know if baby crying every night is colic or witching hours
Colic is diagnosed by doctors if baby cries for something like 3 hours at a time, at least 3 nights a week, for 3 weeks or more.
There is little to do to comfort a baby with colic except wait for time to pass. One day, around 3 to 4 months you’ll wake up one day and baby will simply not be fussy. Not be crying. They’ll go to bed, sleep, be comforted, and you’ll feel like it was all a bad dream.
Moms survive this period by having help, getting ear plugs if needed, switching out who tries to soothe baby while crying, and a lot of prayer.
How to know if it’s witching hours
Witching hours can last a couple of hours, but they are more random. It may be a night or two a week, but you can usually soothe baby and comfort her.
A good daily routine, an age appropriate bedtime, and wind down routines can go a long way to preventing witching hours. Settle baby in their own crib, give full feeds, and avoid over stimulation. These strategies help witching hours be less frequent and can even eliminate them.
If you move bedtime up, have a good wind down routine, create an optimal sleep environment, help baby settle to sleep and are sure baby is well rested, baby will typically be content.
If you do all these things and nothing works… it’s likely colic.
Sometimes overtiredness manifests as witching hours or even colic
A great starting point if you have a baby who is having witching hours (or you’re trying to rule out colic) in the evening time is to get on a good predictable daily routine. You don’t have to be a slave to the clock or anything, okay.
Don’t send me hate mail.
But, making sure baby’s needs are met in a predictable way means that your baby won’t really need to cry much throughout the day, nor at night. Babies who won’t nap and are super worn out often fuss in the evening hours.
Focusing on good naps during the day, good full feeds, and avoiding over stimulation in the evening hours can often eliminate all evening crying.
You still may have some tears, but not nearly as many.
Here’s a handy dandy list of 28 things to try so baby will stop fighting sleep and sleep longer and later.