Understanding the witching hour and how to manage it•
You are likely familiar with the idea of the witching hour. It’s that period of time before your baby’s bedtime when they are super fussy—maybe even inconsolable. Scientists believe what’s happening during the witching hour is caused by your baby’s immature sleep rhythm.
For adults, even though we get tired at night, our internal clock knows bedtime is coming, and it can hold things together until then when we suddenly fall asleep. Babies, on the other hand, are experiencing high sleep pressure at night, even though it's not yet time for bed, which is why they get cranky.
When I had my children, I found it so hard to not nurse when they got fussy. Nursing to soothe is often a reliable solution to a baby during witching hour—but it can become a trap if done too often. If baby is offered the breast every time they become fussy, they may begin to just snack, and then become hungry again very soon, making them even more fussy. It can become a challenging cycle for everyone.
Here are a few ways to break the nurse-to-soothe cycle:
* Ask a non-feeding partner or family member to soothe baby when they're being fussy.
* Try rocking baby, or taking her out for a walk.
* Give him a bath.
* Play together on the floor.
After a few days of consistently sticking to your nursing schedule by using other soothing techniques, your baby will become less reliant on nursing-to-soothe and you'll both feel better for it.
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