We’ve all heard the saying ‘spitting the dummy’ but it’s not until you become a parent that you can say you’ve actually experienced it first hand. And boy, they can be tough!
When it comes to babies the majority of these dummy spits seem to come at bedtime. They don’t call it witching hour for nothing. Just as we’re dreaming of a hot meal and some trashy TV – it’s like they know.
When you’ve got a screaming baby on your hip it can be hard to see through the noise and chaos and to figure out a solution, and oftentimes it can actually be something much more simple than we realise.
You’ve fed them? Tick. They’ve got a clean nappy? Tick. So here are 8 other reasons your baby might be ‘spitting the dummy’ and what to do about it…
1. Their age
Young babies are going to cry. There’s no avoiding it, and for the first 3 months or so they will typically go through this witching hour which lasts from around 5 pm to around 11 pm. During this time they may be unsettled, crying or all-out screaming. This is developmentally normal and tends to ease around the 3-month point.
Once they are past 3 months, the witching hour doesn’t necessarily end (many parents with older kids will tell you it never ends) but thankfully the all-out screaming sessions tend to become fewer and farther between as your baby grows.
2. Seeking extra comfort
A soother can be a great way to help your baby feel calm and relaxed during those bedtime hours. Babies often take a little while to get the day/night distinction but their bodies know when they’re nearing the end of another big day and it can all become a little too much. A soother can be a great tool for helping your baby find comfort and to learn to self-settle when it’s time for bed.
3. Understanding awake times
We are ALL about the awake times at Kiindred as we know they are key to understanding our baby’s developmental needs. Knowing how long your baby can stay awake for (it changes as they grow), helps you plan your day and know when your baby needs to have their naps. If the baby hasn’t slept enough during the day you can almost guarantee that a dummy spit will come at bedtime.
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4. Are they overtired?
When we don’t know our baby’s awake times it often means we’re not getting them down for a nap soon enough. When a baby is overtired, their body produces more cortisol and adrenaline to compensate for the lack of sleep which is what makes them extremely difficult to settle. Once you do eventually get them to sleep, they don’t sleep as well and will often wake cranky and still tired.
5. Pull bedtime forward
If your baby has missed their naps during the day or they haven’t slept as long as they usually do, don’t be afraid to pull that bedtime forward to compensate. Especially in those early months, there is no need for schedules or routines and their sleep should be based around need. So even if they aren’t due to go to bed until 7 pm, by pulling that forward an hour you might be able to avoid a full-on meltdown.
6. A bedtime “routine”
In those first few months, we use the word routine very lightly as babies at this age are feeding and sleeping around the clock. However, incorporating a bedtime routine – which might include a bath, some massage, a book and cuddles – can be a great way to help your baby settle into relaxation mode.
What we can often forget as humans who’ve been on this earth for a few decades is that everything babies come into contact with is stimulating all their senses. To us, a toy in their face is funny and cute but to them, it may be exciting for 1 minute but trying to process it quickly becomes exhausting. Remember that newborn babies can become overstimulated very quickly. With time they will come to love the toys and bright colours and everything the world has to offer, but go easy and don’t overwhelm them. As evening kicks in, keep things quiet, calm and relaxed.
8. Sometimes it’s just all about the cuddles
You can try every trick in the book, but some days babies will just cry and all you can do is give them cuddles and ride it out. Babies are pretty simple when it comes to their needs; eat, sleep, poop, repeat! So when all else fails, sometimes all they want is just a big old hug from you – their favourite person in the whole world!
Bedtime woes can be difficult, and we’d be lying if we said they will disappear altogether (hello, cheeky toddlers!) but the gut-wrenching crying and bedtime woes of those early months won’t last forever!
This is a paid partnership between Kiindred x Medela.