If your child is no longer a baby, you remember the witching hour. If you recently had a child, you'll soon be introduced to it and you won't soon forget it. The witching hour is that time every day around 5pm or 6pm when your newborn baby starts crying for what seems like no reason. Nothing calms them. Nothing soothes them. And you, as the Mom, are so done with being ON for the day you are at your whits end with all of the screaming. It happens right around the time your husband walks in the door from a long day at work and all he wants is to kiss his wife and cuddle with his newborn baby; but that's not what happens. Instead, he opens the door and is smacked in the face with a stressed out wife and a screaming child; relaxing right?
In our house, this time was known as the Bitching hour and here's how our nightly discussion would go:
The Hubs: What's wrong with him?
Stressed out wife: I don't know (read: if I knew that, don't you think I would have stopped him from crying by now?!?!?)
The Hubs: I think he's hungry...
Stressed out wife: he's not hungry, I just fed him
The Hubs: I think he's hungry...
Stressed out wife: Trust me, that's not it...I've tried everything else and nothing is working
The Hubs: Well, what else could it be? I think he's hungry...
We would eventually get to the point where I would give Mr. L a bottle just to prove The Hubs wrong, and each night Mr. L would suck that bottle down as if his life depended on it. I would be beyond annoyed that even though I had just fed Mr. L moments before The Hubs walked in the door, he was apparently hungry again and I felt like I knew nothing about my own child's schedule. I have no idea why those four little words (I-think-he's-hungry) drove me so insane, but they did. To this day, I can hear The Hubs saying them and it gets my blood rising. I think its because I felt like the feeding, since I was exclusively breastfeeding at this point, was 100% my deal. If the reason for my babies cries was that he was hungry and I was denying him that satisfaction then I felt I was failing as a Mother. Not a good feeling. Add to that it was something that only I could do, meaning The Hubs couldn't offer me a break in this situation which is what I so desperately needed at that hour, it just set me off.
As it turns out, the reason for Mr. L's cries was not lack of food. And it wasn't even a dirty diaper or gas. It was, as it is for many new babies, a case of the witching hour. A time comes each day when for somewhere between 30 and 60 minutes the baby is in an in between state of sleep and awake. They aren't tired enough to go to sleep, and yet they are too tired to feel settled. The Witching Hour can cause a lot of stress for new moms and new parents together because there is nothing you can do! The good thing about The Witching Hour is that it doesn't last long; just about an hour, and it only goes on for a matter of weeks.
It's a tough time for everyone, and like all things that come with the first few stages of parenthood - this stage will pass and it will get better. Just do better than I did and listen to your husband's suggestions, and if his suggestions are driving you up the wall, tell him so and let him take a hand in helping out in a more direct way. Motherhood is hard enough on a good day, don't make it harder on yourself by putting all of the hard work and burden on your shoulders when you have a willing partner to help in times of need.
Someone please remind me to read that last paragraph when we have our second child!