Ask most new parents what they want and they’ll probably say “more sleep”. New babies are notoriously challenging during the evening and night and the frequent wake-ups are the source of much exhaustion among the adults in their lives. Many babies have a “witching hour” that begins around dinner time and goes on until they finally fall asleep, sometimes many hours later. While this is totally typical and usually not a cause for any concern, that’s little comfort when you’re at your wit’s end trying to get a fussing baby to go to sleep so you and your partner can have a few minutes of adult time before you collapse yourselves.
What follows is a transcript of a recent bedtime in my house:
6:45 Baby is in bouncy seat while the rest of the family eats dinner. She begins to fuss. Mommy eats faster.
6:55 Bath time. Big brother wants to help. Mommy explains that he cannot wash baby’s whole head with washcloth.
7:15 Baby is bathed and in jammies. Mommy optimistically takes her into a quiet room to nurse hoping heavy eyes indicate she’ll drift right off.
7:25 Baby drifts off.
7:30 Baby awakes with piercing shriek. Mommy burps her and switches sides.
7:40 More piercing shrieks. Mommy transfers baby to Moby in hopes of settling her.
7:45 More piercing shrieks. Daddy finishes putting big brother to bed and comes in to see what’s the matter. Mommy dispatches him to fetch Mylicon to administer to baby.
8:00 Shrieks have abated after a series of Mylicon-induced farts. Farts have not induced sleep.
8:10 Daddy straps baby into Ergo and goes for a walk to get her to sleep. Mommy brags about how awesome Daddy is on Facebook.
8:30 Daddy returns with baby asleep and sits down to watch Olympics with baby still in Ergo. Bumps baby’s head on his collarbone. Piercing shrieks. Daddy heads back out for more walking.
8:45 Daddy returns again with sleeping baby. Attempts to transfer her to bassinet. Transfer fails resulting in piercing shrieks.
8:50 Mommy steps in to nurse baby in guest room right off the living room. Daddy goes back to watching Olympics in living room.
9:00 Baby nursing. Mommy watches pattern of light from tv on the wall. Notes that commercials have lots of flashing.
9:05 Baby nursing. Mommy wonders what event Daddy is watching.
9:10 Baby nursing. Mommy has “Under the Boardwalk” in her head. No idea why.
9:15 Baby stops nursing, falls asleep. Mommy is afraid to move.
9:25 Baby is deeply asleep. Mommy gathers her courage and moves her to bassinet. Holds breath.
9:27 Success! Sleeping baby stays asleep!
9:30 Mommy drinks wine.
How does bedtime go with your baby? What tricks do you use to get through the witching hour?
Photo credit: photo stock
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