Unsettled Baby – Evening Fretting

In the first few weeks of a newborns life many new parents find they have to deal with an unsettled baby.

Your unsettled baby may be suffering with evening fretting. They may become tricky to calm and settle any time between 5pm and midnight. This fretting may last for only an hour or it may last all evening.

Having a baby that cries every evening for many weeks is very hard to cope with and many of my moms have told me they found this time of day the hardest to deal with.

For many newborns the early evening is when life starts to overwhelm them. It can last for 4 to 6 weeks but once your baby starts to mature you will find that they are able to cope with life more in the day and bedtime will then get much easier.

There is often no one cause to having an unsettled baby in the evenings, but there are many things that you can do in the day to help lessen baby evening fretting symptoms and make baby bedtime as easy and relaxed as possible for all of you.

The first thing to do however, if you have an unsettled baby, is rule out baby colic. The symptoms of baby colic and evening fretting are very similar to the untrained eye but they are two very different things.

An Unsettled baby will cry each evening as will a baby with colic but the baby who is unsettled will be suffering more from total system overload, possible hunger, and will be over tired.

The baby with colic will have digestive issues, will be in pain with trapped wind, tummy spasms and will draw his legs up into his body. His cry will sound more pained compared to a baby who is ‘overdone’.

Please take a look at my baby colic and baby colic remedies pages to rule out colic in your unsettled baby.

The symptoms of an unsettled baby are:

1) Crying for many hours at a time and it may seem that nothing can soothe then.
2) Unlike your baby’s hungry or tired cry, the evening fretting cry sounds quite different and much more distressed but is not a baby in pain cry.
3) Your unsettled baby may seem very hyper and what I call ‘buzzy’. Their breathing may seem quite fast as well.
4) There may be no obvious cause of the crying and a change of nappy, winding, or feeding baby more may not help.

If I find myself caring for a baby that becomes an unsettled baby in the evenings I take a look at the following daytime issues that may be the cause of baby fretting each evening:

1) First I rule out that baby has colic. Please take a look at my Baby colic and Baby colic remedies pages for the signs, symptoms and remedies.

2) Then I take a look at baby’s daytime routine. I check to see if they are getting enough food in the day. Many newborns are happy to sleep all day if they are allowed. A newborn baby over a 24 hour period will need a certain amount of milk for his body weight and age. If he is not allowed to feed every 3 to 4 hours during the day then he may become fretful due to hunger in the evening and will need to play catch up and will cluster feed.

3) I then look at baby’s routine to make sure that along with feeding often, he is also allowed to rest in a quiet place as well. Newborns will sleep anywhere in the first weeks but this does not mean that they are not taking in all that is going on around them while they sleep. To get a good sleep it’s best to pop baby in his bed for at least 2 naps in the day.

4) If you are a breastfeeding mum, are you trying too rest, drinking plenty and feeding yourself on a regular basis? Breastfeeding does have a design flaw where your baby will be at his most hungry in the early evening but your milk supply, due to busy days may be at it’s lowest. It can help to express just a little milk over the day so that you have some extra to give baby if you think your supply has been drained.

5) Some babies come into this world and they seem to be on high alert all the time. Every new thing seems to make them cry and they take a while to ‘get the hang of’ being in the big wide world. Having now looked after 78 plus babies it is easy to see that some babies are just more sensitive than others. It’s not a problem if you accept that your little one is struggling and do not worry, I have seen the stressed baby turn into a very confident toddler.

I hope that my unsettled baby page has helped you understand why some babies fret each evening.

Please take a look at my unsettled baby remedies page to find out what you can do to help your baby settle better in the evenings and get a peaceful night watching the T.V.

Please help us to expand by clicking the face book like button at the bottom of this page.