My 4-month-old baby is so cranky in the evening! She starts crying after 5 pm, and the only thing that makes her stop is a walk in her stroller. What to do!?

The mom in this Q&A describes the so-called witching hour perfectly; a healthy, happy baby who has a really fussy period every evening. Let’s go through why this is and what to do about it. 

baby cranky in the eveningPin

Mom’s Question:
My 4-month-old daughter always starts crying for some reason after 5 pm, and the only thing that makes her stop is a walk in her stroller. Sometimes she will fall asleep part way through our walk. She sleeps 11 hours every night without waking and takes a few naps during the day.

The problem is we live in Colorado, and the season is about to change. I can’t figure out how to make her stop crying for the 2 hours before she goes to bed. Once it starts snowing here, I am afraid she is just going to cry non-stop for that 2 hour period in the evening, and it’s so hard to hear. What can I do?


Easy Baby Life:

Tips For The Evening Cranky Times

The witching hour

This is SOOO common! The evening cranky times! Firstly remind yourself everything is a stage, and they do grow out of it!

There is nothing like a crying baby to raise our stress levels. You are very lucky she is sleeping so long at night; it is so much easier when you have had a good night’s sleep!

To give you an idea of how common this is; these cranky evening times even have a name  – “the witching hour”! Just as with your baby, this fussy time typically occurs at some point between 5:00 pm and 11: p.m. So again, this is common and nothing to worry about.

Fussy Baby In The Evening Due to Us as Parents

Intensive Time in the Home

The main reason babies get cranky at this time of night is you! It is usually at this time that we are getting tired, that our attention is shifting to getting a meal ready, maybe looking after other children, doing a quick tidy up before Daddy gets home, bringing the washing in… So baby picks up on all this and can’t cope. The younger the baby, the more tuned in and sensitive they are to everything that is going on in you, so when your attention shifts, they become fearful, and the more frustrated you get with them crying, the more anxious and upset they get. A vicious circle!

Overtired Baby

Add to that, that the baby is also getting tired from a day full of impressions, daylight, sounds, and activities!

How to Cope With and Mitigate the Cranky Evenings

I would highly recommend you try a baby sling. Many babies settle much quicker in a sling; they can hear your heartbeat, smell you, and you can be talking and move about doing things around the house. Don’t just use it at night, though, or she may well associate it with the busy time, try during the day when you are both more relaxed, so it is a happy, comfortable place to be.

Also, try organizing your day so there is not such a busy time in the evening. Prepare dinner in the morning, leave the tidy up until she is in bed, and try to focus on keeping yourself really chilled out at that time. Maybe you have some soothing music you love; it will help you to relax, and she too. Take a bath together, and change the routine so it is a fun, peaceful time rather than an endurance. Water is often very soothing, so a long play in a warm bath might do the trick. You can find more play tips as well as developmental milestones for your baby here.

The evening walk is a great way to settle a baby (and get some exercise!), but as you say, it will become harder as it gets colder. Unless the weather is really bad, you can still rug up well and head off for a walk, and maybe by the time you can’t, she will have grown out of the evening crying! You can also do “stroller walks” at home by simply taking the stroller inside your house and pushing it back and forth, preferably in a calm environment to help her relax.

Wishing you JOY,

More Crying 4-Month-Old Babies

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This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Belina

    My baby girl is going to turn 4 months in 2 weeks and she is still cranky she did suffer of colics when she turned 4 weeks old and till this day she is fine with me giving her gripe water for her colics. I had her on enfamil gentlese but wen she turn 3 months I put her on regular enfamil lipil because I saw that with enfamil gentlese she was not gaing weight as she was suppose to. I really dont know what to do because there is a certain time that she gets cranky and it is starting at 5pm (mostly everyday)

    1. Paula @ easybabylife


      Your baby is still very young, and by the end of the day will be getting tired. Plus you will be too! And your little one will be picking up on you wanted to get on with chores, feeling a bit cranky yourself and because your little one is so tuned into you, it all contributes to a crying time.

      Baby wearing is often then best thing for a grumpy baby, if you can get a sling or front-pack. Hearing your heart beat, smelling you, being warm and safe often helps a cranky baby settle. Plus you can get on and do a few chores or get dinner ready.

      Some babies also love being in water, and a warm bath can settle and relax them and changes the dynamic.

      Just be as calm and soothing as you can, and remember, it is all just a stage and the older they get the more they can settle without you all the time.

      All the best,