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Why is my breastfed baby fussy in the evenings?

Many babies have a regular fussy period which usually occurs in the late afternoon or evening. Normally, fussy periods start at around 2 to 3 weeks, peak at 6 weeks and are gone by 3 to 4 months. Fussy periods generally last an average of 2 to 4 hours per day. Many parents wonder if these fussy periods are normal or problematic. Normal fussiness tends to occur during the same time of day and the level of fussiness tends to stay the same. With normal fussiness, babies will respond to the same things each time such as being rocked, being held or frequent breastfeeding.
 
Normal fussiness tends to occur during the time of day that your baby stays awake the longest, the most common time being in the evening right before your baby gets the longest period of sleep.
 
Causes of fussiness
 
If you feel that your baby’s fussiness isn’t normal it’s never a bad idea to get your baby checked out by your G.P. to rule out any illness. Common causes include:
 
  • Foremilk-hindmilk imbalance (When your baby consume too much of the low fat milk and not enough of the rich hind milk)
  • Forceful let down  (oversupply of milk, milk that flows too quickly)
  • Nappy rash
  • Thrush
  • Food sensitivities
  • Nipple confusion
  • Low milk supply
 
Comfort measures for fussy babies
 
There are lots of ways you can try and comfort a fussy baby:
 
 
Basics
  • Nursing
  • Winding
  • Changing her nappy
  • Undressing your baby (to make sure that she isn’t uncomfortable)
 
Comforting
  • Holding your baby
  • Rocking your baby
  • Rubbing her back
  • Massaging your baby
  • Playing some music
  • Singing to baby
  • Turning on some white noise (e.g. dishwasher, vacuum cleaner)
  • Giving baby a bath
  • Taking her for a walk
 
Caring for your baby during these fussy periods can be very stressful. It is important that you get support from your family or partner and ensure that you take time for yourself. Don’t give up if you feel your efforts to comfort her aren’t working as everything you do to try and soothe your baby helps! These fussy periods won’t last forever so remember there is a light at the end of the tunnel. 

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