From growth spurts to sleep regressions, the 6 week peak of fussiness can be challenging. Here’s how to survive this difficult period.
“It must be the 6 week peak of fussiness,” I told my husband. Not that our baby was sleeping through the night or anything, but I sensed a change right around the 6 week mark.
I dreaded the early evening hours, which often included screaming and crying that went on for what seemed like eternity. Whereas he would fuss and squirm to protest going to sleep, now he was full-blown crying. My back even hurt from all the rocking and carrying him to sleep.
He’d fuss so much that putting him to bed was a challenge, and middle-of-the-night wake ups were no easier. He’d wake up shortly after falling asleep from a nap, crying hysterically. I’d often find myself in tears right along with him, so over this fussy stage.
It was certainly enough to make me feel like an incompetent mom, especially when he was fussy all day long despite my efforts.
Just when I thought caring for a newborn couldn’t be harder, his behavior told me otherwise. From colic to growth spurts, this fussy period completely overwhelmed me. To say that this stage felt draining was an understatement.
How to survive the 6 week peak of fussiness
Then, right when those days couldn’t get more difficult, things began to taper down. My baby began burping and farting more easily. He was content hanging out on a thick blanket on the floor, allowing me to get more things done even when he was awake.
And while he wasn’t sleeping through the night yet, he started snoozing in predictable patterns, waking up around the same times.
If you’re finding yourself thrust in the 6 week peak of fussiness, rest assured you’re not alone. The term is coined by Dr. Marc Weissbluth, who wrote about babies’ crying patterns in Your Fussy Baby:
“About half cried for about two hours per day, but this crying increased to an average of about three hours per day at the age of six weeks. Thereafter the amount of crying declined to about one hour per day by the age of twelve weeks.”
Maybe you’ve heard of and even expected this 6 week sleep regression. Or this is so new to you that you’re just relieved to know that this is even a “thing.” No matter which camp you’re in, one thing is for sure: you’re in the thick of a rough patch right now.
Thankfully, you now know that this stage is common, and that it’ll pass soon enough. In the meantime, what can you do to survive these rough days and nights? Take a look at what had helped me cope, and hopefully these reminders will reassure you, too:
1. Focus on being calm
When infants don’t sleep well, it’s easy to assume that the solution lies in finding ways to help them sleep. But I argue that the focus shouldn’t be on your baby, but on yourself.
You see, losing your temper and feeling defeated are common ways to respond when your baby fusses. You’re upset at him for crying hysterically, or feel inadequate as a mom for not being able to soothe him to sleep. You might even get upset and lose your cool with him, only to feel guilty soon after.
That’s why I want you to focus on being calm. Make that your goal, not helping him sleep.
For some, that might mean laughing about the situation, finding comedy in your frustration. Perhaps it’s recruiting help from others in some way, like having your mom come for a few hours so you can take a real break.
Staying calm is the best gift you can give your little one. And yes, you’ll lose your cool at some point, and you won’t always be collected at times. But the calmer you can be, the more he can follow your cue. Because trust me, the more riled up you are, the harder it is for him to relax and sleep.
Do what you can to stay calm so that you can help him do the same.
Tip: Can’t get him to sleep? Take him outside in the stroller. The outdoors can be be a welcome change for the both of you.
Free resource: Do you struggle with getting him to sleep? His wake times just might be affecting how well he sleeps or not. Join my newsletter and get One Mistake You’re Making with Your Baby’s Awake Time—at no cost to you. Don’t make the same mistakes I did—help him fall asleep with this one simple trick:
2. Remind yourself that this is a phase
In the newborn stage, every day, much less every week, can feel like an eternity. And considering how different life with a baby can be compared to life before, you almost feel doomed to a long sentence of exhaustion.
But, as they say, this too shall pass.
Now, it might not pass tomorrow, and you’ll likely still feel tired even weeks from now. But this is a peak for a reason: the intensity of your baby’s fussiness decreases and gradually declines.
Talk to a mom with a baby older than yours, and more than likely, she’ll relate to those crazy, intense moments as a thing of the past.
And if you want to take it even further, consider your baby’s entire childhood—all 18 years of it. This phase, however interminable it seems right now, is a fraction of that time.
When you’re living day by day, it’s no wonder you feel like this will never end. But keep the big picture in mind, and you’ll remember that this difficult stage is temporary and truly will pass.
Tip: If you feel glued to him all day long, a baby carrier or wrap will help you “hold” him and give you the chance to move about and use your arms.
3. Remember that you’re not the only one
One of the most comforting reminders to tell yourself is that you are not alone.
Now, you might be the only one in the room bouncing your baby on a yoga ball, trying to get him to sleep. But you’re certainly not the only experiencing the difficulties of this stage. I know I felt relieved to know that this was even a thing, that others were going through the same symptoms and hardships.
Few of us know people in real life with the same age babies whom we can relate to. That’s why seeking your “village” is a must. This doesn’t have to be complicated. Browsing baby boards and reading articles online can be all it takes to know that others are going through this, too.
You can also look for mom groups to join. Even if their babies are older than yours, you can rest assured that they know what you’re going through and can relate to the crazy sleep deprivation.
Sometimes, we feel like we’re the only ones dealing with this, but know that you’re not alone, friend. Plenty of people can absolutely understand what you’re going through.
Tip: Beat the boredom you might be feeling by making a “schedule” of things to do every day, from a walk around the block to visiting a friend.
When you’re in the thick of the 6 week peak of fussiness, you’re left wondering how long it’ll last. But sometimes, what truly helps are reminders and pep talks to tell yourself as you plug on through.
For starters, focus on being calm, more so than on getting your baby to sleep. The calmer you are, the more relaxed you can both be to actually rest and relax. Remind yourself that this is a temporary phase, not a permanent life sentence.
And remember that you’re not the only one going through this. As isolating as it can feel caring for a newborn baby, others have gone or are going through similar circumstances.
The fortunate thing about peaks is that there’s only one direction from here, and life will get easier again.
Get more tips:
- How to Stop Your 6 Week Old Fighting Sleep
- What to Do When Your Overtired Baby Keeps Waking Up
- 11 Ways to Cope with Newborn Sleep Deprivation
- Clever Solutions to the Newborn Witching Hour
- 7 Postpartum Changes You Probably Didn’t Know
Don’t forget: Join my newsletter and get One Mistake You’re Making with Your Baby’s Awake Time: