How to Survive the 6 Week Peak of Fussiness

From growth spurts to sleep regressions, the 6 week peak of fussiness can be challenging. Here’s how to survive this difficult period.

6 Week Peak of Fussiness

“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 an eternity. He’d fuss so much that putting him to bed was a challenge, and middle-of-the-night wake-ups were no easier. Just when I thought caring for a newborn couldn’t be harder, this fussy period completely overwhelmed me. 

If you’re finding yourself thrust into the 6 week peak of fussiness, rest assured you’re not alone. In the meantime, what can you do to cope with the newborn sleep deprivation? Take a look at what helped me cope, and hopefully, these reminders will reassure you, too:

Focus on being calm

When babies 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 during the 6 week sleep regression. You’re upset at him for crying hysterically or feel inadequate as a parent 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 and 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.

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Remind yourself that this is a phase

In the newborn stage, every day, much less every week, can feel like an eternity. Considering how different life with a baby can be compared to the one you had 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 parent with a baby older than yours, and more than likely, she’ll relate to those 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.

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 because he won’t sleep in a bassinet. But you’re certainly not the only one experiencing the difficulties of this stage. I know I felt relieved to know that this was even a thing and 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. 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 online groups to join. Even if their babies are older than yours, they know what you’re going through and can relate to the 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.

Frequently asked questions

What is the 6 week peak of fussiness?

The term was 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.”

The bottom line

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. The fortunate thing about peaks is that there’s only one direction from here, and life will get easier again.

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  1. Our 6 week old will not settle from around 9pm to midnight. He will only be calm, quiet and asleep when held. This is not an issue any other time of day or night.

    1. Nina Garcia says:

      Hi Mary! It’s definitely common for babies to be extra fussy during this time of the day (they call it the “witching hours”). He might already be overtired by that point, so it might be worth experimenting with getting him down much earlier for the night if possible.