High Needs Baby and How to Cope

Okay guys, I’ve been dealing with early pregnancy and a rambunctious toddler since my last post. My daughter has always been what I would describe as “a bit much.” I honestly assumed my difficulty in parenting her was due to being a new mom. With a fair amount of experience with babies and a master’s in psychology, I always thought I wouldn’t have an issue with tantrums and power struggles. I guess I thought I’d be able to see the light at the end of the tunnel and divert the situation. (Now I know all parents deal with this to an extent but as I’ll explain below, Amelia is amped up in all areas)

However, everything came to it’s boiling point a little over a month ago. Because of the impending arrival of the new baby, I’ve been trying to accomplish “sleep training”. I use that term loosely because we cosleep and my idea of sleep training is getting her to sleep on a floor bed in her room with her dad. I just could not understand why she was still waking so much and why sleeping away from me was simply out of the question for her.

Then, I made an impulse purchase of The Fussy Baby Book, written by William Sears, M.D. and Martha Sears, R.N…. HELLO LIGHTBULB MOMENT 🙌🏼 I have a high needs child and she’s been like that since birth! For the first time everything about her personality made sense and I could get down on her level. Now, I’ve already heard the misconception “all babies are high needs”. Yes, all babies need their parents and I disagree with the way western society expects these tiny humans to accept independence right out of the womb. High needs babies, however, are SO MUCH MORE. Everything about these children is more intense. Feedings, waking, temper tantrums, particularity, etc. are all more intense.

If any of this is peaking your interest or giving you hope that this might be your answer, I encourage you to visit Dr. Sears’ website The Fussy Baby Site. I started here before I bought the book and I cannot scream from the rooftops enough how grateful I am for finding this.

Now, I won’t say Amelia has every characteristic 100% of the time, but here are the constant traits we deal with in our house:

Frequent waking: She still wakes up to nurse 3-4 times a night to nurse at 15 months

Frequent nursing/eating: She nurses with as much enthusiasm during the day as well. Amelia as eats her meals plus SEVERAL snacks throughout the day.

Always on the move: This kid is intense. She is always moving, needing stimulation, and needing my feedback.

Mood swings: Depending on how you frame a response, a dramatic meltdown may ensue. A simple “no” results in earth shattering cries. However, explanation and compromise have changed our lives. She seems to require more adult conversation than a typical 15 month old. It works. So who am I to argue with results?

Clingy: This trait is what sent me on my quest for knowledge. The clingy nature of this babe is unbearable (only for me) at times. Most days, Dad is out of the question. She follows me from room to room whining and crying for me. She requires baby wearing if I need to get anything done but will play independently if I’m simply sitting in the room. She has little to no interest in anyone but me. This is EXHAUSTING but quite typical of a high needs child. I have confidence that she will learn to be more accepting of other attention but this is my reality for now and I’m more accepting of her innate needs after reading this book.

I would like to emphasize that these traits are not negative. They are just part of the overall temperament my baby was born with and these traits that make her difficult now will probably be amazing for her future. She’s determined and sure of what she wants. Who wouldn’t want that on a sports team or in the boardroom?? She’s also very sweet, empathetic, and the most affectionate child I think I’ve ever met. She’s going to do great things with what she’s been given and it’s up to me to learn to be her mom, not change her into society’s idea of a perfect baby.

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