High needs? Surely not MY baby…

According to Dr. Sears, who is the ultimate child and baby authority for me since he says ‘trust your instincts’ instead of creating lots artificial schedules and plans, etc, here are 12 signs of a high needs baby. Now, granted, I would reckon that most babies exhibit many of these at least some of the time but in general, I would guess if they are consistent, defining features of your child or infant then probably that child or infant is high needs.

1. Intense: He was pretty intense but it is better now, maybe because he knows his needs are listened to
2. Hyperactive/hypertonic:  his little arms and legs are constantly in motion in the carrier and frequently his little muscles will tense up like he’s got too much energy and has to release it somehow (hypertonic)
3. Draining: oh. yes. indeed.
4. Feed frequently: our ped always asks how often I nurse him and I always tell her I really don’t know, however much he wants. Of course, she needs a number to put on his chart so I always make something up for her.
5. Demanding: oh. YES. when he was younger he would get sooo upset if let-down didn’t happen fast enough; he would scream and cry and twist. he was so angry. And let’s not even talk about being in the carseat.
6. Awakens Frequently: *sigh* you know what I have to say about that
7. Unsatisfied: I wouldn’t say this about him
8. Unpredictable: I wouldn’t say this either. Usually we’ll get into a pretty good, predictable pattern…until the next new development occurs and we have to start over and find a new groove but I would think every baby is like this…
9. Super-sensitive: only falls asleep out of sheer exhaustion if his environment changes at all. sleeps very restlessly anywhere other than his room
10. Can’t put baby down: this needs no comment
11. Not a self-soother: no, not really, poor little thing (this is especially sad in the car seat)
12. Separation sensitive: as either Troy or I are usually with him, I can’t say about this. he does fine w/ my mom. In general he is really outgoing and LOVES people

Miles has evened out over the past 7 months. The horrible screaming and crying has gone and for the most part he is a happy little guy as long as things are the way he needs them to be.  (I know that most people probably think that I am just over-reacting to having a child for the first time but those of you who have spent a significant amount of time at my house and helping me care for Miles do know that I am not making up his intensity. ahem.). 

An interesting note I came across while reading The Fussy Baby was that babies who have rough starts tend to be more likely to have higher needs.  I am really interested in learning if this is a trend across the board or not…

A couple times people have remarked to me that ‘boy, he sure has YOU trained’. This is frustrating to me since a) these people don’t have kids, b) these people don’t have MY kid and c) it implies that I am not ‘in control’. The truth is that the concept of ‘control’ has no role in a parent-child relationship (self-control is different; i’m talking about domineering or domination of your child) and certainly not with an infant. Later I will be a figure of authority but even that is different.  There is nothing ‘out-of-control’ in figuring out what your particular little human being needs and fulfilling those needs with every tool that you have available and to the best of your ability.  That is called responsible parenting and some babies, like little Baby Miles, just need more than others. 

Sometimes I wish he wasn’t so high maintenance but then I realize that he can’t help it, it is just who he is and all in all, as we all learn more about each other and living together and life, things will get easier to cope with; maybe not easier but maybe we’ll all have more tools to work with as time goes on. (I hope)


3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. E_Dragon
    Aug 23, 2008 @ 17:10:45

    My wife and I had a baby for the first time some thirteen years ago and are awaiting the birth of our third child any day now so your post speaks to me.

    With our first, he seemed to be high maintenance but in retrospect, it was more us getting used to him then him getting used to us. He had on his feet and ankle so that was many many many many nights where we thought he would never go to sleep but he did. =) Then I would look at him sleeping and couldn’t help but feel a little silly about my stress from his crying. He was so beautiful and this year is starting high school. Time is of the essence with your children. Don’t spend it reading a book on babies when you have the baby right there for you to learn from.

    Babies throw your life in disarray as you tend and nurture your child. Forget about a social life and all that other stuff sure sounded scary and daunting because it did feel like we were not in control.

    A good friend of mine always contends that control is an illusion. I say that control is something that can and should be shared. You can’t learn that from a book.

    My wife took some time to learn that her anxiety was quite easily passed on to our son and it did bother her to see him screaming only to get quiet when she gave him to me but did learn how to calm herself and I was so proud of her the first time she saw that her stress about his crying was making him cry harder and when she calmed herself, she saw that he calmed down as well. It was a beautiful moment.

    Your baby is a great mirror of you, genetically, metaphorically and empirically speaking.

    The only tool you need to raise your child is your understanding that they need you.

    Control is not something you need to be looking at with a baby, save that for when they are thirteen and heading off to high school in a couple of weeks. =)

    I hope I have not poked my nose into your parenting. Parenting is tough enough without having people telling how to be a parent. I have bachelor brothers who have done this to me so I share your frustration on that.

    I did appreciate the words of a couple that were also waiting on the birth of a child at the same time we were expecting our first.

    It helps to know that a fussy baby is very common as is the stress that goes with it. I was even more appreciative of their reassurances that it is not always like that.

    Be well and hold in your heart his innocence for when he speaks, well that is another blog I will be writing in a couple of years as our baby that is about to be born any day now begins to speak. =)


  2. E_Dragon
    Aug 23, 2008 @ 17:15:31

    LOL I went to look for the proper spelling of “eczema” and forgot to put it in my comment before posting it.

    It should read:

    “With our first, he seemed to be high maintenance but in retrospect, it was more us getting used to him then him getting used to us. He had ECZEMA on his feet and ankle so that was many many many many nights where we thought he would never go to sleep but he did. =)”


  3. ~m
    Aug 23, 2008 @ 19:23:28

    *LOL* No you haven’t poked your nose in. I appreciate hearing it! Everyone keeps saying it gets easier…and really it already has, or at least it does until they hit the teenage years 🙂

    And congratulations on your new little one! That is so exciting 😀


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