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post #21 of 37

I have a super intense baby too.  She's 13 months old now and getting a LOT better, but you can ask my DH and all other relatives about how I didn't drive alone with her for months because she would scream her head off the minute she hit the car seat.  But yesterday we drove 30 minutes each way to pick up a jogging stroller!  And she's a lot more attached and involved than my friends' less high-needs babies, though they are also attachment-parented.  It's hard to take the clinginess and crying sometimes, and man, I'd kill for 30 minutes to myself sometimes, but my DH and I agree that we'd much rather have our DD (who really cares what we think and say and do) rather than an "easy" baby who's not really that interested.

 

Good luck and please don't feel bad when your baby cries!  You can't really control whether your baby cries or not--some babies are just sensitive to stuff and cry a lot.  You can only control what you do about it.    You are always there for your baby, you're not doing the cry-it-out thing, so you are a GREAT mother!
 

post #22 of 37

My daughter is my light. But she was a high-needs baby and spirited toddler. She screamed all the time. And she was LOUD. She knew exactly what she wanted, and she would FREAK OUT if she didn't get it. Still does, at 3.5. No one could put her to sleep but Mama. Still can't. She still cries her little self to sleep if I'm not there. It's heartbreaking. She hated the car, she hated the stroller, and after 16 months, she hated the carrier. As a toddler, she regularly had 2 - 3 hour tantrums. 

 

I could go on. 

 

She did have digestive issues as a baby, but the screaming continued despite this. Just not as much. So I don't believe the high-needs behaviour was caused by her digestive issues - she really is just strong-willed, and perfectly aware of where her power is. And rightly so. I also had severe PPD, so her will and her noise kept me from drifting away from her. She needed me, and I needed her. Attachment parenting her saved us both -- she wouldn't have stood for it any other way. You can't sleep train high-needs babies, they just scream louder, or puke more, or pass out. 

 

Raising Your Spirited Child was very important for me. 

 

And also, having my second child. He is a chill, happy baby, with similar digestive issues as DD. He is my healing baby, because he made me realize something very important: That my daughter's screaming wasn't my fault. It wasn't me. I did everything the same with my son. Everything. And he is just a different person than my daughter. She is just her own person. 

 

IT'S NOT YOU. 

 

She is a lively, bright, chatty three year old now. She will play on her own, sleep in her own bed, and potty-training was a breeze (because we made her believe it was her own idea). She has the vocabulary of a 6-year-old. She is extremely social, will hop on any adults lap and demand to be read a story, will make friends with any child, any age, any where. She has a vivid imagination. She is fiery and passionate, and yes, does still scream from time to time. But it's becoming rarer and rarer, partly as she matures, and partly as I have learned what helps head of the crazy before it happens. 

 

1. Keep her from getting hungry. (She is often too busy to want to eat)

2. Help her to get enough sleep (she gave up naps at 18 months, but having a really good bedtime routine helps)

3. Have a predictable routine to help with sticky activities. (Dressing was torture, but when we had a decent routine, it became better.)

4. Keep her busy! (Boredom was the enemy for a long time)

5. Fill her cup (As in, spend lots of time with her. She has a HUGE cup. Mostly this meant giving up on some things, like housework. Don't give up Mama-time.)

 

And like lots of people, things got so much better when she started talking in earnest and we could communicate about a lot of things. Because she is bright she GETS it that she has to brush her teeth because otherwise she'll get cavities. Talking in earnest means when she can communicate abstract thoughts, and project ideas. When they start to develop their imagination. For DD this was 22 months, but for lots of kids it's somewhere between 2 and 3.

post #23 of 37

i do not drive more than a few minutes away alone, even now with a 1 year old! (well, her birthday is tomorrow! so she'll be 1 tomorrow lol) it has been a very lonely year :( I have to play Mahna Mahna(the muppet version) on the mp3 player in the car, it helps keep her happy for long enough to pick up the other kids from school. She is not high-needs though! My last baby before this one was high needs. with my third child we had to sing constantly in the car. The Ants Go Marching, Hush(by Afroman...found out by mistake she loved that song), You Are My Sunshine(though there was no sunshine for me during that time)

 

I have to admit, I keep seeing moms saying their high-needs baby was a blessing, they learned so much, even looking back 9+ years ago at my high-needs baby, I see nothing whatsoever positive about it. I was very, very close to being suicidal. I was so sleep-deprived that at one point I was scared to try to sleep at all, in fear she'd wake me up and I would think I was dreaming and hurt her. I had two "normal" kids before that one, and suddenly having this baby that made everyone miserable was so depressing. The older two didn't bond well with her. All they remember of her being little is the crying and us not able to ever do anything fun :( When I look back at her first year or so, all I see is darkness and screaming and being exhausted. Yeah, she is strong-willed and that may work for her one day, but it sure wasn't anything I could feel good about, besides knowing I did everything I could to keep her happy. It took me 8 years to stop being scared and have another baby! She is a wonderful big sister, and when this one was colicky, there were many times my former-high needs child was the only thing that got her to stop screaming. The baby gave her lovin's (kisses, hugs, rubs) daily waaay before she did the rest of us. She truely enjoys being a big sister. I do have to say, I am so relieved this baby did not turn out to be high needs, it was my biggest fear, besides health worries, and despite the car screaming and the night waking I can say her not being high needs makes it somewhat ok.

 

I feel guilty a little saying all that, but I can't change how I felt, I couldn't make myself feel differently. I love that kid, she seems pretty normal for her age(almost 10) but her babyhood was just darkness for me. There are a few times I remember her smiling, and playing, but not many. It got a bit easier at around 8 months, and sometime between 12-18 months it was like the sun came out! The car screaming stopped, she walked, talked, and had fun. She slept through the night at 16 months suddenly out of nowhere and never woke again at night unless sick or a horrible dream woke her. I gave her all the attachment she wanted/asked for and hopefully needed, and got her through whatever made her so miserable. My midwife said something about how some people just are miserable being babies...that may be true!!

post #24 of 37

I also share the theory that high-needs baby are really smart. Mine just "got stuff" at an early age and she did adapt to changes very easily, not what you'd expect from a high-needs baby. 4 hour trips away from home for a week didn't phase her what-so-ever when she was almost 2. Potty training was smooth and even earlier and easier than my other two.(I have a very easy time potty training, we'll see how it goes with #4 lol)

post #25 of 37
Purplerose: I agree with you. I've often said that the first year of my older daughter's life was the worst year of my life, and it's absolutely true, and the first half of the second year wasn't great either, although that's when things improved. It was so hard. I had nightmares about getting pregnant again, it was so hard, and when I did get pregnant my biggest fear was having another year or so like that. I didn't even feel any bonding with my older daughter at all until she was over a year old. It was like I was taking care of someone else's baby. She is 10 as well and is also happy (though moody and loud) and normal, and very intelligent as well.

It is very very hard having a high needs baby. It is a time to be endured, which is too bad. People talk about "babymoons" being like a honeymoon, and I never understood that until my second.

But it does get better! Part of our job here in supporting new moms is really to help them get through that first year if they have a high needs baby. Hopefully we can help them see the light at the end of the tunnel and give them some survival techniques.
post #26 of 37

purplerose and mamazee:  i say the same thing about the first year of my sons life :( worst year of my life.  i feel horrible about it.  but its true.  mine got amazingly better around 12 months though :) 

but i am TERRIFIED of getting another high needs baby that can never be soothed.  DS still screams like someone is stabbing him when he doesnt get EXACTLY what he wants within seconds of asking.  its scary.  i pulled out some ear plugs today and stuck em in during a meltdown.   its the only way i can stay in the same room as him (or even the same house).  

post #27 of 37

Both my kids were colicky - and I know that's kind of a catch all thing for babies that are fussy. And I bought everything to colicky babies!! The gas drops, the swings, the noisemakers/heart beat sounds devices - nothing worked. I was exhausted and depressed.

And the second baby was worse than the first!!! I thought.... NOOOOOOOO!!!

I swear though - it was like over night their moods lifted. I don't know what happened - literally day and night. The first - about 6 months old and the second about 10 months old. I know your baby is older... but might truly be a phase. God knows kids go from one phase to another.

Don't beat yourself up though - sounds like you are a wonderful, caring mom.

Blessings,
Christi
 

post #28 of 37

Wow, I sometimes think I am the only one with "the baby who cries," so it was really nice to read all the replies.  My sister's kid is 1 week older than mine and NEVER cries (at least when I see him, which is a lot).  She is the bitchy type who always seems to judge my mothering skills or whatever, like "Glenn, you are doing SOMETHING wrong!"  But my 2 older kids never cried.  I figure I will take my baby daughter to a hypnotist when she is older and see if she can remember what all the fuss was about!  Just kidding.  But it is nice to know that there are other babies like mine out there!

post #29 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by MyKidKissTrees View Post


but i am TERRIFIED of getting another high needs baby that can never be soothed.  DS still screams like someone is stabbing him when he doesnt get EXACTLY what he wants within seconds of asking.  its scary.  i pulled out some ear plugs today and stuck em in during a meltdown.   its the only way i can stay in the same room as him (or even the same house).  

 

Yes!! We're TTC for number two now, and even though I'm excited, I have moments of absolute panic and terror that #2 will be as high needs as DS. DS has the same reaction to your son to being told no, or even "wait please." I can't tell you how many stores/restaurants/etc. we've rushed out of because DS just lost it over something (his cookie broke in half was today's cause for a meltdown.) How do mom's with two (or more!) high needs kiddos do it?!

post #30 of 37

When I had my high needs baby, my cousin had one a few weeks younger. Her baby would lay happily in the pack and play, staring at the TV or out the window. All the grandparents bragged about this, repeatedly. (the same grandparents who had a lady clean house and half raise my mom, as in The Help) My current baby, who is not high needs, but is more hands-on than the typical baby, had "competition" with her cousin, who still at 7 months, is happy to sit on the floor, alone, being ignored while his parents play video games. It's hard(like, embarassing, almost) when you have that baby who requires so much more attention, it makes you feel like other people think you are doing something wrong. Your baby becomes the poster child for Why Not To Breastfeed/Cosleep/Hold/Pickupwhencrying. My  high needs baby also woke easily, and I remember my MIL tsk-tsking about me making her that way!! I was left to cio as a baby/small child, sure didn't get cuddled, as my mom believes babies manipulate you, and I still wake easily...even if someone walks past the doorway, the air changing wakes me up. It sucks. It must really suck to a baby who can't understand it.

post #31 of 37

purplerose, I think your story illustrates a problem.  Babies that are "good" and quiet (the kind everybody likes and you get all the praise for) often do get ignored more.  Maybe they are really OK with this?  Or maybe they want something else but don't know how to ask.  That's sad.  When I see a baby that is getting ignored in a car seat, whatever, I go over there and either introduce myself, or, if I know them, unbuckle them and pick them up, often without asking.

 

It is so overwhelming when you give and give and give, trying to meet your child's needs, but your child seems to need something only a superhuman mother could give it.

 

A couple of days ago, my "former" high needs baby, now 7.5, was screaming at me to come inside.  I was outside for *a minute* taking scraps to the chickens and wasn't really thinking of staying outside.  Both my girls have been so clingy these last few months, more than usual (and usual is really clingy).  I actually broke into tears on this fight.  The day was beautiful.  I had been inside *all day*.  I would think that at nearly 8, being alone for a few minutes would not be such a big deal.  I've been trying for years to have the same kind of freedom to move in and out of the house and do things outside, and that mama who, 7-odd years ago, couldn't even get a @#$%ing 5 minute shower without her screaming in the background, came roaring back to life that day and I finally lost it.

 

Things are so much better.  I have waited so long for the neediness to subside to "rational" levels that I can actually meet.  And for the large part, they have.  But some things still stubbornly persist.  And apparently, I still haven't fully recovered from it emotionally.

post #32 of 37
Sweetsilver, it took me 8 years after my high needs baby to be ok with getting pregnant again. and some of those years I knew I would never want another baby. I am so grateful I went for it, though. Itwas a tough decision..
post #33 of 37

Awesome responses so far.  I totally agree that babies come out of us with their temperament in place, and some just need to cry more than others even if they are having their needs met.  The only "trying to fix it" suggestions I have are to try to eliminate possible allergen foods from your diet (and baby's diet)...dairy, soy, whatnot...tons of allergy threads on here somewhere.  And possibly make sure that you're trying for bed early.  Like 6:30 early.  Neither of those made a difference for my screaming dd1 though, so don't feel bad if it's just how it is!  Doesn't make you a bad mom at all.  Even if you do put your dd down to scream and close the bathroom door to poop by yourself every once in a while!  Good luck!

post #34 of 37
I didn't read all the replies but I'm sure you've gotten great advice. I just wanted to say that it's not you, don't beat yourself up. I have a very high needs child and always wonder what I'm doing wrong but I've come to the realization that he just needs more of me than my other kids who are super easy. More patience, understanding, more everything.

I also believe God gave my son to me for a reason and that if he had a different mom it might be harder. So your parenting is more than likely improving the outcome and her happiness and wellbeing. So pat yourself on the back because high needs kids are capable of brilliance if nurtured and that's exactly what you are doing.
post #35 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by tanyam926 View Post

I didn't read all the replies but I'm sure you've gotten great advice. I just wanted to say that it's not you, don't beat yourself up. I have a very high needs child and always wonder what I'm doing wrong but I've come to the realization that he just needs more of me than my other kids who are super easy. More patience, understanding, more everything.
I also believe God gave my son to me for a reason and that if he had a different mom it might be harder. So your parenting is more than likely improving the outcome and her happiness and wellbeing. So pat yourself on the back because high needs kids are capable of brilliance if nurtured and that's exactly what you are doing.

I agree that sometimes we are chosen for a greater reason. My high needs son is now 16, almost 17, and he has big plans for making this world a better place. That same determination that drove me nuts is going to come in handy now!
post #36 of 37
Pek64- thanks! That just gave me so much hope and encouragment as I struggle daily with the challenges of my high-needs babe. I try to think of what she'll be like in the future, but your real-life outcome is the most inspiring!
post #37 of 37

Sometimes I feel like I was given my daughter to make *me* a better person.  She has caused me to grow as a person more in 6 years than I did in the previous 32. 

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