The 10 Best things about a High Needs Baby - Mothering Forums

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Old 08-17-2010, 12:18 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Ok so either the long term sleep deprivation has finally got to me or I've finally recovered my mojo, because as the dust settles on my first year with my wonderful DS I have realised a few things. We had a "good baby" staying with us this week. STTN, placid, calm (although only 12 weeks old so may change but probably not). I've got one word BORING!! Her parents got to eat meals uninterrupted, sleep uninterrupted, talk uninterrupted, shower uninterrupted, drive across state uninterrupted. And because she didn't interrupt them, their babe just kinda got swept up along with them and hardly noticed. Even by them. I'd thought before they arrived that I'd be jealous of this family as I have been know to get playgroup envy when I meet mellow kids. But honestly, I'm so glad DS chose us. This kid has spirit and he's ready to take on the world even if it may not be ready for him! So I've created my High Needs top 10 for those mum's still in the Dark Night of the Soul. And to remind myself on those days when I wish for a calmer life....

1. High Needs Babes teach us non attachment. Attached to sleep? Gone. Attached to showering daily or alone? Gone. Attached to me time? Us time? free time? A clean House? Gone. Gone gone gone. Its all about letting go!

2. High Needs Babies let us practice selflessly serving another being. Technically there is no self anymore. Just a set of boobs, some arms a lap and some legs (don't stop rocking, walking or bouncing whatever you do!!)

3.High Needs Babies nurture our problem solving skills and our creativity. How exactly will we get the washing up done with one hand? How will we solve nap time today? How can DH and I sneak a moment alone this month? What will today bring and how can we make this work? What the hell is wrong and how do I fix it? Quickly?

4. High Needs Babes force us learn about parenting. Before I had DS I used to joke that parents should have to take a course before they had kids. I bet you've had to do a self guided parenting 101 to figure your bub out!

5. High Needs Babies force us to be present in the moment. Caught up in getting from A to B? Rushing to get through the supermarket? Think again. Stop. Attend to baby. Stressed? Oh no he senses it..he's gonna blow..breathe, relax, focus on babe at hand...phew crisis averted!

6. High Needs Babies give us extra hours in the day. DH and I figured out that the reason this year feels like it has been so long is that we've been awake nearly the whole time so its more like 2yrs. So DS has effectively given us an extra year. (And grey hair and wrinkles but these just make us look wise beyond our years)

7. High Needs Babies teach us tenacity. We never ever give up even when we've given up. Cause we have no choice. When we get over giving up the baby is still there Needing us. Highly.

8. High Needs Babes teach us about sharing. Our time, our space, our bodies. Our mealtimes. Our showers. Our Me times.

9. High Needs Babies teach us to include them in our world and acknowledge their individuality. They will not just sit quietly in a carrier. Or sleep quietly in another room. Or play quietly on the floor. And by including them in our world and constantly holding them in our arms we form and amazing bond as only those who have suffered through adversity can.

10. High Needs Babies make us strong. Physically, emotionally, mentally. They test us constantly. Pacing the floor or the streets babe in arms is the ultimate workout no? Strap on a pedometer you'll be amazed. I was!!

High Needs Babes teach us that we are more than we ever believed we could be. And when we reach the end of our rope we grow wings and learn to fly! One thing is for sure, life will never be dull with one of these kids around!!!
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Old 08-17-2010, 12:35 PM
 
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As the mama of a former High Needs baby who is now 5, I have to say that this is a great list!!

(though I must admit, I am still somewhat traumatized by that first year, even now, 4+ years later).
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Old 08-17-2010, 12:41 PM
 
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Love it My baby was/is not as high needs as some, but definitely on that side of things, and it is a different world until they start getting that first tiny bit of independence, isn't it?

She's reaffirmed how important touch is to humans. I have a high touch need myself so it is nice to see how basic a need it truly is. That is one thing I have not experienced is the touched-out feeling, though I can sympathize with others about it.

She is so curious! Always wants to see what is going on, touch and mouth what she can, taste and smell and listen too all the amazing things in the world around her. She makes me appreciate things that normally I would just ignore. I get so many comments on how alert and awake she is since her eyes are always open wide and taking it all in!

She really makes me appreciate things I used to take for granted! Showering or using the toilet alone, luxuries beyond words! Sleeping for 5 hours in a row, absolute heaven!

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Old 08-17-2010, 02:09 PM
 
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Aww, my high-needs baby is now 16 months and a super-energy, super-spirited toddler. Your list is wonderful--it made me laugh and cry. It's all so very, very true.

And you're not kidding about the physically stronger thing. I was in good shape before, but never did weight training, so my arms were a bit flabby. Not anymore! I now have quite bulging forearm muscles.

Thanks for reminding us of the positives; it's so easy to just focus on how hard these babies are.
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Old 08-17-2010, 02:45 PM
 
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DD is not the definition of "high needs", but she's very active and spirited and constantly on the go and doesn't sleep so well, so I appreciate your list, too!

We spend so much "on" time with DD, so I guess you can say we know her really well and have come to appreciate her uniqueness. I envy the sleep that parents of more passive babies get, but I also sense that the babies are kind of an add-on to their lives (not that they don't love them equally, just that they don't need to be "on" and therefore can go about life much as before).

And sometimes I just have to remind myself of these plusses when the going gets a little tough!

Woman, Wife, Mom to beautiful DD (10/14/09), Copywriter, occasionally tearing my hair out but usually pretty happy about it all
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Old 08-17-2010, 03:04 PM
 
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Originally Posted by proudmamanow View Post
As the mama of a former High Needs baby who is now 5, I have to say that this is a great list!!

(though I must admit, I am still somewhat traumatized by that first year, even now, 4+ years later).


If I had read your list in the midst of our first 2 years I proooooobably would have wanted to jab a pencil in your eye (sorry, I hope you understand the loving sentiment attached to that! Lol.), but now I feel like that's a pretty accurate (and waaaaaaay more positive) way of dealing with the stress of a high needs child.
It's been a true test of personal strength and I believe I'm more aware of what I could now handle.
Life has gotten better for us, but I still feel like we live by this list every year in a different and new way.
Our first two years was a mothers version of military basic training. Tear down the spirit, retrain thoughts, program with protocal, enstill new values system with renewed spirit.

I give your list . ^5 to you, momma.

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Old 08-17-2010, 03:58 PM
 
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DD was a very easy baby, until she learned to move. Now she is the most energetic, curious toddler I have ever seen. Her nick name is "Taz" for Tasmanian Devil. It's exhausting, but so much fun. She's hilarious. I love being forced to get off my butt and chase her all the time. I forgot how interesting the world is! Now I notice every little thing because of dd's insatiable curiosity.

Wife to amazing dh, mama to dd 12/08
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Old 08-17-2010, 04:01 PM
 
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ooooooh can i add some more. a couple stand out to me from QUINALLA's post.

11. High Needs Babies really makes us appreciate things that we used to take for granted.

12. High Needs Babies makes us notice and appreciate things that normally we would just ignore.

the list. FANTASTIC IDEA.

wish we could sticky this one.

i can SOOO relate. if one a scale of one to ten of how high needs your baby was , with ten being the most my kid would have been 11. i mean i had mom's of many telling me what a harder job i had compared to them - because i dont get any break. she still is 'high needs' in a different sorta way.

my high needs baby taught me how to be alive. how to only strive for the best. she never accepted anything less - even today. she is still different today and still marches to a different tune. she is never wishy washy. she knows exactly what she wants. i swear she came out of my womb knowing everything.

however the one that i truly, truly appreciate is she taught me how to be her mommy. she i feel literally came with her owners manual in her only language and screamed at me till i got it. oh boy was i whipped into shape when she had colic.

you know it was funny. i dont know why i wasnt traumatised. maybe because i love babies. i still remember holding her when she was a month old and staring at the revolving fan, and thinking 'eh? i was told newborns sleep more than be awake? when is she going to sleep'

as she grows older the deep philosopher she is, she calls me on things and teaches me to do the right thing, to discover my OWN needs. 'no mom. dont blame me. i am not making you angry. i am just being who i am. what is going on in YOUR life that's getting you so angry. look and find out.' she was 5. i remember that moment soooo well. i literally FELT all the anger drain out of my body. she was right.

she taught me life like nothing else has. and today as i look back or when friends talk and mention how hard my dd was - for some reason all those memories have been washed away. they no longer have the intensity at all. instead i remember all those precious moments and those have been magnified.

she forced me to go thru the dark night of the soul to find the blinding light at the end.

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Old 08-17-2010, 04:43 PM
 
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DD1 is 7, the first year of her life was horrid beyond belief. She is still exhausting but in different ways. The child who still does not STTN went down her first white water in her own kayak this morning! All of those qualities that can make her miserable to live with, has made her excel in so many things. Her never slowing down has turned her into one very active child who can out snowboard a number of adults. She is fearless, never gives up, if I listed her entire list of sports that she does and does well at, most people's heads would spin, but for her this is just life. All I can say is that she is going to be one adult to reckon with, now if I can just keep up until then :

There is no way to happiness, happiness is the way.
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Old 08-17-2010, 06:37 PM
 
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Just wanted to add a tanks for this thread. Last night was a rough one (and Mommy turned Mr. Hyde at 5 in the morning and ordered DD to please, for the love of god, go to SLEEP!), and this thread gave me the boost I needed this morning. It helped me refocus to see DD in her inquisitive, curious, larger-than-life light.

And thank you MDC Mommies for reminding me that so many others are going through the same things as we are. It's a great comfort and a boost to remind me we're doing the right things.

Woman, Wife, Mom to beautiful DD (10/14/09), Copywriter, occasionally tearing my hair out but usually pretty happy about it all
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Old 08-17-2010, 09:32 PM
 
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The child who still does not STTN went down her first white water in her own kayak this morning! All of those qualities that can make her miserable to live with, has made her excel in so many things. Her never slowing down has turned her into one very active child who can out snowboard a number of adults. She is fearless, never gives up, if I listed her entire list of sports that she does and does well at, most people's heads would spin, but for her this is just life. All I can say is that she is going to be one adult to reckon with, now if I can just keep up until then :
THIS is what I remember each day when my higher-needs kids are just outdoing me. These are gifts they will have forever.
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Old 08-17-2010, 10:09 PM
 
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My high-needs dd is 4.5 now and I totally relate to this. When I went to my post-partum checkup the doctor asked what we were using for birth control and I just laughed in her face. I really thought she was kidding (this was before I found out that not all new babies were like mine). My dd is still very high needs but it's different now and more manageable. I honestly don't know how we survived that first year. I still get envious when I see moms with placid babies but at least my dd now is more placid than most other preschoolers her age--probably from all that bonding we did the first year, LOL!

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Old 08-17-2010, 11:48 PM
 
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Thanks for this post, I loved it! I recently had a very similar experience to the one you (OP) wrote about. A couple of friends brought their two month over for a birthday dinner. He stayed in his carseat for a good period of time after they arrived. He slept by himself on the couch, and was held when he was "fussy" (seriously, a couple little squeaks!) and then put back down to fall asleep on his own. My 14 month old was running around, in my arms, making noise, and just so... involved! DH and I laughed when they left, because like you, I thought I'd feel jealous, and I so didn't! My DD isn't as high needs as some, but as a PP said she is definitely on that side of things. My DD is now a curious, smart, adventurous, and loving toddler, and if I had to hold her through dinners, pay 100% attention to her throughout the day, and bounce/nurse/rock her to sleep and let her sleep on me every single night (and nap!) for the past 14 months to cultivate those qualities in her, I say I couldn't be happier to do it

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Old 08-17-2010, 11:55 PM
 
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When we get over giving up the baby is still there Needing us.
So well said. And not just with babies. Parenting is one of the only things you can't run away from, even when it all seems hopeless.
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Old 08-18-2010, 06:37 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Our first two years was a mothers version of military basic training. Tear down the spirit, retrain thoughts, program with protocal, enstill new values system with renewed spirit.
Haha soo true! I could pretty much quote and every response! I read them all to DH and we had a laugh. Love the responses from folks with older kids..so much to look forward to. We live in the The Snowy mountains in Australia so the pp that her daughter can out snowboard adults gave me a real positive to look forward to! It's great to know that we are not alone. I don't know any other high needs bubs IRL so its great to know we're not alone! Anyways there is a baby crawling up my leg so must go but thatnks for all the great replies!!
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Old 08-22-2010, 11:15 AM
 
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I couldn't read this and not reply. So very well put. I have had some of these exact same thoughts during the past 22 months of getting to know my DD, but never could have put it so eloquently. Thanks so much for posting this list!
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Old 08-22-2010, 03:39 PM
 
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Wow, great post! This really should be turned into a magazine article! It's all so true. Although parenting my DS is pretty stressful, he is forcing me to become a better person...more patient, more present, more grateful, less frustrated. Plus, I now have super toned arms and I'm well below my pre-pregnancy weight. So there are definitely a lot of good things about having a high-needs babe. I can say this right now because he's taking a nap (in the sling, though), but half an hour ago when I was desperately trying to get him to fall asleep, I might have had a different opinion.

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Old 08-22-2010, 03:56 PM
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Wow, thank you so much for this.

My high needs baby is now 3.5 and still a whirlwind of energy and sleeplessness. But he is enthusiastic, passionate, loving, and empathetic to a fault. He seems to have come into the world with so much connection to it. He is endlessly fascinated with people and how the work and what they think and how they feel. His eyes are so bright and his hugs feel like they're going to squeeze all the negative energy right out of me.

I still cry a little over that first year. I was so deeply depressed, so stressed out, so tired that I was hallucinating, had so little support. It's taken a long time to get over the resentment of how much work he demanded. I'm still working on it. I wish I could go back and be there in the moment with him instead of desperate for sleep and space for myself.

And that said, my HN DS has taught me so much about myself, about my needs, about how to ask for help, about the help that others must need. He's taught me about taking care of myself and setting my own boundaries, about knowing what I believe and how to stand up for it - for him. He's taught me about being honest and forward and tolerant.

:sniff
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Old 08-22-2010, 11:06 PM
 
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Wow, thank you so much for this.

My high needs baby is now 3.5 and still a whirlwind of energy and sleeplessness. But he is enthusiastic, passionate, loving, and empathetic to a fault. He seems to have come into the world with so much connection to it. He is endlessly fascinated with people and how the work and what they think and how they feel. His eyes are so bright and his hugs feel like they're going to squeeze all the negative energy right out of me.

I still cry a little over that first year. I was so deeply depressed, so stressed out, so tired that I was hallucinating, had so little support. It's taken a long time to get over the resentment of how much work he demanded. I'm still working on it. I wish I could go back and be there in the moment with him instead of desperate for sleep and space for myself.

And that said, my HN DS has taught me so much about myself, about my needs, about how to ask for help, about the help that others must need. He's taught me about taking care of myself and setting my own boundaries, about knowing what I believe and how to stand up for it - for him. He's taught me about being honest and forward and tolerant.

:sniff
Hi Mama,
I'm right there with you over the first year.... but I try daily to tell myself that I did the best I could, and that I'm a better mom right now than I ever could be.
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Old 08-23-2010, 11:52 AM
 
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I still cry a little over that first year. I was so deeply depressed, so stressed out, so tired that I was hallucinating, had so little support. It's taken a long time to get over the resentment of how much work he demanded. I'm still working on it. I wish I could go back and be there in the moment with him instead of desperate for sleep and space for myself.

:sniff
Aw........me too. I feel this exact same way.

And, in addition, I wish I had known that this was just who my kiddo is...not something I was doing wrong to make him this way or that I was unable to meet his needs (which is how people made me feel )

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Old 08-23-2010, 01:30 PM
 
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And, in addition, I wish I had known that this was just who my kiddo is...not something I was doing wrong to make him this way or that I was unable to meet his needs (which is how people made me feel )
Totally agree.

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Old 08-23-2010, 08:53 PM
 
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Thank you for this. My son is 10 weeks, very high needs, colic, the whole deal. As hard as every day/hour is, I'm glad that we learned to appreciate the simple things in life and how to live in the moment.
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Old 08-24-2010, 08:06 AM
 
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That list is so true and funny! Thanks for the laugh!

So far I have had one of each. And I wasn't blessed to have the 'hard' one first either...... DS1 was an 'easy' baby. I kinda missed his babyhood - he was just there, like the sofa is just there because he was so chilled and relaxed. He would happily lay there for hours and even just put himself to sleep! DS2 on the other hand...well that list fits him perfectly! lol

Mummy me : > Thats Ann! and my beautiful SONS Duncanand Hamish 19/09/05 & 22/04/10!
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Old 08-24-2010, 06:23 PM
 
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What a fabulous list to bring smiles! Describes our "Mr. Adventure" perfectly.

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Old 08-24-2010, 07:15 PM
 
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OMG!! I remember being there! My DS8 was such a high needs child that there is NO way I could have done it with other kids around. He was my first and by far my highest needs baby that I've had. I've had more after him, but he was just in a class all by himself! I remember the best book I ever read was Attachment Parenting by Dr. Sears. After reading that book, I thought "I can do this!" And we did. He was thrived with the info I got out of that book. Now he's entering the gifted class in the 3rd grade and is ready for more independence than I think he is ready for considering his age, but he is still ahead of his age even now. Been that way since birth! (Held his head up to look at the nurses as soon as laid on my chest at birth.) He's ADD, but that is his gift. His high needs was his way, (or God's way, however you choose to look at it) at getting us to focus on what his needs were and how to address them.

Thank you so much for posting this!!

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Old 08-26-2010, 06:14 PM
 
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Great list! I will add that my first (and fiercest) high needs baby (also happened to be the first baby I was ever really around) also taught me to meet his needs in spite of social conventions and my own lack of confidence. I didn't feel comfortable nursing him openly in every social situation we encountered (especially after he turned 2)? Well, too bad. And I couldn't use a blanket because 1) he didn't want anything touching his head and 2) he wanted to see what was going on. His brothers can thank him for preparing me to be a more open and relaxed parent. :-) He's about to turn 10, and I can't measure all of the ways I've grown and changed since then, largely due to him not being a laid back baby.

I will say that while my other three have been spirited in their own ways (ds#3 being the most like ds#1), they were much, much "easier" babies. Having been "trained" by ds#1, though, I've never once taken any laid back moment or trait for granted.

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Old 09-13-2010, 01:15 AM
 
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I really needed to read this today. Thank you! Hopefully I can remember these things when I am in the thick of things
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Old 09-13-2010, 02:23 AM
 
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crying b/c it's been such a rough weekend, and this list makes me feel finally understood.

(anybody else parenting a high needs/fussy baby with very limited hands-on time from their partner? i'm with 1 yo high needs DS and my super spirited 4 yo DD basically 24/7 all day every day... holding DS *constantly*... doing everything i need to do around the house with one arm. just killing me. and so so so much needing a break. DH doesn't understand and really has no clue, no idea how hard it is. thank you, Ladies, for spelling it out for me. you all understand!!!!)

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Old 09-03-2011, 07:02 PM
 
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thank you thank you thank you!! this list captures it perfectly and reminds me to feel grateful and blessed that my little one picked us to raise such a spirited soul

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Old 09-03-2011, 10:31 PM
 
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Ugh, I needed that list 8 years ago when babe slept from 4am to 10am only. And cried from the moment she woke up til the time she went to bed. And yes that year felt like 10. Oh and I lost a lot of weight! They'll either help you drop those baby lbs or help you keep them on. Believe me the whole house sighed with relief when the next babe showed up a lover of sleep and completely content.

Though my high needs baby turned into a high needs toddler then a high needs kid. We finally figured out how to get her to sleep before 4 am and it was called melatonin. Good luck to all you mamas out there with these special little ones. They can really make life interesting.
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