Older preemies, High needs kiddos? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 4 Old 06-14-2013, 07:50 PM - Thread Starter
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My first child was a 34 week preemie and was a calm and happy baby. She had a nine day NICU stay, I was there every single day and for almost every feed.

My youngest child was a 29 week preemie. He had a 5 week one day NICU stay. I had a 4 year old at home so I couldn't be there at all times. I was there every day but usually just for one or two feeds. He has been high needs and I wonder if it is due to his extended NICU stay.

I guess I always kind of thought, perhaps falsely, that when a baby's needs were met they had no need to scream and cry and etc. When we brought home my son he cried night and day. Not only that, but he seemed to have no reaction to my presence. It seemed like any sort of attachment took a long time. I found that a bit odd since in the NICU he would pretty much remain awake, alert and calm for the entirety of my visits, a super long time for such a little baby! 

Today he is almost 2 and still high needs. He seems to need A LOT of stimulation and he is quite sensitive to anything: loud sounds, my leaving the room, anything out of the ordinary. He is also obsessive about these things and will talk about strange sounds or injuries for months, 

I can't help but believe that much of this is related to his prematurity and his being essentially an orphan for his first 5 weeks (I have a ton of guilt about not being present more often). He was on the NICU schedule, fed and changed every 3 hours. 

SO I'm wondering how many of you have "older" preemies who are high needs. Is there anything to my theory? Or is this just his personality? 

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#2 of 4 Old 06-16-2013, 11:33 PM
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It might be some kind of combination of any of the above, but don't bet yourself up. I have a 34 weeker who is now a teen. He was in the NICU for just a few days shy of a month and included 3 weeks on a vent. I spent every.single.waking.hour there. Even coming over from the motel in the middle of the night for every CARES (the 3 hr schedule). I made every feed, every diaper change.....and he is still an extremely high needs kid! I think it might be some combination of personality and NICU stay. (My first...a very mellow kid...also had a NICU stay, but shorter.) 

~Mama to my boys~ to a teen, a tween & a toddler and surro-mama to twins and their sister

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#3 of 4 Old 06-17-2013, 05:34 AM
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My first was full-term, my second was 32w and spent over a month in the nicu. My ability to be there was patchy. Sometimes I couldn't get childcare for my older kid on weekends, and I had awful ppd and some days I just couldn't sit still.

My younger kid is the mellow baby.

I think, much of the time, it's a question of underlying personality, and not those early experiences. But it can be impossible not to feel guilty, no matter what you do.
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#4 of 4 Old 09-02-2013, 07:48 PM
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My first is just like your second and she never spent any time in the NICU. My second is the most easy going kid I've ever met and she was my NICU baby. It is personality and temperament. You did NOT cause this.

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