Friday, July 27, 2012

High Need Baby

I had never heard this term before having Connor. Some thought maybe he was a little colicky when he was younger but I discovered he was, in fact, just a high need baby (well and is sensitive to dairy so I cut that out which lessened his fussiness). Some may use the term "fussy baby" but I usually just tell people that he's high maintenance like his mother. Once I understood this, I was able to make adjustments and things are getting better.

Dr. Sears describes 12 features of a high need baby: intense, hyperactive, draining, feeds frequently, demanding, awakens frequently, unsatisfied, unpredictable, super sensitive, can't be put down,  not a self-soother, and separation sensitive. Connor fits most of these. Yes it's often draining, especially with Ken deployed, and sometimes I worry I might get burned out. I am truly thankful for my friends and family who have been there to give me little breaks here and there. Not that I feel the need to get away, but just to have my arms free temporarily to get a few things done that I can't do while holding a baby. In fact, I get a little anxious when I'm away from Connor and all I can think about is getting back to him. I'm sure this is an instinct thing, we're not designed to leave our babies behind as this would have certainly spelled danger long ago. Though some mommas and babies can get used to the temporary separations and still be happy as this is no longer a danger today's modern world. I'm just speaking for how I feel and how Connor acts. I'm also very thankful for my Ergo; he's happy being held close to me and I can do a few things around the house. If he happens to get hungry, no problem, we are pretty good at nursing in the Ergo and have nursed many times in public or around others and no one can tell he's nursing with the hood up. This carrier has seriously been a life-saver! Now that he's starting to become mobile, he doesn't want to be held all the time as much as when he was littler, but he still wants to be held a lot. When he's down on the floor playing, he's getting a little better at playing by himself for short periods of time (maybe 10-15 minutes if I'm lucky) but would usually rather I play with him or help him practice his walking and chasing the dogs around the house.

High need babies, like Connor, just need more of everything and are persistent when asking for these things. I find that on days when I'm not too busy trying to get something done and I respond quickly to his fussing, he actually fusses less and is much happier. I'm trying to find a balance so that I can get things done that I need to do as well as meeting Connor's needs. We're getting better at this but I know we'll always have room for improvement. It's only me right now and one person can only do so much. I would love if I had someone to come play with him for just an hour a day and it would free me up to be able to do a few things... like cleaning the bathrooms. These rooms suffer the most as I can't clean them with Connor in the Ergo or sling or even with him playing in the room because I don't want him breathing in the chemicals (even the earth-friendly ones). But I know that this won't last forever, and eventually he'll be able to play by himself long enough for me to clean the bathrooms, or finish a sewing project, or whatever else I need to do that day. So for now, we get by and I don't stress about the things I can't get done or the backyard that looks awful because I can't get out there to weed it. It will look better next year. Right now, Connor needs me and I know that meeting his needs shows him that he can trust me and that is so important right now.

So yes, I have a fussy, high needs, high maintenance baby, who still wakes up a lot at night, nurses often throughout the day, and wants to be held and be with me most of the time....but I love him and wouldn't trade him for the world! 

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