High Needs Baby…? You are not alone

After a lot of googling and question asking, it quickly became apparent that I have a high needs baby, everything made sense and had my littles ones name written all over it. I’m no expert on this subject, but if you can relate to these traits the chances are you have one too and you are not alone! My little one possesses every single quality I read about, yes, every single one!

The first trait I read about was the need for physical contact, She extracts all the physical contact she can get, especially from me; in my arms, in my bed, around my legs when I’m trying to prepare meals, sound familiar? Did you think that going to the toilet would always happen in isolation? Of course you did… me too! She clearly thinks I’m doing something fun in there that she shouldn’t be missing out on.

I can lay her down awake… jokes! This child has not and will not be put down awake; there is no self-soothing going on here. You better have some good hip swaying action and decent music too rock her to. She’s currently snoozing to the sounds of the script, pop them on shuffle and you’ve got yourself a mix of perfectly timed swaying tunes.

When she was tiny, she’d fall asleep in my arms and in my arms she would stay, she would wake the second I sat down or attempted to put her in her moses basket, every time! Yes I’d have a dead arm from holding her but I have 3 more limbs, I will be fine! You’ll find that once they have finally dropped off you have a maximum of half an hour to scoff a sandwich, make a cuppa or write a blog! Don’t worry about your washing, ironing, tidying, showering… ain’t nobody got time for that! They’re awake and ready for the next stint before you can even think about it.

I read on… is your baby hyperactive? Yes, yes she is! When other babies her age are ready for a nap, she’s just getting started. She wants music, she wants to dance, and she wants to build towers and knock them down over and over. She wants her stacking cups and to look at her books and jump on her trampoline.  These babies just don’t want as much sleep as other babies and will not go to sleep or be influenced to sleep until they are good and ready. A drive in the car or a walk in the buggy does not work.

She shuns any form of containment; we’re talking stiffening of the limbs in the car seat, the high chair, the buggy, I’m telling you, this girl will have muscles of steel, she can keep it up for ages, impressive really! Strangers sometimes shoot a concerned glance my way when she becomes a red faced, muscle flexing, sweaty state on our afternoon strolls. Swaddling… I don’t think we need to go there, you know where I’m going with this. Looking at other contented babies all wrapped up, usually asleep, out walking with their parents made me want to cry, I did in fact, a lot, usually in the kitchen with a glass of wine.

It’s not all bad though, apparently my child is going to be some kind of genius… no really… they say if your child is showing these signs, is demanding of your attention and gets super frustrated when they can’t successfully communicate to you, that they are extremely intelligent and will succeed and excel in life! If that’s the case I have the makings of the next Einstein on my hands, watch this space. She must get it from me  🙂

Frequently awake, yes, that’s why my house is frequently a mess.  She wants everything and anything but sleep.

Separation anxiety, yes, from 2am every morning our bed is now apparently her bed and sleeping next to me isn’t enough, oh no, the little cherub has to be on me, fully on top of me until she eventually drifts off. We’d have the mother of all melt downs on car journeys, screaming almost to the point of making herself sick. I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve had to pull over to calm her down; I even had pre-planned stop points should I need to use them and the thought of getting stuck in traffic terrified me.

High activity levels, she will sit and play but will soon need the next toy, book, teddy, TV remote! When we have a day at home it drains every last bit of energy that I have, but I love to see her brain ticking over whilst she tries to figure things out, learns new things and realises what will happen if she pushes that button or puts her hands in the cat food or water.

Now, I haven’t experience this one myself but ‘phantom cries’ is apparently a thing. You can hear your baby cry when they’re asleep or not with you. Maybe it’s because my own cries are drowning those ones out.

I know what you’re thinking, how long is all this going to last? Honestly, I don’t know, but my little one has been this way since day one and we are fast approaching 15 months old. It is getting easier, apart from the sleep; the sleeping is still majorly crap!  All I can say is, you are not alone in this and you could have a prodigy in the making, your son or daughter could be the next Steve Jobs, Marie Curie or Bill Gates

Good luck!

 

 

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She’s not a good sleeper… It’s just the way she is…

‘Get your sleep in now’ they said, ‘make the most of these lay ins and lazy weekend mornings’ they said. How hard could it be, sure, we’ll have a few sleepless nights and early mornings, but we’ll soon work out this parenting malarkey and get her into a routine…HA!.. Routine!

From the very first day we welcomed our beautiful bundle onto this Earth, she has so far lived her life by the rule that sleeping is for wimps. ‘Why would I sleep, there’s a whole new world that has opened up before my very eyes’!

Some days I have been so tired that I have attempted to put the iron in the fridge, although, that must have been a good day if the iron was even out, right?

I remember being sat on my bed in the early days breastfeeding Scarlett, milk spraying all over the place (I’ll save that story for another blog another time) and bursting into tears through shear exhaustion. Why do I seem to be the only mother with a baby that doesn’t want to sleep? Of course I knew that there were other parents out there in the same situation, but at the time, in the depths of your darkest hour, It’s you and only you going through this hell of no sleep…Which is an actual form of torture you know!

That’s it I thought, I’m going to buy a book that will show me the error of my ways and teach me to teach my baby how to sleep, within a week or two I will have my sleeping beauty and I will go back to having a peaceful nights sleep…wont I? Well no, I wont.

She doesn’t want to be swaddled, that blanket is kicked off within seconds, she’s like Houdini!

She doesn’t want to lay down whilst she’s still awake, in fact, she’s never looked so awake!

Two hour afternoon nap, per-lease! ‘I’ll give you 20 minutes Mum, if you’re lucky I’ll give you half an hour and don’t even think about expecting me to sleep in that pram’.

Then came the endless advice, ‘wear her out at a play group, take her for a walk, she must be too hot, too cold, still hungry, have wind’. I can assure you that every possibility has been tried and tested and tried and tested again over the past 14 months.

She must have a bedtime routine, she must be in the bath by no later than 6:30pm, she must have her milk by 7:00pm and be asleep by 7:30pm. But why? because the umpteenth number books I have read say so? These writers don’t know my baby, there is no fail safe formula that works for every baby, they’re all different, we’re all different and every day is different. I have learnt that expectation and reality are two very different things, separating the myths from the facts, forget it.

If your baby naps well and sleeps through the night, I’m happy for you, I really am. No sarcasm or bitterness intended 😉 For now I will just enjoy the cuddles, cherish the fact that she needs me and accept that she’s not a good sleeper, it’s just the way she is.