Taking Care of a High Needs Baby Part 1

Tracey Wilson

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At eighteen months old, my granddaughter is a joy to be around, but when she wants something, she wants it right now! She acts like she has absolutely no sense of time. She has worn many necklaces and in fact loves to wear and play with jewelry. One day I put a pearl necklace on her to wear when she got her pictures made. This necklace was not tight on her what- so- ever, but she decided she wanted it off! So I start to undo the necklace – it has a tiny clasp, so it was taking me longer than what she wanted to wait. She starts screaming like I was beating her up. It upset me so much that I start looking on the Internet, to check symptoms of different mental illnesses. Is she obsessive compulsive? Does she have a touch of autism? Is someone being abusive toward her? I check all of these illnesses and more. Thank goodness she didn’t seem to have any of the symptoms for anything I checked. So then what could be going on with her? I know from her actions, something is definitely going on. Could it be the little boys at the Baby Sitters are picking on her? She also seems to be way over- sensitive. Most babies cry when they want something, but she screams! She is also very empathetic. If she is around people who are upset, she too will become very upset.

So I continue to search the ‘net, and I find that many, many parents are going through the same thing. Many are at the end of their ropes, and my heart goes out to them. I’d like to be able to help them, but we’re in the same position. I finally find something that resembles what she is going through. The experts call it a High Needs Baby. The advice varies widely, from CIO, “Crying It Out, ” which is by the way what my granddaughter’s doctor told my daughter to let her do. We didn’t care too much for that piece of advice, and it definitely didn’t help us. The advice goes from one extreme to the other, with the other being “Attachment Therapy, ” actually attaching the baby to you and carrying her around at all times, to letting her sleep in-between you and your spouse at night. Most of the parents were trying just about everything, and we weren’t far behind them. We have ran the gambit of maybe she’s in pain, maybe she’s hungry, maybe she needs more one-on-one attention, etc … I am going to share with you the things I’ve learned from my many hours of searching. I hope you get some comfort out of knowing that there is a name to this kind of behavior, and you’re not alone.

You may find that your baby is a high needs baby as well. Newborns may protest group care with their high intensity cries demanding attention immediately. The cry from a high needs baby is not a request, but a demand. They cry loudly, feed voraciously, laugh with gusto, and protest more forcefully if their needs are not met to their satisfaction. Because they feel so deeply, they react more powerfully if their feelings are disturbed.

One mother says, “If I don’t feed him as soon as he fusses, he falls apart. ” This seems to be a common statement among parents of high needs children.

You can read the intensity of the baby’s feelings in her body language. The fists are clenched, back arched, muscles tensed, as if ready for action. They scream when they cry as if something is urgently wrong.

As toddlers they have the drive to explore and experiment with everything and anything! No household item is safe. They’re hyperactive and hyper- tonic. Hyper- tonic refers to muscles that are frequently tensed and ready to go, tight and waiting to explode into action. The muscles and mind of a high needs child are seldom relaxed or still. They may stiffen their limbs and arch their backs when you hold them and are frequently seen doing back dives off your lap.

High needs babies can extract every ounce of energy from tired parents and then want more. The seemingly constant holding, nursing, and comforting leave little energy left for parent’s needs. High need babies seem to feed more frequently; most parents feel like they cannot feed their baby fast enough or meet their demands fast enough. They do not like waiting and do not readily accept alternatives.

The positive side is that parents who respond to and wisely channel the high needs child, will raise a person with determination, one who will fight for her rights and become a leader, instead of a follower.

Read Part 2 for more information of what you can do, and information about the high need child’s sleep pattern.

This article has been submitted in affiliation with http://www.BabyNameVote.Com/ which is a site for Baby Names .


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