APing the high-need baby — The Bump
Attachment Parenting

APing the high-need baby

DS is almost 3 months old and checks almost every box of the Sears' 12 Features of High Need Babies.  He has improved in one or two areas since birth and is happy to play independently for 5-10 mins at a time throughout the day.

I had a mostly natural birth; we bed share, BF, baby-wear for several hours a day, EC, and recently started some baby sign.  The good news is that DS seems generally content, and I get enough sleep most days.  But as fulfilling as I find the experience, I only have so much time and energy.  It would be nice to have just a little more breathing room in our days.

If you have a high-need baby, I was wondering what your experience has been like.  And, if your child is older, when did things get easier, if they did at all?

Re: APing the high-need baby

  • Hey! My baby criAlthough nine hours a day and now she's generally happy and easygoing. She is, however, very difficult for anyone else to console. I imagine this will improve.
    Her colic was gone at around 3 months. At 4 months she was easy enough to go out with for a few hours at a time... once she was able to move around at six months things got much, much better.
    It gets better. Although, once they are moving you have other issues.
  • Wow.. 9 hours a day is crazy! @featherweather..  how did you cope?
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  • That was supposed to say "up to". Most often is was about 4 hours per day. It sucked, but I knew it had a shelf life.
  • So I am pretty sure my daughter was a high-needs baby, and I really do think attachment parenting was the best thing I could have done for her. I breastfed until she was about 2, when I had to stop due to a hospital visit, but by then she was pretty cool about it, and that of course made things a bit easier. We co-slept until she was about three, and I can't remember why we stopped, but by then she was pretty ready for her own bed, and I started getting better sleep, which of course made things a lot easier. Babywearing followed a similar pattern, etc. I guess the overall theme was that I practiced each aspect of attachment parenting long enough for my daughter to get her fill so that when it was time to move on, she was more than ready, so there was never this difficult jarring transition/weaning process. This was, of course, extremely exhausting over the years, but I was very focused on responsive patenting, and things slowly and surely got easier. My daughter is 12 now, extremely competent, confident and independent, but I still feel like it's my job to always be available both physically and emotionally , talk to her, and provide support. So in those ways, I guess my job isn't "easy" yet, but it sure is nice to have the physical exhaustion is over!
  • Because your babe is still in the "fourth trimester" I'd hang in there and just see what the next couple of months brings. I am a HUGE Dr. Sears fan (and have even gotten to meet him--geek out moment!), but I think his presentation of high needs babies is really lacking a timeline for this sort of label. 

    But, to answer your question: my first woke up every two hours for years. He could've been worn and nursed 24/7 and still wanted more. He only started SSTN at about 3.5 years. He is utterly delightful and AP helps him thrive. Adults who don't know him struggle to interact with such an articulate kid rather than one who "knows his place", but those who don't speak down to him really treasure him.
    My second was very, very clear about things he didn't like from day one. His nature even now is just more melancholic. He's a happy little boy in private spaces, but very quiet and contemplative in public and often chooses to say the opposite of what he means and acts out when overwhelmed. It is different than his brother's approach at the same age, but is still very normal behavior. Before he could talk, he was often very frustrated and angry. But, he also likely had reflux that we didn't know about until age 1. That would make me grumpy, too!

    So, I guess my best advice is a) hang in there. The one thing that doesn't change about babies is that they change all of the time and b) if you feel this is beyond "normal" then look into an underlying cause like reflux, allergy (through your milk or in formula). It might just be personality, but it might not, too.
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