Anyone else have a 'high needs' baby? — The Bump
Attachment Parenting

Anyone else have a 'high needs' baby?

https://www.askdrsears.com/topics/fussy-baby/high-need-baby/12-features-high-need-baby

https://www.askdrsears.com/topics/fussy-baby/high-need-baby/what-high-need-means-story-about-our-high-need-baby

https://www.askdrsears.com/topics/fussy-baby/high-need-baby/parent-parent-20-survival-tips-parents-high-need-children

 

https://www.askdrsears.com/topics/fussy-baby/high-need-baby/handling-criticism 

According to Dr. Sears, high needs children are: intense, hyperactive, draining, frequent nursers, demanding, frequently awaken, unsatisfied, unpredictable, super-sensitive, can't be put down, not self soothers and separation sensitive. They are NOT special needs, just have high spirits. Am I the only one?

Re: Anyone else have a 'high needs' baby?

  • In feel like my daughter is ALL of those things! I jsut normally call her a bad baby, ;)   j/k) but really she has not been an easy baby thus far. I mean, as she gets older she is getting a little better, but for the longest time I could not leave her side. she also has reflux and takes medicine daily, so I think some of her "attitude" is related to that. But I feel for u, bc I know The first 6 months I was like a zombie almost.

    Now at almost 10 months, she is walking and much happier to be put down ( as long as she can see me, lol) and now sleeps @ 4-5 hours at a time.

    So, do yall have any tips for these high needs babies! id love to hear some advice ! :)I am hopeing she just keeps getting better as she reaches 1yr old, bc otherwise I will definitly be 1 and done!

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  • I'm not trying to detract from your situation:  For me, reading that was like listening to a drug advertisement and deciding that I have a disease.  Also, I'm a math/science person--I have an MBA.  When my younger sister (who was a psychology/child development double major) brought home a DSM-IV, I read it and I identified with several disorders.  However, my mental health is quite normal.   I also think that there's a wide range of "normal" with children.

    I'd be willing to bet that lots of parents could read that 1st link and identify with several descriptors.  Again, I don't mean to minimize your situation.  You know your baby  better than anyone else does.  I believe you when you say that you've determined that you have a high needs baby.  But, I've read/heard lots of parents of non-high-needs children describe their kiddos in the way that Dr. Sears describes--in LLL meetings, in on-line forums, etc.

    According to what I read, my toddler is a high needs toddler...particularly when I compare her to her cousin who's about two months older...and to the toddlers of my friends whom I talk with back home.  (My brother also happened to relocate to this area, so they're the only other family nearby.)  However, I think she's just a busy toddler who loves attention from her momma.  I'm willing to give it.  I've never labeled her or her behavior.  We live our lives and meet her needs.  For me that includes having a long commute to work/daycare & nursing my toddler on the train.

    I think parenting style/choices have a great influence on the child's behavior.  For lack of a better term, "playing into" the child's demands encourages them.  I'm saying that even though I consider myself very AP and we "play into" our child's wants/needs.  Many people think that DH and I are overly indulgent as we meet our DD's needs. But who cares?  We rarely feel a need to explain it to people.

    My friends have parenting styles that simply won't encourage the high needs behaviors.  My brother & SIL won't tolerate the behaviors either.  My almost 2-year old niece also seemed "high needs" as a baby according to what I read.  In many ways, she seemed more so than my DD was, as my niece was also very colicky.  They used CIO for my nieces who were not "self-soothers."  When they got sick of the frequent nursing, they started offering her formula, rice cereal & baby foods (before 4 months).  I distinctly remember (& have a picture of) my niece, who was born in August, being fed baby food at Thanksgiving while lying reclined in a swing.  They laughed at me when I told them I'd planned to exclusively BF for 6 months.  My brother said, "Just wait until she wants to eat every hour."

    My brother and I weren't living close to one another when my (now) 5-year old niece was a baby, but they describe parenting her her similarly.  I also see them doing it now with my 2-week old niece.  In order to get her on a sleep "schedule" they often wake her up when she falls asleep during the day.

    Also, I take issue with some of the things that Dr. Sears has written in that 1st link.  I think that "draining" descriptor was odd.  It describes the parent, not the child.  What if the parents just happen to have a lower energy level?  Two different people w/o children can have different reactions to the normal stressors & demands of life.  One person may feel drained by a long commute or work deadlines whereas another doesn't.  I'm not sure that whether a parent feels drained serves as a good benchmark for determining if a child is high needs.  As a baby, my niece would do things that set my SIL off & exasperated her, but those behaviors didn't bother me when my daughter exhibited them.  I concluded that my SIL had a lower tolerance level & (at times) unrealistic expectations of my niece.

    We all know that "feeds frequently" can be greatly influenced by the parent.  A baby who is put on a schedule obviously won't feed frequently...even if they want to.  My DD, however, was always in a carrier and near the breast, so she ate in a way that Dr. Sears describes non-Western babies as eating--on cue.  A baby who's bedsharing with a nursing mom will feed more frequently than a baby who's sleeping in a nursery.  We were/are okay with frequent nursing & didn't label it as "high needs."

    I think that so much of what Dr. Sears described is subjective and still in the range of normal.

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  • My daughter exhibits a lot of those qualities.  She is intense, hyper active, feeds frequently, demanding, sensitive, doesn't want to be put down,  and not a self soother.  I'd never encountered a baby who would look you in your eyes when crying to be sure you understand that she's not pleased.  :-)  These are the things that led me to attachment parenting.  I never thought I would sleep with my little one or follow her cues as far as feeding.  I'm very type A and fully expected to have my LO on a schedule that included sleeping through the night at a very early age.  Then I got my wake-up call.  My daughter is her own person and I love that.  It is attachment parenting that has allowed me to respond to her needs and keep her happy while preserving my sanity.  Those things that were hard to live with in the beginning have gotten better over time as she has learned to trust me and trust that her needs will be met.  She's still many of these things, and it can be exhausting.  I just try to embrace the special qualities that make up her personality. 
  • I think all babies are born somewhat high needs.  There is a very small percentage that will be "easy" no matter what and a small percentage that will be "difficult" no matter what, but I 100% believe parenting choices make or break the rest.  I don't think it's a coincidence that FF, non-bed sharing, pro CIO parents generally have babies that STTN earlier than more AP parents.  I'm not saying one is better than the other, but I think people who think it's all temperament are mistaken.
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  • imageC-Charm:

    I'm not trying to detract from your situation:  For me, reading that was like listening to a drug advertisement and deciding that I have a disease.  Also, I'm a math/science person--I have an MBA.  When my younger sister (who was a psychology/child development double major) brought home a DSM-IV, I read it and I identified with several disorders.  However, my mental health is quite normal.   I also think that there's a wide range of "normal" with children.

    I'd be willing to bet that lots of parents could read that 1st link and identify with several descriptors.  Again, I don't mean to minimize your situation.  You know your baby  better than anyone else does.  I believe you when you say that you've determined that you have a high needs baby.  But, I've read/heard lots of parents of non-high-needs children describe their kiddos in the way that Dr. Sears describes--in LLL meetings, in on-line forums, etc.

    According to what I read, my toddler is a high needs toddler...particularly when I compare her to her cousin who's about two months older...and to the toddlers of my friends whom I talk with back home.  (My brother also happened to relocate to this area, so they're the only other family nearby.)  However, I think she's just a busy toddler who loves attention from her momma.  I'm willing to give it.  I've never labeled her or her behavior.  We live our lives and meet her needs.  For me that includes having a long commute to work/daycare & nursing my toddler on the train.

    I think parenting style/choices have a great influence on the child's behavior.  For lack of a better term, "playing into" the child's demands encourages them.  I'm saying that even though I consider myself very AP and we "play into" our child's wants/needs.  Many people think that DH and I are overly indulgent as we meet our DD's needs. But who cares?  We rarely feel a need to explain it to people.

    My friends have parenting styles that simply won't encourage the high needs behaviors.  My brother & SIL won't tolerate the behaviors either.  My almost 2-year old niece also seemed "high needs" as a baby according to what I read.  In many ways, she seemed more so than my DD was, as my niece was also very colicky.  They used CIO for my nieces who were not "self-soothers."  When they got sick of the frequent nursing, they started offering her formula, rice cereal & baby foods (before 4 months).  I distinctly remember (& have a picture of) my niece, who was born in August, being fed baby food at Thanksgiving while lying reclined in a swing.  They laughed at me when I told them I'd planned to exclusively BF for 6 months.  My brother said, "Just wait until she wants to eat every hour."

    My brother and I weren't living close to one another when my (now) 5-year old niece was a baby, but they describe parenting her her similarly.  I also see them doing it now with my 2-week old niece.  In order to get her on a sleep "schedule" they often wake her up when she falls asleep during the day.

    Also, I take issue with some of the things that Dr. Sears has written in that 1st link.  I think that "draining" descriptor was odd.  It describes the parent, not the child.  What if the parents just happen to have a lower energy level?  Two different people w/o children can have different reactions to the normal stressors & demands of life.  One person may feel drained by a long commute or work deadlines whereas another doesn't.  I'm not sure that whether a parent feels drained serves as a good benchmark for determining if a child is high needs.  As a baby, my niece would do things that set my SIL off & exasperated her, but those behaviors didn't bother me when my daughter exhibited them.  I concluded that my SIL had a lower tolerance level & (at times) unrealistic expectations of my niece.

    We all know that "feeds frequently" can be greatly influenced by the parent.  A baby who is put on a schedule obviously won't feed frequently...even if they want to.  My DD, however, was always in a carrier and near the breast, so she ate in a way that Dr. Sears describes non-Western babies as eating--on cue.  A baby who's bedsharing with a nursing mom will feed more frequently than a baby who's sleeping in a nursery.  We were/are okay with frequent nursing & didn't label it as "high needs."

    I think that so much of what Dr. Sears described is subjective and still in the range of normal.

    Yes Sometimes it is the "high needs" parent that needs some introspection.
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  • First of all, C-Charm, you took many of the words right out of my mouth. And then some. Particularly about the baby being "draining".  I say this, because my baby has many of the traits that they are calling "high needs". But honestly, I always call him an easy baby. And I truly feel that he is easy. He wasn't collicky & screaming all through the night (though we definitely went through the eating every hour or all night long phases), but he must nurse to sleep for every nap & bedtime, so obviously it has to be me putting him down every time. He prefers mama to anyone else in the world, which makes it difficult for me to let anyone else comfort him if I'm in the same room, because he always runs to me. That being said, I do leave him with DH or my parents & he does ok. He was always a frequent nurser, for the whole first year in fact & only now has he started to cut back on nursing as much.

    I think the biggest part has to do with the parents & expectations. A parent who expects a baby to sleep throug the night by the time he is 2 weeks old is definitely going to feel frustrated when their expectations aren't met. Or if they expect that their baby should eat every 2-4 hours in the beginning like the nurses at the hospital told them & then their baby wants to nurse all day & all night long with only 30 minute breaks in between, they are again going to be frustrated. They may assume at that point their baby is "high needs" or that there is something wrong.

    If parents have more realistic expectations of their babies from the beginning & learn to trust their instincts & follow their baby, knowing that their baby will let them know what they need, then I think many parents would feel a lot less frustrated with their "high-needs" babies.  That being said, as a first time parent, it's hard to know these things because the doctors & much of the literature out there, often sets parents up for disappointment & frustration when their baby doesn't "perform" they way he/she is supposed to.

    I think it's key to remember that babies aren't like iPods where a new model that is faster & more efficient comes out every year. Babies pretty much stay the same & have been the same & have had the same/similar needs since the beginning of time. The most important thing we can do as parents is just listen to our particular baby & do our best to provide what that baby needs to grow up happy & healthy.  The labels are dangerous. Once you've labeled a baby "high-needs", it's not like your switch directions & walk down the "high-needs baby aisle" in BRU & there is a whole separate parenting experience  for you.  Again, expectations. If more parents expectations were realistic, I feel like there would be fewer babies labeled "high-needs".

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  • Ditto C-Charm.

    I will also say something from this end of it (a 3-year-old v. a baby). DD was so hard as a baby- I would literally seethe sometimes when I saw people whose baby just happily sat there while they had a meal or did something else. DD had three basic modes as a baby- nursing, crying and sleeping (and this last one was usually in combination with nursing or being held in some way). I never, ever had a baby that could just be put down happily while I sat next to her and ate dinner or did something else. Even dish-washing was done while I wore DD.

    She fought us on everything, wouldn't take a bottle, wouldn't let others besides me put her to sleep, etc. We couldn't just accept these things because I was going back to work. It took us a solid & intense month of working with a fantastic nanny to get DD to take a bottle and fall asleep in the nanny's arms instead of mine before I could go back to work.

    In any event, all of the personality traits she displayed as a baby- willfullness, etc.- seem to be really working for us as a little girl. She wanted "her own bed" very early on, wanted to use the toilet on her own very early on, "helps" me make dinner at night, loves going out with us to "adult" parties and checking things out and making friends with the adults in the room, is great to travel with, etc. So for all the belly-aching I did about not being able to leave her with anyone when she was an infant, it doesn't really matter now because I can actually take her most places with me, short of client meetings and professional things like that.

    I'm making a huge, huge generalization, but in my experience, a lot (not all) of the babies who just placidly sat there at 2 or 3 months of age while their parents were enjoying a nice meal are much less independent at DD's age than she is. They have a hard transitioning from cribs to beds (not that this is a big deal, but to their parents, it has been and I hear lots of complaints), they're happy to keep wearing diapers forever and show little interest in the toilet, even at age 3, they cried a ton through the first weeks of pre-school (DD loved it and practically pushed us out the door when we dropped her off) and they don't seem to engage in independent play for as long of periods of time as DD does. On this last one, the price of DD's imaginative play is that she also has very vivid nightmares, but that is still easier for me to manage since she can talk to me about them than when I had to deal with her incessant crying as a newborn.

    And to C-Charm's point again, part of what makes her so much easier to deal with now is not just her independent temperament, but probably also the fact that she knows how responsive we are to her and that she feels confident and secure that we'll meet her needs, so she can just go off and do her thing (like preschool) and know we'll be there for her when she comes back to us. She's super sensitive to how people treat her and I know that her relationship with my mother, for example, who is a very old school absolute-opposite-of-AP-type of person, is really challenging. If you asked my mother, she'd say DD is "difficult," but the truth is that she acts out because my mother doesn't listen to her, doesn't care about her preferences about really easy things to satisfy (like whether she'd rather play with this doll or that doll) and imposes arbitrary rules that don't even make sense to me, much less to DD. Of course my mother is going to think she's difficult in that case! If DD had been born to different parents and raised by people who were less responsive to her needs, perhaps she'd be considered a "difficult" toddler, but I think she's quite ideal, actually.

    Sorry for the rambling. I hope this all made sense. My point is that a spirited baby can turn into quite a lovely little person who is lots of fun to be around!

     

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  • mr+msmr+ms member

    I don't have any qualms about labeling DD as high needs when she was a baby. And I was in denial about it for most of the time she was like that :)

    I don't really buy that a parent "playing into" needs is some terrible thing. Take Feeds Frequently for example. BF babies are supposed to be fed on demand and pacifiers or bottles shouldn't be introduced for a period of time in the beginning. That's how you keep making milk so that your baby thrives. There isn't really a choice for the parent in that, imo, especially during the first year. 

    I think a lot of these babies have reflux, sometimes silent/undiagnosed, food intolerances that make for tummy trouble and related issues (DD had eczema, for example) that break up their sleep. Then there's teething. I think it would be cruel not to respond to their discomfort by holding them, nursing, etc.

    FWIW, even though there were plenty of times I thought I would lose my mind with DD, she's a pretty mellow toddler. She's sweet as sweet can be and still loves to be with people but also spends an increasing amount of time in imaginative play on her own. She has no inexplicable meltdowns. She still sleeps like crap, however, and at this point I believe I'm a partner in crime. 

    ETA: this is what I was sort of responding to...

    I think parenting style/choices have a great influence on the child's behavior.  For lack of a better term, "playing into" the child's demands encourages them.   

    Playing Into and Demands rubbed me the wrong way. One could also say: Being responsive to a child's needs encourages them (to keep communicating their needs to you). 

    To me, that's all there really is in the baby stage. Baby needs something from parent. Parent fills need. And somewhere in all of that you laugh, cry and love.

  • imageBillysbaby722:

    https://www.askdrsears.com/topics/fussy-baby/high-need-baby/12-features-high-need-baby

    https://www.askdrsears.com/topics/fussy-baby/high-need-baby/what-high-need-means-story-about-our-high-need-baby

    https://www.askdrsears.com/topics/fussy-baby/high-need-baby/parent-parent-20-survival-tips-parents-high-need-children

     

    https://www.askdrsears.com/topics/fussy-baby/high-need-baby/handling-criticism 

    According to Dr. Sears, high needs children are: intense, hyperactive, draining, frequent nursers, demanding, frequently awaken, unsatisfied, unpredictable, super-sensitive, can't be put down, not self soothers and separation sensitive. They are NOT special needs, just have high spirits. Am I the only one?

    I read your previous post and was really shocked and saddened by some of the replies, you sound like a great mama who is responding to her child's needs.  Being there for your lo to nurse on demand and cosleep does not make you a bad parent who is creating your child's needs.  Those who brought up anything up about your lo having special needs is such bs.  Those saying that you have issues are also full of crap, I say keep doing what you are doing and ignore the haters!
  • imagemr+ms:

    I don't have any qualms about labeling DD as high needs when she was a baby. And I was in denial about it for most of the time she was like that :)

    I don't really buy that a parent "playing into" needs is some terrible thing. Take Feeds Frequently for example. BF babies are supposed to be fed on demand and pacifiers or bottles shouldn't be introduced for a period of time in the beginning. That's how you keep making milk so that your baby thrives. There isn't really a choice for the parent in that, imo, especially during the first year. 

    ...

    ETA: this is what I was sort of responding to...

    I think parenting style/choices have a great influence on the child's behavior.  For lack of a better term, "playing into" the child's demands encourages them.   

    Playing Into and Demands rubbed me the wrong way. One could also say: Being responsive to a child's needs encourages them (to keep communicating their needs to you). 

    To me, that's all there really is in the baby stage. Baby needs something from parent. Parent fills need. And somewhere in all of that you laugh, cry and love.

    DH and I also don't think that it's a bad thing.  That's why we are also "responsive to her needs."  I used an easy, handy phrase (in quotation marks) in order to get my point across.

    I understand that my post was long and that perhaps you did not read the whole thing.

    You may have noticed that I wrote that I nursed DD on cue and not on a schedule.  You may also have noticed that we bedshare and did not CIO.

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  • imageluvmybaby28:
    imageBillysbaby722:

    https://www.askdrsears.com/topics/fussy-baby/high-need-baby/12-features-high-need-baby

    https://www.askdrsears.com/topics/fussy-baby/high-need-baby/what-high-need-means-story-about-our-high-need-baby

    https://www.askdrsears.com/topics/fussy-baby/high-need-baby/parent-parent-20-survival-tips-parents-high-need-children

     

    https://www.askdrsears.com/topics/fussy-baby/high-need-baby/handling-criticism 

    According to Dr. Sears, high needs children are: intense, hyperactive, draining, frequent nursers, demanding, frequently awaken, unsatisfied, unpredictable, super-sensitive, can't be put down, not self soothers and separation sensitive. They are NOT special needs, just have high spirits. Am I the only one?

    I read your previous post and was really shocked and saddened by some of the replies, you sound like a great mama who is responding to her child's needs.  Being there for your lo to nurse on demand and cosleep does not make you a bad parent who is creating your child's needs.  Those who brought up anything up about your lo having special needs is such bs.  Those saying that you have issues are also full of crap, I say keep doing what you are doing and ignore the haters!

    To be clear, my response had nothing to do with the OP not being a great mother. Rather, it was debating the literature's definition of a "high needs" baby & setting unrealistic expectations for new parents of what their new baby will be like.  I think the OP is doing a great job of responding to her child's needs. 

    & though I didn't respond to her post below, I also have pretty much ceased going out at night with friends because of my baby.  But that doesn't reflect on him, it reflects on me & the stage in life I am in versus the life stages of some of my friends.  They are different right now. Not wrong or bad, just different. If our friendship weathers the "storm", for lack of a better expression, then we'll come out on the other side still friends. If not, then they'll do their thing & I'll do mine & neither one of us are worse for it.  Plus I think the biggest factor is looking at the friendships themselves, I think if they are friendships you are willing to sacrifice, then they are obviously not that meaningful of friendships in the first place.  I'm assuming that you haven't stopped hanging out with ALL friends, just the ones whose lives are vastly different from your own at present.  

    Also though, I am not discounting the folks who mentioned special needs.  I am NOT saying that OP has a special needs child. The things that OP mentioned in & of themselves do not send up a red flag for special needs for me, but if they were combined with other things, could be a cue to talk to the pedi. It may suck to hear, but anytime there is even a slight concern of any special needs it should be explored. If it's nothing, then no harm, no foul. But there is A LOT to be said for early intervention if there does happen to be something else going on. EI can mean the difference between a more "typical" life for a kiddo and struggling with their special needs forever.

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  • Yes, our first was/is high needs. And our parenting style hasn't changed, yet our 2nd has a much more mellow personality. So it's not just us. I can put DS2 down while I fix dinner and he may get pissed and let me know, but he can bounce back. DS1 couldn't.
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  • mr+msmr+ms member
    imageC-Charm:

    DH and I also don't think that it's a bad thing.  That's why we are also "responsive to her needs."  I used an easy, handy phrase (in quotation marks) in order to get my point across.

    I understand that my post was long and that perhaps you did not read the whole thing.

    You may have noticed that I wrote that I nursed DD on cue and not on a schedule.  You may also have noticed that we bedshare and did not CIO.

    I can see what you're saying. The choice of wording just seemed to cast a negative light on the idea of being responsive to a baby but I think we'd agree that it's a positive thing. 

  • imageluvmybaby28:
    . Those who brought up anything up about your lo having special needs is such bs.  Those saying that you have issues are also full of crap, I say keep doing what you are doing and ignore the haters!
    I don't think I've seen the other post in question, but my "high needs" son just got diagnosed with autism. Obviously not all colicky or difficult babies have autism, but knowing what I know now, I would keep an eye on the development of a baby who is extremely intense or inflexible like mine was. Most times, I'm sure there is nothing to worry about.
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  • Thank you so so much for your responses C-Charm, fredalina, and anna7602!  What you said really hit home for me.

    I don't want to label my child as high-needs, but he is definitely spirited and willful for a 9 month old.  I love that about him, but I have my ups and downs parenting him as it can be very challenging at times.  Since birth, he has been very attached to me, a frequent nurser, and unwilling to be put down for any length of time.  Our mei tai has been a lifesaver.  He will not sleep unless he is being held or I am cuddling beside him in bed.  He will not take a bottle or pacifier and reverse cycles on the days I work.  If I am in the room, only Mama will do.  He is an very active and alert baby, and very curious about his environment.

     I admit to feeling jealous sometimes about seeing other babies sitting quietly in  a stroller or seat while their parents go about their business because I have never been able to do this.  

    My gut parenting instincts tell me to just do what he needs now, and his needs will change and grow.  I don't think we are creating any horribly bad habits with our parenting, but I know others disagree.  My husband and I have a pretty different parenting style than most other people we know, so it can be hard to have conversations about our kids.

    Basically, I really feel that we are doing the right things for our son now even though it is "draining" on us and our relationship at times.  I try not to think of it that way, and just focus on being the best parent I can for him and enjoying all the special moments that this age has to offer. 

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  • I have/had a high needs baby (she's outgrown it for the most part, but it still crops up when she's teething, etc...) I also have a special needs son (ADHD, which I know many in the AP community feel doesn't really exist, but they don't have to live with my son). Frankly, the difference between the two of them, somedays, is minimal. I think a lot of kids who are high needs as babies wind up with sensory issues down the line- they're the ones who noises bother, who tags on clothing drive insane, who like to have things be just so, and don't deal well with change. Doesn't mean there's anything wrong with them, just that's how they perceive the world. But, I would consider both of my children to be high needs, especiallly in comparison to other kiddos I've seen their age. I wouldn't trade them for the world, but we do make sure to get our parents to watch them on a regular basis, b/c frankly, they're draining and we need the downtime to refresh our batteries.
  • imageBillysbaby722:

    https://www.askdrsears.com/topics/fussy-baby/high-need-baby/12-features-high-need-baby

    https://www.askdrsears.com/topics/fussy-baby/high-need-baby/what-high-need-means-story-about-our-high-need-baby

    https://www.askdrsears.com/topics/fussy-baby/high-need-baby/parent-parent-20-survival-tips-parents-high-need-children

     

    https://www.askdrsears.com/topics/fussy-baby/high-need-baby/handling-criticism 

    According to Dr. Sears, high needs children are: intense, hyperactive, draining, frequent nursers, demanding, frequently awaken, unsatisfied, unpredictable, super-sensitive, can't be put down, not self soothers and separation sensitive. They are NOT special needs, just have high spirits. Am I the only one?

    Honestly? What you seem to need is a term and a theory which "allows" you to excuse yourself from adult friendships and interaction right now on anything but your own terms.

    Having a "high needs baby who needs attached parents" is your out right now. I get it. I just don't think you do. 

    If you do not want to have healthy adult friendships, then don't! Focus on your family until you are ready to reemerge and then find new friends. It's really that simple. It's sad and more than a bit nuts, but its simple. You don't need a theory to excuse yourself. You just need the balls. 


    image Josephine is 4.
  • imageDreamsicle23:
    I think all babies are born somewhat high needs.  There is a very small percentage that will be "easy" no matter what and a small percentage that will be "difficult" no matter what, but I 100% believe parenting choices make or break the rest.  I don't think it's a coincidence that FF, non-bed sharing, pro CIO parents generally have babies that STTN earlier than more AP parents.  I'm not saying one is better than the other, but I think people who think it's all temperament are mistaken.

    While I dont think it's *all* temperament, it's a huge factor.

    Most of the people I know who have children have more than 1. If it were all parenting style, all their children would behave a specific way as infants. Most have an "easier" baby, a "harder" baby, and then another in between. I've been insanely lucky and hit the lottery twice with 2 extremely happy, easygoing babies. With my first, I was a wreck. I had a difficult time transitioning into motherhood. I was depressed and stressed out from BF difficulties. I was a totally opposite mom with my 2nd-it was such an easy transition and I knew what to expect (and the baby stuff was all fresh in my head, so I was really confident). They have the exact same temperament even though I was a much more laid back mom the 2nd time around.

    Saying that FF babies STTN earlier than BF babies is a myth. I've done both and switching the baby over to FF did not make them sleep any better. Of course CIO babies will STTN earlier-their parents are teaching them that when they cry, no one is going to give them what they need (whether it be food or a cuddle).

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  • C is pretty high needs.  Do we "feed into, give into", etc these high needs...YES!  It is important for me as a mother (and a therapist) to always let my child know that I hear his feelings and to do my best to support him through them.  If I ignored C crying at night, fussing to nurse, or his fit to get out of the high chair, he would eventually give up, because I didn't listen to him.  I would much rather my child learn to appropriately express his needs then to learn that there is no reason to try to communicate with me because I won't listen (and yes I know he will much much older before he learns to express himself appropriately). 

    Since we're on the nature vs. nuture debate, I would say that its 50/50.  Children are born with their own quirks, personalities, temperments, etc.  I joked that C was going to be high needs even before he was born.  From about 7 1/2 months pregnant on, I only slept in 45 min increments because he would kick ALL. NIGHT. LONG!  He started crying at around 24 hours old and didn't stop until 6 months.  He is a lot more active than other kids his age.  He attempted to climb out of his crib at 7 months, rolled over at 6 weeks, began wiggling off blankets and moving across the floor at 4 months, and took his first steps at 9 months.  All these physical advancements have made him more "high needs". 

    To OP, I had a REALLY REALLY REALLY hard time learning to leave C.  I had to leave him for work 4 hours a week and it was torture!  It wasn't until the past month that have started to actually enjoy my time away from him.  Before then, I just worried that he was crying and no one was able to comfort him (or that they were ignoring him or not watching him close enough, etc.).  My Dh and mother are AMAZING with him.  Neither one of them would ever ignore him or not call me if he became too upset.  I think you can continue to meet all your LOs needs and still have some time for yourself.  You've said in PP that your Dh is also very AP, so why don't you feel more comfortable leaving LO with him?  Stay close to home and have him call you when LO is ready to nurse, I promise you will be shocked at how long LO goes without asking to nurse when you are not home.

    *On a side note, can i just say how frustrating these "prisoner to your baby" comments are, despite feeling like I couldn't leave C for months to even run to the grocery store, I never once resented him or our situation.  It is all temporary.  I knew that it was a phase that he would out grow.  I made a sacrifice (that I hadn't planned on having to make) because I was a mother...and a nervous 1st time mother at that.  You are not "nuts", "crazy", "a hermit", or any other names that OP has been called because you are nervous about leaving your 1st child with someone other than you. 

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  • Jenny, much of what you described in your follow up post is what life was like with DD. There was no setting her down and letting her play while I went on to do something else; she always needed me right there. Until she was content with eating solids I rarely ate a meal without her nursing at the same time.

     As she's gotten more mobile things have improved vastly. Now she LOVES going to other people and is a very social 15 month old. It almost makes me sad because she gets so excited to take off and visit with others.

    My point is that it gets better. You're doing a great job and it will get easier.

    DD1 4.14.10
    DD2 8.22.13
    MMC 1.4.17 at 16w
    Expecting #3, EDD 1.29.18

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  • Some great answers here! You all should write a book :)  My daughter is definitely NOT "high need", although I feed on demand and am very AP in my approach to parenting.  I don't know if nature or nurture are to blame.  Thinking back a 2 or 3 months though I may have answered differently, Like some PP, there are SO many variables that play into it.  At the time, I think, my physical changes, lack of sleep, anxiety about being a new parent....all played into it.  I think sometimes I look for "definitions" of what my LO is going through for some comfort.  Maybe reassurance or validation that it is not me or my parenting that is causing the issue.  To the original poster:  Hang in there!  These days can be hard, no matter how your cards are dealt. 
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  • imageKC_13:

    imageDreamsicle23:
    I think all babies are born somewhat high needs.  There is a very small percentage that will be "easy" no matter what and a small percentage that will be "difficult" no matter what, but I 100% believe parenting choices make or break the rest.  I don't think it's a coincidence that FF, non-bed sharing, pro CIO parents generally have babies that STTN earlier than more AP parents.  I'm not saying one is better than the other, but I think people who think it's all temperament are mistaken.

    While I dont think it's *all* temperament, it's a huge factor.

    Most of the people I know who have children have more than 1. If it were all parenting style, all their children would behave a specific way as infants. Most have an "easier" baby, a "harder" baby, and then another in between. I've been insanely lucky and hit the lottery twice with 2 extremely happy, easygoing babies. With my first, I was a wreck. I had a difficult time transitioning into motherhood. I was depressed and stressed out from BF difficulties. I was a totally opposite mom with my 2nd-it was such an easy transition and I knew what to expect (and the baby stuff was all fresh in my head, so I was really confident). They have the exact same temperament even though I was a much more laid back mom the 2nd time around.

    Saying that FF babies STTN earlier than BF babies is a myth. I've done both and switching the baby over to FF did not make them sleep any better.  Of course CIO babies will STTN earlier-their parents are teaching them that when they cry, no one is going to give them what they need (whether it be food or a cuddle). .

    That's the point she was making.  

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  • imagecstyles:

    C is pretty high needs.  Do we "feed into, give into", etc these high needs...YES!  It is important for me as a mother (and a therapist) to always let my child know that I hear his feelings and to do my best to support him through them.  If I ignored C crying at night, fussing to nurse, or his fit to get out of the high chair, he would eventually give up, because I didn't listen to him.  I would much rather my child learn to appropriately express his needs then to learn that there is no reason to try to communicate with me because I won't listen (and yes I know he will much much older before he learns to express himself appropriately). This is the AP board.  I t think most people agree with you.

    Since we're on the nature vs. nuture debate, I would say that its 50/50.  There was no debate.  Children are born with their own quirks, personalities, temperments, etc.  I joked that C was going to be high needs even before he was born.  From about 7 1/2 months pregnant on, I only slept in 45 min increments because he would kick ALL. NIGHT. LONG!  He started crying at around 24 hours old and didn't stop until 6 months.  He is a lot more active than other kids his age.  He attempted to climb out of his crib at 7 months, rolled over at 6 weeks, began wiggling off blankets and moving across the floor at 4 months, and took his first steps at 9 months.  All these physical advancements have made him more "high needs". 

    To OP, I had a REALLY REALLY REALLY hard time learning to leave C. She said that she leaves him with her parents, DH and sister often.  I had to leave him for work 4 hours a week and it was torture!  It wasn't until the past month that have started to actually enjoy my time away from him.  Before then, I just worried that he was crying and no one was able to comfort him (or that they were ignoring him or not watching him close enough, etc.).  My Dh and mother are AMAZING with him.  Neither one of them would ever ignore him or not call me if he became too upset.  I think you can continue to meet all your LOs needs and still have some time for yourself.  You've said in PP that your Dh is also very AP, so why don't you feel more comfortable leaving LO with him?  She said that she leaves him with her parents, DH and sister often. Stay close to home and have him call you when LO is ready to nurse, I promise you will be shocked at how long LO goes without asking to nurse when you are not home.

    *On a side note, can i just say how frustrating these "prisoner to your baby" comments are, despite feeling like I couldn't leave C for months to even run to the grocery store, I never once resented him or our situation.  It is all temporary.  I knew that it was a phase that he would out grow.  I made a sacrifice (that I hadn't planned on having to make) because I was a mother...and a nervous 1st time mother at that.  You are not "nuts", "crazy", "a hermit", or any other names that OP has been called because you are nervous about leaving your 1st child with someone other than you. She said that she leaves him with her parents, DH and sister often.

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  • I couldn't read all the posts it was too much I didn't have  time but.....

    I was born last out of 6 children, Simply said I was 'high needs' I changed the way she thought. Not only was I easily overstimulated I was extremely clingy, if I was left to cry I would make myself sick from crying, My mother couldn't leave me EVER for YEARS not just when I was a baby NOPE I was clingy until I was about nine or ten. I recall being babysat by my sibling I was probably about 5 and I cried and panicked the whole time that my sibling finally stuck me in my moms room.... alone!

    As far as attachment goes my mother, although very loving, did not attachment parent me. I was left to cry in my crib, punished, among other 'traditional' parenting. I choose to attachment parent the moment my daughter started showing me that 'traditional' parenting would not work with her.

    My dd is 'high needs'  but because we have attachment parented she has blossomed wonderfully. At 10 months I never would have thought she would be the independent and tenacious girl she is. She is very spirited! Your daughter is lucky she has an attached mom like you!


    image

    Little Rose is 2 1/2.
  • imageC-Charm:
    imagecstyles:

    C is pretty high needs.  Do we "feed into, give into", etc these high needs...YES!  It is important for me as a mother (and a therapist) to always let my child know that I hear his feelings and to do my best to support him through them.  If I ignored C crying at night, fussing to nurse, or his fit to get out of the high chair, he would eventually give up, because I didn't listen to him.  I would much rather my child learn to appropriately express his needs then to learn that there is no reason to try to communicate with me because I won't listen (and yes I know he will much much older before he learns to express himself appropriately). This is the AP board.  I t think most people agree with you.

    Since we're on the nature vs. nuture debate, I would say that its 50/50.  There was no debate.  Children are born with their own quirks, personalities, temperments, etc.  I joked that C was going to be high needs even before he was born.  From about 7 1/2 months pregnant on, I only slept in 45 min increments because he would kick ALL. NIGHT. LONG!  He started crying at around 24 hours old and didn't stop until 6 months.  He is a lot more active than other kids his age.  He attempted to climb out of his crib at 7 months, rolled over at 6 weeks, began wiggling off blankets and moving across the floor at 4 months, and took his first steps at 9 months.  All these physical advancements have made him more "high needs". 

    To OP, I had a REALLY REALLY REALLY hard time learning to leave C. She said that she leaves him with her parents, DH and sister often.  I had to leave him for work 4 hours a week and it was torture!  It wasn't until the past month that have started to actually enjoy my time away from him.  Before then, I just worried that he was crying and no one was able to comfort him (or that they were ignoring him or not watching him close enough, etc.).  My Dh and mother are AMAZING with him.  Neither one of them would ever ignore him or not call me if he became too upset.  I think you can continue to meet all your LOs needs and still have some time for yourself.  You've said in PP that your Dh is also very AP, so why don't you feel more comfortable leaving LO with him?  She said that she leaves him with her parents, DH and sister often. Stay close to home and have him call you when LO is ready to nurse, I promise you will be shocked at how long LO goes without asking to nurse when you are not home.

    *On a side note, can i just say how frustrating these "prisoner to your baby" comments are, despite feeling like I couldn't leave C for months to even run to the grocery store, I never once resented him or our situation.  It is all temporary.  I knew that it was a phase that he would out grow.  I made a sacrifice (that I hadn't planned on having to make) because I was a mother...and a nervous 1st time mother at that.  You are not "nuts", "crazy", "a hermit", or any other names that OP has been called because you are nervous about leaving your 1st child with someone other than you. She said that she leaves him with her parents, DH and sister often.

    I was responding more to those responding to OP.  I don't have time to go through and quote each one, but if you look back through the previous post my response might make more sense.  If my post came off as attacking OP or PP it was not meant to at all.  I was simply saying to argue child temperment vs. parenting style is the same as arguing nature vs. nuture.  Also OP said she leaves LO for about an hour with Dh and 2 hours with her parents (if I recall correctly), that's not really "often".  

    I know this is an AP board and that most would agree with my first paragraph, I was mostly responding to the many non-AP responses that were implying that OP was a bad friend, over attached mother, and (from previous thread) that her child was "special needs". 

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  • imagecstyles:

    I was responding more to those responding to OP.  I don't have time to go through and quote each one, but if you look back through the previous post my response might make more sense.  If my post came off as attacking OP or PP it was not meant to at all.  I was simply saying to argue child temperment vs. parenting style is the same as arguing nature vs. nuture.  Also OP said she leaves LO for about an hour with Dh and 2 hours with her parents (if I recall correctly), that's not really "often".  

    I know this is an AP board and that most would agree with my first paragraph, I was mostly responding to the many non-AP responses that were implying that OP was a bad friend, over attached mother, and (from previous thread) that her child was "special needs". 

    I took often to refer to frequency (number of times) not duration (length of time).  In other words, if she left her child with her mom twice a day every day that would count as often--even if it was for only 20 minutes each time.

    Also, I think people made a good point that being sensitive to loud sounds COULD indicate a sensory perception disorder.

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  • imagecstyles:
     You've said in PP that your Dh is also very AP, so why don't you feel more comfortable leaving LO with him?  Stay close to home and have him call you when LO is ready to nurse, I promise you will be shocked at how long LO goes without asking to nurse when you are not home.

    *On a side note, can i just say how frustrating these "prisoner to your baby" comments are, despite feeling like I couldn't leave C for months to even run to the grocery store, I never once resented him or our situation.  It is all temporary.  I knew that it was a phase that he would out grow.  I made a sacrifice (that I hadn't planned on having to make) because I was a mother...and a nervous 1st time mother at that.  You are not "nuts", "crazy", "a hermit", or any other names that OP has been called because you are nervous about leaving your 1st child with someone other than you. 

    I do actually leave DD with DH at least twice a week during the day; if she wants to nurse, he lets me know, but it's less frequently now all the time; she ate a normal breakfast today instead.  I leave her with my parents at least once a week, too, just not for a really long time.

    And for everyone that was concerned about the loud noises issue, if your concern was genuine, she seems to have grown out of it. We went to a Maker Faire yesterday, and there was a rock concert going on. All she did was try to dance in her mei tai. She still won't nurse unless it's quiet, but I'm assuming that's just curiosity.

  • imagecstyles:
    imageC-Charm:
    imagecstyles:

    C is pretty high needs.  Do we "feed into, give into", etc these high needs...YES!  It is important for me as a mother (and a therapist) to always let my child know that I hear his feelings and to do my best to support him through them.  If I ignored C crying at night, fussing to nurse, or his fit to get out of the high chair, he would eventually give up, because I didn't listen to him.  I would much rather my child learn to appropriately express his needs then to learn that there is no reason to try to communicate with me because I won't listen (and yes I know he will much much older before he learns to express himself appropriately). This is the AP board.  I t think most people agree with you.

    Since we're on the nature vs. nuture debate, I would say that its 50/50.  There was no debate.  Children are born with their own quirks, personalities, temperments, etc.  I joked that C was going to be high needs even before he was born.  From about 7 1/2 months pregnant on, I only slept in 45 min increments because he would kick ALL. NIGHT. LONG!  He started crying at around 24 hours old and didn't stop until 6 months.  He is a lot more active than other kids his age.  He attempted to climb out of his crib at 7 months, rolled over at 6 weeks, began wiggling off blankets and moving across the floor at 4 months, and took his first steps at 9 months.  All these physical advancements have made him more "high needs". 

    To OP, I had a REALLY REALLY REALLY hard time learning to leave C. She said that she leaves him with her parents, DH and sister often.  I had to leave him for work 4 hours a week and it was torture!  It wasn't until the past month that have started to actually enjoy my time away from him.  Before then, I just worried that he was crying and no one was able to comfort him (or that they were ignoring him or not watching him close enough, etc.).  My Dh and mother are AMAZING with him.  Neither one of them would ever ignore him or not call me if he became too upset.  I think you can continue to meet all your LOs needs and still have some time for yourself.  You've said in PP that your Dh is also very AP, so why don't you feel more comfortable leaving LO with him?  She said that she leaves him with her parents, DH and sister often. Stay close to home and have him call you when LO is ready to nurse, I promise you will be shocked at how long LO goes without asking to nurse when you are not home.

    *On a side note, can i just say how frustrating these "prisoner to your baby" comments are, despite feeling like I couldn't leave C for months to even run to the grocery store, I never once resented him or our situation.  It is all temporary.  I knew that it was a phase that he would out grow.  I made a sacrifice (that I hadn't planned on having to make) because I was a mother...and a nervous 1st time mother at that.  You are not "nuts", "crazy", "a hermit", or any other names that OP has been called because you are nervous about leaving your 1st child with someone other than you. She said that she leaves him with her parents, DH and sister often.

    I was responding more to those responding to OP.  I don't have time to go through and quote each one, but if you look back through the previous post my response might make more sense.  If my post came off as attacking OP or PP it was not meant to at all.  I was simply saying to argue child temperment vs. parenting style is the same as arguing nature vs. nuture.  Also OP said she leaves LO for about an hour with Dh and 2 hours with her parents (if I recall correctly), that's not really "often".  

    I know this is an AP board and that most would agree with my first paragraph, I was mostly responding to the many non-AP responses that were implying that OP was a bad friend, over attached mother, and (from previous thread) that her child was "special needs". 

    Yeah but you're not really grasping that its in context. She was asking for Ap material to hand out to friends she won't see anymore. People pointed out that she didn't need it. She just needed to either forget the friendships, or find a way to leave her 1 year old to see said friends once in awhile.

    You know, strangely I had a baby that couldn't be put down. She never slept, nursed round the clock and was just a mess of a baby. Then I went back to work. And just like magic, that changed. And I realized I had been part of the problem. 

    image Josephine is 4.
  • imagelanie30:

    You know, strangely I had a baby that couldn't be put down. She never slept, nursed round the clock and was just a mess of a baby. Then I went back to work. And just like magic, that changed. And I realized I had been part of the problem. 

    It was actually the exact opposite for Ari & I. Since I've been SAH, Ari has been waaaaaaay less fussy, sleeps better, less clingy, more willing to play independently, less fearful of strangers & other kids. I had some very, very severe PPD/PPA though, & that improved hugely once I was SAH & I'm almost fully recovered now. Happy mama = happy baby, no matter what path that may be. 

     

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  • imageBride2bMO:
    Yes, our first was/is high needs. And our parenting style hasn't changed, yet our 2nd has a much more mellow personality. So it's not just us. I can put DS2 down while I fix dinner and he may get pissed and let me know, but he can bounce back. DS1 couldn't.

    This exactly.  I see that a lot of the responders have one child and until you have some comparison, it's not quite fair to judge how someone would handle a high needs child.  My first was exactly as the OP described- and at almost 7yrs old  she's STILL my hardest kid- very intense and tenacious no matter what the issue. My second is completely different- mellow, patient, etc. and started off sooo much easier as an infant.  I didn't know just how HARD my first one was until I had my second because I didn't have anything to compare it to (this despite being an auntie 10x over by the time I had kids!).  I don't wish an incredibly high needs baby on anyone- until/unless you have one, there is just no way to understand.

  • imagewebMistress0609:
    imagelanie30:

    You know, strangely I had a baby that couldn't be put down. She never slept, nursed round the clock and was just a mess of a baby. Then I went back to work. And just like magic, that changed. And I realized I had been part of the problem. 

    It was actually the exact opposite for Ari & I. Since I've been SAH, Ari has been waaaaaaay less fussy, sleeps better, less clingy, more willing to play independently, less fearful of strangers & other kids. I had some very, very severe PPD/PPA though, & that improved hugely once I was SAH & I'm almost fully recovered now. Happy mama = happy baby, no matter what path that may be. 

     

    I agree with the happy mom=happy baby sentiment.

    However, I also agree that kids benefit from having other caretakers besides mom. It doesnt necessarily need to be through a full-time working situation-even if it's just for a couple's night twice a month for 3-4 hours it helps.

    I started my oldest in daycare 8 hours a week at the beginning of the summer, and it has done wonders and improved him positively in so many ways.

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  • imagecstyles:
    imageC-Charm:
    imagecstyles:

    C is pretty high needs.  Do we "feed into, give into", etc these high needs...YES!  It is important for me as a mother (and a therapist) to always let my child know that I hear his feelings and to do my best to support him through them.  If I ignored C crying at night, fussing to nurse, or his fit to get out of the high chair, he would eventually give up, because I didn't listen to him.  I would much rather my child learn to appropriately express his needs then to learn that there is no reason to try to communicate with me because I won't listen (and yes I know he will much much older before he learns to express himself appropriately). This is the AP board.  I t think most people agree with you.

    Since we're on the nature vs. nuture debate, I would say that its 50/50.  There was no debate.  Children are born with their own quirks, personalities, temperments, etc.  I joked that C was going to be high needs even before he was born.  From about 7 1/2 months pregnant on, I only slept in 45 min increments because he would kick ALL. NIGHT. LONG!  He started crying at around 24 hours old and didn't stop until 6 months.  He is a lot more active than other kids his age.  He attempted to climb out of his crib at 7 months, rolled over at 6 weeks, began wiggling off blankets and moving across the floor at 4 months, and took his first steps at 9 months.  All these physical advancements have made him more "high needs". 

    To OP, I had a REALLY REALLY REALLY hard time learning to leave C. She said that she leaves him with her parents, DH and sister often.  I had to leave him for work 4 hours a week and it was torture!  It wasn't until the past month that have started to actually enjoy my time away from him.  Before then, I just worried that he was crying and no one was able to comfort him (or that they were ignoring him or not watching him close enough, etc.).  My Dh and mother are AMAZING with him.  Neither one of them would ever ignore him or not call me if he became too upset.  I think you can continue to meet all your LOs needs and still have some time for yourself.  You've said in PP that your Dh is also very AP, so why don't you feel more comfortable leaving LO with him?  She said that she leaves him with her parents, DH and sister often. Stay close to home and have him call you when LO is ready to nurse, I promise you will be shocked at how long LO goes without asking to nurse when you are not home.

    *On a side note, can i just say how frustrating these "prisoner to your baby" comments are, despite feeling like I couldn't leave C for months to even run to the grocery store, I never once resented him or our situation.  It is all temporary.  I knew that it was a phase that he would out grow.  I made a sacrifice (that I hadn't planned on having to make) because I was a mother...and a nervous 1st time mother at that.  You are not "nuts", "crazy", "a hermit", or any other names that OP has been called because you are nervous about leaving your 1st child with someone other than you. She said that she leaves him with her parents, DH and sister often.

    I was responding more to those responding to OP.  I don't have time to go through and quote each one, but if you look back through the previous post my response might make more sense.  If my post came off as attacking OP or PP it was not meant to at all.  I was simply saying to argue child temperment vs. parenting style is the same as arguing nature vs. nuture.  Also OP said she leaves LO for about an hour with Dh and 2 hours with her parents (if I recall correctly), that's not really "often".  

    I know this is an AP board and that most would agree with my first paragraph, I was mostly responding to the many non-AP responses that were implying that OP was a bad friend, over attached mother, and (from previous thread) that her child was "special needs". 

    I consider myself to be AP, and I was one of those people you were referring to that responded to that previous post. I don't think you have to need to be with your child every moment of your life to be an AP. I do think that not being able to leave your child for 2 hours to go spend some time with friends is unhealthy for mom and baby. Doesnt mean I'm not an AP.

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