Wednesday, August 26, 2015

“High Needs” Baby

(Note: I wrote this about a year ago, but never posted it. Reading it now, I think it might be helpful for some people. Moonpie is now 2 (!) and has turned into quite the sweet, smart, independent, sleeping-through-the-night, non-picky eating toddler. There is hope! Let’s see about baby #2...)

I thought this was so funny when I first read it on Dr. Sears. It sounded like a nice way to say “fussy and crying all the time.” Then, Moonpie turned out to have some pretty high needs, and I returned to Dr. Sears and read everything on hiswebsite about high needs babies. Being first time parents with a high needs baby is hard because I keep asking myself and my husband, “What am I doing wrong?” The bedtime routine we did last week doesn’t work anymore. She liked her bath yesterday but is screaming today. I’m doing everything “the books” suggest, but she’s still clinging to my leg and screaming bloody murder for much of the day. I’ve tried every combination of sleeping, feeding, nursing that I can, and she still wakes up every 2 hours at her first birthday, even after night weaning. She used to enjoy riding in her stroller, but today she’s screaming as I’m trying to walk through the mall.

I’m not writing this to get some advice. I think we’ve received every piece of advice that exists. I decided I’m going to start a list called “Things Marie is doing wrong with Moonpie”, and then I can just tell people “Add it to the list” instead of trying to defend myself:

When and how I nurse
When, where, what and how I feed solids
When and how I’m weaning
When, where and how I change diapers
What she wears
Where, when and how she sleeps
When she bathes
How I deal with night wakings

I’m writing this for other parents of high needs babies. I don’t know if it will get better, or when. I don’t know if you should nurse or formula or cry-it-out or co-sleep. I just really don’t know. That’s the point, no one but you knows, even if you think you don’t know. Whatever works for you is what you should do. I’m pretty sure none of these decisions will affect our baby’s chances of getting into MIT, although you’ll need to give me some time to get back to you on that one. And don’t worry if your high-needs baby is screaming at you and looking at you as if you have betrayed her in the worst way and emotionally abandoned her for all time when you dare to turn your attention from her to the tomato you are trying to chop. You are a great parent, and she will get over it. Now I need to print this out and post it on my kitchen cabinet.

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